You're not likely to find workouts with a vibration plate in a calories-burned calculator, so you might wonder if a whole-body vibration workout does much for torching those calories and burning off fat. While whole-body vibration does burn calories, research on exactly how many is scant.
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Calories Burned During Vibration Workout
Whole-body vibration workouts entail lying, sitting or standing on a vibrating platform, which transmits energy into your body and causes your muscles to contract and relax dozens of times per second, according to the Mayo Clinic. These workouts aren't as popular as more traditional types of fitness, so there's not as much data available to determine how many calories you burn during this type of sweat session.
However, whole-body vibration workouts may burn slightly more calories compared to workouts without vibration. A small study published in January 2018 in PLOS One found that whole-body vibration increased a participant's energy expenditure — that is, the number of calories burned — by around 20 percent. This equated to approximately 174 calories burned during a vibration workout, compared to around 144 calories burned during a nonvibration workout.
Keep in mind, though, that this study was not only small, it was also performed on men only. Not only does gender affect the number of calories burned during a workout, but weight and intensity level does, too. Therefore, you may burn more or fewer calories during a whole-body vibration workout.
Potential Whole-Body Vibration Benefits
Burning calories isn't the only benefit of whole-body vibration workouts, however. In an animal study published in March 2017 in Endocrinology, researchers concluded that whole-body vibration may mimic the effects of daily treadmill exercise and had a positive effect on hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in mice, which is beneficial for those who have type 2 diabetes.
A small study published in February 2014 in PLOS One looked at the effects of whole-body vibration in conjunction with regular exercise on balance, finding that the vibration provided additional benefits. Balance training is important to overall fitness, as it affects everyday activities such as going up and down stairs, according to the American Heart Association. It's especially vital for older adults, who are prone to dangerous falls.
Limitations of Whole-Body Vibration
Whole-body vibration workouts have limitations. The study published in Endocrinology noted that whole-body vibration did not have an effect on skeletal health, meaning it didn't strengthen bones or increase bone density.
Engaging in bone-strengthening activities, such as resistance training and weight-bearing exercises like walking or running, is important for people of all ages to stave off osteoporosis, notes the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Additionally, in an article from Science, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, exercise physiologist Lee Brown of the California State University in Fullerton says that vibration workouts can't provide the cardiovascular and respiratory benefits of regular exercise. Therefore, you should incorporate traditional aerobic exercise in addition to any whole-body vibration workouts you might do.
- Mayo Clinic: "Is Whole-Body Vibration a Good Way to Lose Weight and Improve Fitness?"
- Endocrinology: "Whole-Body Vibration Mimics the Metabolic Effects of Exercise in Male Leptin Receptor–Deficient Mice"
- Science: "Good Vibrations: A Bit of Shaking Can Burn Fat, Combat Diabetes"
- American Heart Association: "Balance Exercise"
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Exercise for Your Bone Health"
- PLOS One: "Metabolic Effect of Bodyweight Whole-Body Vibration in a 20-Min Exercise Session: A Crossover Study Using Verified Vibration Stimulus"
- PLOS One: "Whole Body Vibration Training - Improving Balance Control and Muscle Endurance"