If your arms are feeling a little flabby, a machine that makes them jiggle even more may not be your first choice. But people looking for a new way to train their muscles are turning to vibration exercise machines. The machines, which send vibrations throughout your body, may seem like something out of a science fiction movie. But the makers of these machines claim the vibrations will help you tone up by making your muscles work harder.
How it Works
Vibration exercise machines feature a small platform for you to stand on and a series of controls that allow you to adjust the frequency and amplitude of the vibrations. They also often include a set of handles to help with arm workouts specifically. The vibrations cause your muscles to quickly flex and release, but all you have to do is stand in place or hold a certain position. The faster or more intense the vibrations are, the more you will feel your muscles working.
Arm Workout Options
There are several ways of incorporating vibration machines into your arm workouts. Spending time on a vibration machine before you lift weights could help warm up your muscles, according to William J. Kraemer, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut.
You can also stand on it between each set. A study in the January 2010 issue of the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that 30-second vibration sessions between weight lifting sets could give you more power.
Finally, you can do traditional arm exercises with the machine while it is running. Kneel on the floor and place your hands on the machine as if you were doing a pushup. Bend at the elbows and hold this position for 30 seconds while the machine vibrates. If your machine has hand straps, you can do a row move. Stand next to the machine, and pull on the hand straps as if you were pulling the machine toward your body. Bend your knees so you are in a slight squat position. Your elbows should be bent and remain tight at your sides. Hold this position for 30 seconds and let the vibrations work through your upper body.
Other Potential Benefits
Vibration machines could do more than tone your arms; they could also increase your flexibility and help reduce bone loss, according to the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Edward R. Laskowski. They may even help you lose weight, he says, as long as you are also cutting back on calories. The machines can also help with balance issues in older adults, as well as back pain.
According to Laskowski, it's still unclear if workouts that incorporate vibration machines are better than traditional exercising, so it's important to continue with your regular activities as well. Lakowski says using the machines could even be dangerous if you are pregnant or have certain pre-existing conditions such as seizures. So talk to your doctor before giving the machines a try. Also, if you are considering buying your own vibration machine, keep in mind that some can be noisy, and they are not cheap. The cost of a vibration machine averages $2,500 to $10,500.
- Fitness: FitFlops and The Power Plate: Do They Really Work?
- The New York Times: Would You Like a Shake With That Workout?
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effects of Adding Whole Body Vibration to Squat Training on Isometric Force/Time Characteristics
- MayoClinic.com: Fitness: Is Whole Body Vibration a Good Way To Lose Weight and Improve Fitness?
- ACE: Certified News: Whole Body Vibration Training: Can You Really Shake Yourself Fit?
Elizabeth Peterson has been a reporter since 2005, working in television, radio and online. Specializing in health and environmental coverage, she has contributed to MSNBC and several local affiliates. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.