Vibration exercise machines, inspired by Russian astronauts in the 1960's and researched by NASA-funded scientists in the new millennium, can speed and strengthen your workouts. Vibration machines helped Russian astronauts combat muscle deterioration in zero-gravity atmosphere and helped them set the world record for longest stay in space -- 432 days. During a workout on a vibration machine, your muscle movement may increase by up to 70 percent.
Vibration machines mechanically increase the number of repetitions you perform. In the gym, you might do one bicep curl or squat per second. With a vibration machine, you might execute 30 to 50 a second. While a few studies also claim that vibration machines can lower cellulite, reduce cortisol production and increase bone density and human growth hormone production, more research is needed to support such findings.
How it Works
A full body vibration machine includes a simple platform with handles to help stabilize you. You can stand or sit on the platform or place a single body part -- an arm or leg -- on it. The machine produces a vibration that moves throughout your whole body. Here your body constantly shifts its weight around like on a subway or exercise ball to maintain balance. In order to stay upright your muscles move and contract automatically. During traditional strength training, about 45 percent of your muscle fibers are activated. Vibration machines activate nearly all muscle fibers of a targeted muscle group.
The disc, or plate, model of vibration machines includes a rubber pad on the platform that resembles a footstool. Machines are designed to let you work specific muscle groups. You can also use the machine to perform basic exercises such as crunches and stretches. Companies that produce vibration machines include Sunny Crazy, Fitstar, Vibratone, and Health Mark. High-end United States brands include Firm Body Evolution and Vibraslim Power Plate. These machines cost $2,500 or more.
Price and Quality
You can buy a vibration machine for as little as $200 or as much as $10,000. A Rite Life Fitness vibration machine will cost between $200 and $350. This is the lowest end product available and has very limited features. You could choose to purchase a top-rated Power Plate Vibration, which will give you all the bell and whistles, while setting you back about $10,000 or more. The Power Plate Vibration obviously offers better design, features, functions, vibration settings, power, and weight limits. A VibraSlim Europlate offers many benefits of the higher-end models for about $1,600. However, the best values seems to be The LifeSpan Fitness VP-1000. It costs about $900 and features 20 different vibration levels, five preset workouts, and a 300 pound weight limit.