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The effects of whole body vibration on humans: dangerous or advantageous?

Cardinale M, Pope MH.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. m.cardinale@abdn.ac.uk

The effects of whole body vibration (WBV) have been studied extensively in occupational medicine. In particular, it has been shown that when the body undergoes chronically to whole body vibrations spinal degeneration is likely to be one of the deleterious outcomes. Low back pain has been shown to be the leading major cause of industrial disability in the population under the age of 45 years and has been linked to whole body vibration exposure encountered in some industrial settings. Whole body vibration has been recently purposed as an exercise intervention suggesting its effectiveness in increasing force-generating capacity in lower limbs and low back. It has also been reported to be an effective non-pharmacological intervention for patients with low back pain. Relatively short exposure to whole body vibration has been also shown to increase the serum levels of testosterone and growth hormone. The combined effects on the neuromuscular system and endocrine system seem to suggest its effectiveness as a therapeutic approach for sarcopenia and possibly osteoporosis. Due to the danger of long-term exposure to whole body vibration, it is important to develop safe exercise protocols in order to determine exercise programs for different populations.

Cardinale M. & Pope M.H. (2003). The effects of whole body vibration on humans: dangerous or advantageous? Acta Physiologica Hungarica. 90(3). 195-206.

Hormonal responses to a single session of whole body vibration exercise in elderly individuals.

Cardinale M, Soiza RL, Leiper JB, Gibson A, Primrose WR.

Olympic Medical Institute, United Kingdom.

OBJECTIVE: Whole body vibration has been recently suggested as an alternative form of exercise. The aim of the study was to analyse the acute effects of a single session of whole body vibration exercise on anabolic hormones in aged individuals. DESIGN: A Randomised cross-over trial design was used. SETTINGS: Geriatrics department, Hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty subjects (9 males and 11 females; median age 70 years (range 66 to 85 years) volunteered in the experiment. INTERVENTIONS: isometric squat on a platform with vibration (V) or no vibration (C) conditions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Plasma Cortisol, Testosterone, Growth Hormone, and IGF-1 were measured before, after, 1h and 2h after the interventions. REPORTS: A significant difference between treatments (P<.001) and a time by treatment interaction (P<.05) was found in IGF-1 levels. Cortisol levels were shown not to be significantly different between treatments (P=0.43) but a difference over time (P<.001) and a time x treatment interaction (P<.05) were identified. No significant differences were identified in GH and Testosterone levels. CONCLUSIONS: the results of our study suggest that 5 minutes of WBV exercise characterised by static squat with a frequency of 30Hz can be performed by elderly individuals without apparent signs of stress and/or fatigue. Furthermore, the results of the study showed that WBV produced an acute increase in the circulating levels IGF-1 and cortisol greater than that observed following the same exercise protocol conducted without vibration.

Cardinale M., Soiza R.L., leiper J.B., Gibson A. & Primrose W.R. (2008). Hormonal responses to a single session of whole body vibration exercise in elderly individuals. British Journal of Sports Medicine. [Epub ahead of print].

Balance training and exercise in geriatric patients.

Runge M, Rehfeld G, Resnicek E.

Aerpah-Klinik Esslingen, Germany. RungeEsslingen@t-online.de

Objective measures of gait and balance which meet the criteria of reliability and validity are required as a basis for exercise regimens. We established reference values of clinically relevant locomotor and balance performances for geriatric patients. We are using these data for evaluating the effects of different therapeutic approaches to locomotor and balance disorders. Reference values for chair rising. We administered a battery of five tests concerning neuromuscular function, locomotion and balance to a sample of 212 participants without apparent locomotor deficits (139 women, 73 men, mean age 70,5 years, SD 6,78 , median 70 years, range 60 to 90 years, recruited by public announcements). The test battery comprised the 'chair rising test' for measuring lower extremity neuromuscular function (five repetitions of rising from a chair as quickly as possible with arms crossed over the chest). The test has been proven reliable, valid, sensible and predictive for falls and future locomotor status and ADL-status. Chair rising [sec/5x], Range: 5.4-19.4, Mean: 9.1 (women:9.2, men:9.0), SD: 1.97, Median: 8.9. Training of balance and muscle power with Galileo 2000 - preliminary results. Galileo is a device for whole body vibration/oscillatory muscle stimulation. The subject stands with bended knees and hips on a rocking platform with a sagittal axle, which thrusts alternatively the right and left leg 7-14 mm upwards with a frequency of 27 Hz, thereby lengthening the extensor muscles of the lower extremities. The reflexive reaction of the neuromuscular system is a chain of rapid muscle contractions. We conducted a randomized controlled trial, n=34 (age: mean 67y, range 61-85, 11 female), cross-over design, intervention group 2 months training program three times a week (each session 3x2 minutes), performance tests of all participants every two weeks). The first 19 subjects have finished the intervention period. They reached mean performance gains in chair rising of 18%, strikingly different to the constant values of the controls. We interpret the findings as improvements in muscle power by the oscillative muscle stimulation.

Runge M., Rehfeld G. & Resnicek E. (2000). Balannce training and exercise in geriatric patients. Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions. 1(1). 61-65.

The acute effects of different whole body vibration amplitudes on the endocrine system of young healthy men: a preliminary study.

Cardinale M, Leiper J, Erskine J, Milroy M, Bell S.

Olympic Medical Institute, Northwick Park Hospital, London, UK. marco.cardinale@boa.org.uk

Whole body vibration (WBV) has been suggested as an alternative form of exercise producing adaptive responses similar to that of resistance training. Very limited information is available on the effects of different vibration parameters on anabolic hormones. In this study, we compared the acute effects of different WBV amplitudes on serum testosterone (T) and insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Nine healthy young recreationally active adult males (age 22 +/- 2 years, height 181 +/- 6.3 cm, weight 77.4 +/- 9.5 kg) voluntarily participated in this randomized controlled (cross-over design) study. The subjects performed 20 sets of 1 min each of WBV exercise in the following conditions: Non-vibration condition (control), low amplitude vibration [low (30 Hz, 1.5 mm peak-to-peak amplitude)] and high amplitude vibration [high (30 Hz, 3 mm peak-to-peak amplitude)]. Blood samples were collected before, after 10 sets, at the end (20th set) and after 24 h of the exercise bout. WBV exercise did not produce significant changes in serum T and IGF-1 either with low or high amplitude when compared with the control condition. The results of this study demonstrate that a single session of WBV exposure with a frequency of 30 Hz and amplitudes of 1.5 and 3 mm does not noticeably alter serum T and IGF-1 levels.

Cardinale M., Leiper J., Erskine J., Milroy M. & Bell S. (2006). The acute effects of different whole body vibration amplitudes on the endocrine system of young healthy men: a preliminary study. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging. 26(6). 380-384.

Neuromuscular and hormonal responses to a single session of whole body vibration exercise in healthy young men.

Erskine J, Smillie I, Leiper J, Ball D, Cardinale M.

College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, and Olympic Medical Institute, Northwick Park Hospital, Middlesex, UK. j.a.erskine@abdn.ac.uk

Whole body vibration (WBV) has been proposed as an alternative exercise stimulus to produce adaptive responses similar to resistance exercise. Few studies have analysed acute hormonal responses to WBV. Purpose To evaluate neuromuscular and hormonal responses to an acute bout of isometric half-squat exercise with and without superimposition of WBV. Methods Seven healthy males (22.3+/-2.7 years) performed 10 sets of half squat isometric exercise for 1 min with 1-min rest between sets. Two separate trials were conducted either with WBV [30 Hz; 3.5 g (1 g=9.81 m.s2)] or without vibration (Control). Salivary concentration of testosterone and cortisol was collected and maximal isometric unilateral knee extensions (MVC) were completed before, immediately after, 1, 2 and 24 h after treatment. Results Significant decreases in MVC were observed immediately after (229.4+/-53.2 Nm), 1 h (231.6+/-59.9 Nm), and 2 h (233.0+/-59.1 Nm) after WBV compared with baseline (252.7+/-56.4 Nm; P<0.05). No significant change in MVC was recorded in Control. Rate of torque development in the first 200 ms (RTD200 ms), and salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations were unaffected in both conditions. However, there was a trend for change over time in cortisol (P=0.052), with an increase after WBV and decrease after Control. Conclusion A 10 min session of intermittent WBV was shown to produce an acute reduction in MVC in healthy individuals, which recovered after 24 h. No significant changes were identified in salivary concentration of testosterone and cortisol suggesting that WBV with low acceleration does not represent a stressful stimulus for the neuroendocrine system.

Erskine J., Smillie I., Leiper J., Ball D. & Cardinale M. (2007). Neuromuscular and hormonal responses to a single session of whole body vibration exercise in healthy young men. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging. 27(4). 242-248.

Effects of vibration and resistance training on neuromuscular and hormonal measures.

Kvorning T, Bagger M, Caserotti P, Madsen K.

Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230, Odense M, Denmark. tkvorning@health.sdu.dk

The aim was to study whether whole body vibration (WBV) combined with conventional resistance training (CRT) induces a higher increase in neuromuscular and hormonal measures compared with CRT or WBV, respectively. Twenty-eight young men were randomized in three groups; squat only (S), combination of WBV and squat (S+V) and WBV only (V). S+V performed six sets with eight repetitions with corresponding eight repetition maximum (RM) loads on the vibrating platform, whereas S and V performed the same protocol without WBV and resistance, respectively. Maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) with electromyography (EMG) measurements during leg press, counter movement jump (CMJ) measures (mechanical performance) including jump height, mean power (Pmean), peak power (Ppeak) and velocity at Ppeak (Vppeak) and acute hormonal responses to training sessions were measured before and after a 9-week training period. ANOVA showed no significant changes between the three groups after training in any neuromuscular variable measured [except Pmean, S higher than V (P<0.05)]. However, applying t tests within each group revealed that MVC increased in S and S+V after training (P<0.05). Jump height, Pmean and Ppeak increased only in S, concomitantly with increased Vppeak in all groups (P<0.05). Testosterone increased during training sessions in S and S+V (P<0.05). Growth hormone (GH) increased in all groups but S+V showed higher responses than S and V (P<0.05). Cortisol increased only in S+V (P<0.05). We conclude that combined WBV and CRT did not additionally increase MVC and mechanical performance compared with CRT alone. Furthermore, WBV alone did not increase MVC and mechanical performance in spite of increased GH.

Kvorning T., Bagger M., Caserotti P. & Madsen K. (2006). Effects of vibration and resistance training on neuromuscular and hormonal measures. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 96(5). 615-625.

Hormonal responses to whole-body vibration in men.

Bosco C, Iacovelli M, Tsarpela O, Cardinale M, Bonifazi M, Tihanyi J, Viru M, De Lorenzo A, Viru A.

Societa Stampa Sportiva, Rome, Italy. c.bosco@quipo.it

The aim of this study was to evaluate the acute responses of blood hormone concentrations and neuromuscular performance following whole-body vibration (WBV) treatment. Fourteen male subjects [mean (SD) age 25 (4.6) years] were exposed to vertical sinusoidal WBV, 10 times for 60 s, with 60 s rest between the vibration sets (a rest period lasting 6 min was allowed after 5 vibration sets). Neuromuscular performance tests consisting of counter-movement jumps and maximal dynamic leg presses on a slide machine, performed with an extra load of 160% of the subjects body mass, and with both legs were administered before and immediately after the WBV treatment. The average velocity, acceleration, average force, and power were calculated and the root mean square electromyogram (EMGrms) were recorded from the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris muscles simultaneously during the leg-press measurement. Blood samples were also collected, and plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), growth hormone (GH) and cortisol (C) were measured. The results showed a significant increase in the plasma concentration of T and GH, whereas C levels decreased. An increase in the mechanical power output of the leg extensor muscles was observed together with a reduction in EMGrms activity. Neuromuscular efficiency improved, as indicated by the decrease in the ratio between EMGrms and power. Jumping performance, which was measured using the counter-movement jump test, was also enhanced. Thus, it can be argued that the biological mechanism produced by vibration is similar to the effect produced by explosive power training (jumping and bouncing). The enhancement of explosive power could have been induced by an increase in the synchronisation activity of the motor units, and/or improved co-ordination of the synergistic muscles and increased inhibition of the antagonists. These results suggest that WBV treatment leads to acute responses of hormonal profile and neuromuscular performance. It is therefore likely that the effect of WBV treatment elicited a biological adaptation that is connected to a neural potentiation effect, similar to those reported to occur following resistance and explosive power training. In conclusion, it is suggested that WBV influences proprioceptive feedback mechanisms and specific neural components, leading to an improvement of neuromuscular performance. Moreover, since the hormonal responses, characterised by an increase in T and GH concentration and a decrease in C concentration, and the increase in neuromuscular effectiveness were simultaneous but independent, it is speculated that the two phenomena might have common underlying mechanisms.

Bosco C., Iacovelli M., Tsarpela O., Cardinale M., Bonifazi M., Tihanyi J., Viru M., De Lorenzo A. & Viru A. (2000). Hormonal responses to whole-body vibration in men. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 81(6). 449-454.

Effects of whole-body vibration exercise on the endocrine system of healthy men.

Di Loreto C, Ranchelli A, Lucidi P, Murdolo G, Parlanti N, De Cicco A, Tsarpela O, Annino G, Bosco C, Santeusanio F, Bolli GB, De Feo P.

Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine and Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences (IMISEM), University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Whole-body vibration is reported to increase muscle performance, bone mineral density and stimulate the secretion of lipolytic and protein anabolic hormones, such as GH and testosterone, that might be used for the treatment of obesity. To date, as no controlled trial has examined the effects of vibration exercise on the human endocrine system, we performed a randomized controlled study, to establish whether the circulating concentrations of glucose and hormones (insulin, glucagon, cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, GH, IGF-1, free and total testosterone) are affected by vibration in 10 healthy men [age 39 +/- 3, body mass index (BMI) of 23.5 +/- 0.5 kg/m2, mean +/- SEM]. Volunteers were studied on two occasions before and after standing for 25 min on a ground plate in the absence (control) or in the presence (vibration) of 30 Hz whole body vibration. Vibration slightly reduced plasma glucose (30 min: vibration 4.59 +/- 0.21, control 4.74 +/- 0.22 mM, p=0.049) and increased plasma norepinephrine concentrations (60 min: vibration 1.29 +/- 0.18, control 1.01 +/- 0.07 nM, p=0.038), but did not change the circulating concentrations of other hormones. These results demonstrate that vibration exercise transiently reduces plasma glucose, possibly by increasing glucose utilization by contracting muscles. Since hormonal responses, with the exception of norepinephrine, are not affected by acute vibration exposure, this type of exercise is not expected to reduce fat mass in obese subjects.

Di Loreto C., Ranchelli A., Lucidi P., Murdolo G, Parlanti N., De Cicco A., Tsarpela O., Annino G., Bosco C., Santeusanio F., Bolli G.B. & De Feo P. (2004). Effects of whole-body vibration exercise on the endocrine system of healthy men. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation. 27(4). 323-327.

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