September 26, 2008

Good Vibrations. Part II

Filed under: By Michael Caceci — Administrator @ 3:09 pm

  Michael Caceci

In my previous blog I introduced you to Whole Body Vibration (WBV) training and the neural mechanisms that make it work.  I also promised to introduce new ways for you to incorporate this modality into your routine.  One way WBV training may be able to help liven up your routine deals with flexibility.

According to a study done by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Whole Body Vibration (WBV) training may increase the range of motion (ROM) in the hamstrings, when it is combined with a stretching program. The study was done on a group of 19 undergraduate students consisting of 12 women and 7 men.  Each person’s hamstring ROM was tested prior to beginning training. This was done to ensure that each person had approximately the same ROM in their hamstrings to start. 

Upon completion of the pretest, the participants were separated into a WBV group and a control group. Both groups performed the same warmup and stretching protocol; but prior to stretching, the WBV group stood on a vibration platform for 30 seconds in a squat position with their knees bent to 90 degrees.

The stretching sessions were performed 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Each subject’s hamstring ROM was tested after every training session.  After four weeks of training the results were compared.

Significant increases in ROM were seen in the WBV group after only a week, as compared to the control group which took two weeks to show any significant improvement. The WBV group also showed improvements in ROM in weeks 1-3.  In contrast the control group only showed improvements in week two.

So, if you are looking for a way to optimize the time you spend stretching, or you need to increase your ROM in a short amount of time, WBV training maybe able to help you achieve those goals.

August 5, 2008

Shake Up Your Routine With Whole Body Vibration Training.

Filed under: By Michael Caceci — Administrator @ 3:53 pm

   Michael Caceci

 Part I.

It may not be conclusive yet, but there is growing scientific evidence to support the efficacy of whole body vibration (WBV) training. A study conducted by the Exercise Physiology and Bio mechanics Laboratory of Leuven, Belgium found that WBV training was as effective as standard resistance training in improving strength and speed in older women. These improvements came without concomitant increases in cardiovascular risk factors. So, for people with physical limitations that make standard resistance training impractical, WBV training offers a healthy alternative to prevent the sarcopenia associated with aging. Preventing the age related loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia is important, because the loss of muscle tissue could lead to a loss in the ability to support yourself as well as maintain your stability. This loss in support and stability could predispose people to falls. This loss of muscle tissue is also associated with a decline in metabolism. While WBV training may or may not increase your metabolic rate, it could help you maintain the muscle you have. Maintaining the muscle tissue you have would prevent any decrease in metabolism due to its loss.  But to think that WBV training is useful just for the geriatric population would be a mistake, because just about anybody could benefit by adding this modality to their training. Also, WBV training may be useful in improving flexibility and body composition too, but there will be more on this in subsequent blogs. For now, let me start with an explanation of just how WBV training works.

WBV training stimulates muscle spindles. Muscle spindles are special sensory organs that lie between regular muscle fibers. Muscle spindles consist of approximately 4-20 specialized fibers known as intrafusal fibers. Regular muscle fibers are known as extrafusal fibers. A connective tissue sheath surrounds the muscle spindles and attaches to the endomysium of the muscle fibers. Intrafusal fibers are controlled by gamma motor neurons. In comparison, extrafusal fibers are controlled by alpha motor neurons. The central region of the muscle spindle cannot contract, because it contains little or no actin or myosin. The muscle spindle can only stretch, but since it is attached to the extrafusal fibers anytime they stretch the muscle spindle is stretched too. Special nerve endings in the muscle spindle send information to the spinal cord when they are stretched, which informs the central nervous system (CNS) of the muscle’s length. If the CNS detects that the stretch is too much, it sends an impulse to the muscle to contract.

Anyone who has been to their doctor’s office for a physical has seen muscle spindles in action. It is known as a reflex test. When the doctor taps you on the knee he is stretching your patella tendon. The muscle spindles sense this overstretching and send the information to your CNS. The CNS processes this information and then sends an impulse back to the muscle forcing it to contract. We all know what happens when we are tapped on the knee. The quadriceps muscles contract forcing extension of the distal leg. As you can see, stimulating muscle spindles can cause your muscles to contract. If your muscles are contracting they are working. Now you can understand the reason for optimism in WBV training. As I mentioned earlier WBV training can be useful for more than just strength training, but there will be more on this in ensuing blogs. 


Powered by WordPress