Shaking Weight Away - Can Vibration Exercise Reduce Body Fat?
I have your back. I really do. I sift through all the nonsense out there so you don’t go down the wrong path, waste your valuable time, and/or become injured.
Today is no exception. I will address the issue of vibration exercise as it pertains to body fat reduction. I consider this one of the biggest wastes of time in my relatively long-life, but you need to know the truth so YOU don’t waste your time with this bunk.
It has been proposed that vibration exercise (VbX), which evokes muscular work and elevates metabolic rate, could be a potential method for weight reduction. It has been marketed as an exercise modality that requires little time and physical exertion while providing the benefits of increased force, power, balance, flexibility, and weight loss, thus the appeal to people seeking simple exercise. The popular press has purported that VbX is quick, convenient, and ten minutes of VbX is equivalent to one hour of traditional exercise and a new weight-loss and body toning workout.
Here we go again: another step in the wrong direction in our quick-fix, take-the-path-of-least- resistance, and swallow-a-magic-pill society.
A research study compilation published in the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise revealed the following:
- Studies have shown that muscle activation was elicited but the energy demand in response to VbX was quite low. Exhaustive VbX was reported to produce a metabolic demand of 23 ml/kg/min compared to 44 ml/kg/min from an exhaustive cycle test. Different vibration frequencies were tested with varying amplitudes and loads, but only small increases in metabolic rate were reported.
- Based on their findings, they concluded it was indirectly calculated that a VbX session of 26Hz for 3 continuous minutes would only incur a loss of ~10.7g fat/hr. Following a 24-week program of VbX, no observed differences were found in body composition and following 12 months of VbX the time to reach peak O2 was significantly higher in conventional exercise compared to VbX.
- One study showed the percentage of body fat decreased by 3.2% after eight months after VbX in comparison to resistance and control groups that performed no aerobic conditioning.
- Only one study reported that VbX was able to burn extra calories, but could not reduce overall body fat and another reported vibration was not a suitable option to reduce body weight, as the metabolic cost of a ‘standard’ vibration session is equivalent to burning only 10g/hr.
It is equivocal whether the increase in energy turnover can be accounted for by an increase in muscle activation caused by neural potentiation, which has been based on spinal reflexes. However, to date, no direct measures of muscle have been made to verify that VbX acts solely through a reflex potentiation causing a change in muscle length that increases oxygen uptake.
Cardinale and Bosco suggested that vibration causes small and rapid changes in muscle length by eliciting reflex muscle activity in an attempt to damp the mechanical vibration, where various researchers have speculated the muscle activation is similar to that of the tonic vibration reflex.
The research study compilation concluded the evidence clearly suggests that VbX can increase whole and local oxygen uptake; however, with additional load, high vibration frequency and/or amplitude it cannot match the demands of conventional aerobic exercise. Therefore, it is questionable when a VbX program is solely used for the purpose of reducing body fat without considering dietary and aerobic conditioning guidelines.
Enough already. Let’s cut to the bottom line.
Attempting to shed body fat by relying solely on a device that vibrates and shakes your arms, torso, tush and wheels is beyond lame. It has been know for the longest time that to reduce body fat stores - particularly the hard-to-get-at adipose storage sites - a negative calorie balance (fewer calories going in/greater energy expenditure going out) must occur. The only practical way to do this is by monitoring your food consumption and performing high energy-demand exercise, which vibration exercise is not.
Shake fat away? How about this better advice:
- Determine your daily calorie needs based on your activity level. Here is a fairly accurate daily calorie calculator.
- Make sure your total daily calorie intake does not surpass your needs. Create a calorie deficit!
- Take the time-proven approach of five to six feedings/day, fresh vegetables & fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, protein at each feeding, and plenty of water.
- Exercise sensibly. Include a strength training routine (you need muscle - it is metabolically active!), high-intensity intervals, circuits, 15 minutes all-out on the Versa-Climber, or anything that is demanding (walking at 3.5 miles/hour for 45 minutes on a treadmill does not count).
Shake this: it takes disciplined eating and sensible exercise to tap into adipose fat stores, not an expensive vibrating device.