Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Whole Body Vibration

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a workaholic.  Truth be known, though, I love what I do -- researching and writing, researching and creating new hockey training methods.  Still, I firmly believe that it's possible to get tons of work done, while also enjoying life.  And, while that might be a whole 'nother subject for another day, let me just say that Brenda and I try to fit at least a few minutes of active relaxation into each day -- a couple of times per day.

With that, we decided to take a few minutes today to sit at poolside.  On the way, I happened to grab a free newspaper-like publication at the clubhouse for something to browse while catching some sun.  That publication, called "Lifestyles", is aimed at keeping the local senior set up on activities, but it also carries a number of articles on health issues.  And, while thumbing through, something jumped off one page and caused me to start reading aloud to Brenda, opening with, "Get a load of this..."

Within a few sentences, we both recognized the article's description of a gadget called the "LivMD" as something we've used quite a bit.  "The application of LivMD is known to aid microcirculation in muscles, to stimulate stem cell activity, to facilitate healthy muscles and bones, and to encourage lean body mass over adipose tissue."  Yup, what it was describing was something I've owned for a number years, that being a (Soloflex) "whole body vibration" machine.

Now, it's probably been about a dozen years since I first learned about something also referred to as "WBV".  Actually, I can't even remember how I happened upon such a process, or such a device.  A lot of research did bring me to some pretty interesting background information, though...

One website traces WBV to the old Soviets... "The world first caught a glimpse of the results of Whole Body Vibrational-training when the Russians began to win most of the Gold Medals at the 1960 Olympic Games. Next, they found they could keep their cosmonauts in space for an extended period. Soon it was over a year longer than the United States could. The Soviets kept the technology of whole body vibration a secret until after the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989.  In fact, it took over 30 years for the rest of the world to discover the secret to Russia's Olympic and outer-space achievements."   

Yet another website states that "A new treatment under study by NASA-funded doctors could reverse bone loss experienced by astronauts in space."  And, of course, they're talking about Whole Body Vibration.  (I just completed a podcast that will include an audio presentation from Science at NASA, and you can hear that as "Episode 23 - Whole Body Vibration for Strength Gains" on my podcast sit.)

I could go on about the scientific literature here.  However, here's the Conclusion from one scientific study...
"The use of vibrations in an athletic setting offers new possibilities to coaching science. Resistance training effectiveness has been demonstrated due to the possibility of enhancing neuromuscular performance, power output. strength and hormonal profile. However. the time needed for these adaptations to occur is relatively long as compared to the possibilities offered by vibration treatments. It should be recognised however, that vibrations need to be viewed not as a substitute tool of resistance exercise but as a valid additional means to be implemented in a training routine in association with all the other traditional methodologies nowadays utilised. New studies need to be conducted to analyse chronic responses. different treatment protocols and the effects of the association of vibrations with conventional training means for improving the knowledge in this interesting and exciting tool of sports science."
Now, here's my unscientific impression, based on a ton of reading over the years, and the main reason I purchased my own WBV machine...  It's my understanding that whole body vibration recruits far more cells than a traditional exercise, and that those cells go through far more actions because of the vibrations.  Consequently, I've read that a few minutes of whole body vibration work can produce results that normally would take numerous reps and sets with heavy resistance.

Today, whole body vibration technology is being utilized for health and fitness, recovery and rehab, sports performance and anti-aging puproses, on a Global scale.  Everyone from the elderly, the person with physical disabilities, to the general person looking to get toned and healthy is using this form of exercise.

Lastly, I've brought this interesting method of training to light mostly as an FYI.  As you might know by now, I tend to drift into areas of science that few other hockey coaches would even know about.  As a matter of fact, I wrote the following article (to include three unbelievable videos) for ages ago:  "Whole Body Vibration Strength Training".