The thought of exercising on a vibrating platform may have you imagining the black and white films of jiggling mid-sections of stationary participants. Although true in years past, the new whole-body vibration machines offer a different type of exercise. Yes, you can stand still and receive some benefits, but when you perform your calisthenic exercises on the platform, you increase your workout challenge.
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The vibration machine is approximately the size of a stair climber. It has a large platform to stand, sit or lie on and has handles at waist height. The handles are attached to a console that allows you to change the rate and intensity of the vibrations. The premise behind the vibration technique is that the vibrations are sent from the machine to your body. Your muscles contract and relax in response to the vibrations, which strengthen the muscle fibers.
A vibration machine is used to strengthen your upper-body. Exercises such as pushups, planks, dips and isometric arm curls can be performed on the platform. For example, place your hands on the platform and your feet on the floor to perform pushups. Position your hands underneath your shoulders and straighten your legs. Inhale, bend your elbows and lower your torso until it almost touches the platform. Exhale, straighten your elbows and return to the starting position. For an arm curl, stand on the platform with your feet spaced hips-distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Face the handles and grasp them with your palms up using a relaxed grip; one that doesn't turn your knuckles white. Tighten your stomach to support your posture. Slightly bend your elbows and contract your biceps as you maintain an isometric, also known as a static, contraction. Breathe normally as you perform each exercise for one minute.
You may feel like you're dancing the Hokey-Pokey when you put your left foot in and shake it all about. This is a good lower-body strengthening exercise, though. Place your left foot on the platform and bend your left knee. Your right foot is positioned on the floor approximately 2 feet behind your left foot. Maintain the lunge position for one minute as the machine vibrates, then switch feet positions. Other lower-body exercises you can do are squats, one-legged squats, heel raises and toe raises.
A vibration machine is useful when strengthening your core. Increase the challenge of your crunches by lying on the platform and performing them. Or, lie face up on the floor with your feet on the platform and perform a bridge by raising your hips to strengthen your lower back. You can perform a plank by placing either your hands or your feet on the platform and maintaining an upper-pushup position. Simply sitting cross-legged on the platform with your back straight challenges your core muscles.