Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Shaking weight loss away: Can vibration exercise reduce body fat?

Darryl Cochrane



An exercise modality that requires little time and physical exertion whilst providing the benefits of increased force, power, balance, flexibility, and weight loss would appeal to most people that may be at risk from an imbalanced lifestyle. One such exercise modality that has received a lot of attention has been vibration exercise (VbX), which evokes muscular work and elevates metabolic rate could be a potential method for weight reduction. Popular press has purported that VbX is quick, convenient, and 10 minutes of VbX is equivalent to one hour of traditional exercise, where it has been marketed as the new weight-loss and body toning workout. However, research studies have shown that muscle activation is elicited but the energy demand in response to VbX is quite low. Exhaustive VbX has been 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 have been tested with varying amplitudes and loads, but only small increases in metabolic rate have been reported. Based on these findings it has been 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 programme 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. However, one study has reported that percentage body fat decreased by 3.2% after eight months after VbX in comparison to resistance and control groups that performed no aerobic conditioning. The evidence to date, 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, caution is required when VbX programmes are solely used for the purpose of reducing body fat without considering dietary and aerobic conditioning guidelines.


Weight loss; Muscle metabolism; Oxygen consumption; Body composition


Abercromby, A.F.J., Amonette, W.E., Layne, C.S., Mcfarlin, B.K., Hinman, M.R., Paloski, W.H. Variation in neuromuscular responses during acute whole-body vibration exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2007; 39(9):1642-1650.

Bautmans, I., Van Hees, E., Lemper, J.C., Mets, T. The feasibility of whole body vibration in institutionalised elderly persons and its influence on muscle performance, balance, and mobility: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics. 2005; 5(17):1-8.

Bogaerts, A.C., Delecluse, C., Claessens, A.L., Troosters, T., Boonen, S., Verschueren, S.M.P. Effects of whole body vibration training on cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength in older individuals (a 1-year randomised controlled trial). Age Ageing. 2009; 38(4):448-454.

Bosco, C., Cardinale, M., Tsarpela, O. Influence of vibration on mechanical power and electromyogram activity in human arm flexor muscles. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology. 1999; 79(4):306-311.

Bosco, C., Cardinale, M., Tsarpela, O., Colli, R., Tihanyi, J., Duvillard, S.P., Et Al. The influence of whole body vibration on jumping performance. Biology of Sport. 1998; 15(3):157-164.

Bruyere, O., Wuidart, M.A., Di Palma, E., Gourlay, M., Ethgen, O., Richy, F., Et Al. Controlled whole body vibration to decrease fall risk and improve health-related quality of life of nursing home residents. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2005; 86(2):303-307.

Cardinale, M., Bosco, C. The use of vibration as an exercise intervention. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 2003; 31(1):3-7.

Cardinale, M., Ferrari, M., Quaresima, V. Gastrocnemius medialis and vastus lateralis oxygenation during whole-body vibration exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2007; 39(4):694-700.

Cardinale, M., Lim, J. Electromyography activity of vastus lateralis muscle during whole-body vibrations of different frequencies. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2003; 17(3):621-624.

Cardinale, M., Rittweger, J. Vibration exercise makes your muscles and bones stronger: fact or fiction? The Journal of the British Menopause Society. 2006; 12(1):12-18.

Cochrane, D.J., Stannard, S.R. Acute whole body vibration training increases vertical jump and flexibility performance in elite female field hockey players. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2005; 39(11):860-865.

Da Silva, M.E., Fernandez, J.M., Castillo, E., Nunez, V., Vaamonde, D.M., Poblador, M.S., Et Al. Influence of vibration training on energy expenditure in active men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007; 21(2):470-475.

Fjelstad, C., Palmer, I.J., Bemben, M.G., Bemben, D.A. Whole-body vibration augments resistance training effects on body composition in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2009; 63:79-83.

Garatachea, N., Jimenez, A., Bresciani, G., Marino, N.A., Gonzalez-Gallego, J., De Paz, J.A. The effects of movement velocity during squatting on energy expenditure and substrate utilization in whole-body vibration. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007; 21(2):594-598.

Hammer, R.L., Barrier, C.A., Roundy, E.S., Bradford, J.M., Fisher, A.G. Calorie-restricted low-fat diet and exercise in obese women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1989; 49(1):77-85.

Hannan, M.T., Cheng, D.M., Green, E., Swift, C., Rubin, C.T., Kiel, D.P. Establishing the compliance in elderly women for use of a low level mechanical stress device in a clinical osteoporosis study. Osteoporosis International. 2004; 15(11):918-926.

Issurin, V.B., Liebermann, D.G., Tenenbaum, G. Effect of vibratory stimulation training on maximal force and flexibility. Journal of Sports Sciences. 1994; 12(6):561-566.

Issurin, V.B., Tenenbaum, G. Acute and residual effects of vibratory stimulation on explosive strength in elite and amateur athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences. 1999; 17(3):177-182.

Mileva, K.N., Naleem, A.A., Biswas, S.K., Marwood, S., Bowtell, J.L. Acute effects of a vibration-like stimulus during knee extension exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2006; 38(7):1317-1328.

Moezy, A., Olyaei, G., Hadian, M., Razi, M., Faghihzadeh, S. A comparative study of whole body vibration training and conventional training on knee proprioception and postural stability after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2008; 42(5):373-378.

Rittweger, J., Beller, G., Felsenberg, D. Acute physiological effects of exhaustive whole-body vibration exercise in man. Clinical Physiology. 2000; 20(2):134-142.

Rittweger, J., Ehrig, J., Just, K., Mutschelknauss, M., Kirsch, K.A., Felsenberg, D. Oxygen uptake in whole-body vibration exercise: influence of vibration frequency, amplitude, and external load. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2002; 23(6):428-432.

Rittweger, J., Just, K., Kautzsch, K., Reeg, P., Felsenberg, D. Treatment of chronic lower back pain with lumbar extension and whole-body vibration exercise - A randomized controlled trial. Spine. 2002; 27(17):1829-1834.

Rittweger, J., Mutschelknauss, M., Felsenberg, D. Acute changes in neuromuscular excitability after exhaustive whole body vibration exercise as compared to exhaustion by squatting exercise. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging. 2003; 23(2):81-86.

Rittweger, J., Schiessl, H., Felsenberg, D. Oxygen uptake during whole-body vibration exercise: comparison with squatting as a slow voluntary movement. European journal of applied physiology. 2001; 86(2):169-173.

Roelants, M., Delecluse, C., Goris, M., Verschueren, S. Effects of 24 weeks of whole on body composition body vibration training and muscle strength in untrained females. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2004; 25(1):1-5.

Roelants, M., Verschueren, S.M.P., Delecluse, C., Levin, O., Stijnen, V. Whole-body-vibration-induced increase in leg muscle activity during different squat exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2006; 20(1):124-129.

Ronnestad, B.R. Comparing the performance-enhancing effects of squats on a vibration platform with conventional squats in recreationally resistance-trained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2004; 18(4):839-845.

Salvarani, A., Agosti, M., Zanrè, A., Ampollini, A., Montagna, L., Franceschin, I.M. Mechanical vibration in the rehabilitation of patients with reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament. Europa Medicophysica. 2003; 39(1):19-25.

Sands, W.A., Mcneal, J.R., Stone, M.H., Kimmel, W.L., Haff, G.G., Jemni, M. The effect of vibration on active and passive range of motion in elite female synchronized swimmers. European Journal of Sport Science. 2008; 8(4):217-223.

Yamada, E., Kusaka, T., Miyamoto, K., Tanaka, S., Morita, S., Tsuji, S., Et Al. Vastus lateralis oxygenation and blood volume measured by near-infrared spectroscopy during whole body vibration. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging. 2005; 25(4):203-208.

Zange, J., Haller, T., Muller, K., Liphardt, A., Mester, J. Energy metabolism in human calf muscle performing isometric plantar flexion superimposed by 20-Hz vibration. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009; 105:265-270.


Copyright (c) 2011 Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.