5 things You Need to Know about Standing on a Whole Body Vibration Machine
1) Know First What you are Standing on! There are a variety of vibration styles available in the market today. The three main styles on the market are Vertical(Linear), Pivotal(oscillating) and Tri-Planar. There are dual mode machines that offer multiple vibration styles as well. The main rule of standing on a vibration machine is to do so with knees at least slightly bent. This allows the muscles to absorb the motion and minimizes impact to the joints.
a) For Vertical & Triplanar machines, stand in a light to moderate squat so that the stimulation does travel up past the shoulders into the neck or head. Standing too tall or with locked legs makes the body very rigid and can contribute to joint pain, seasickness or headaches.
b) On Pivotal machines, still keep knees slightly bent but the nature of this style doesn’t travel up the body in the same manner and is more tolerable in a higher stance.
The deeper you squat when standing, the more challenging the position is. No different than stand on the floor vs squatting deep. More effort will offer better overall results.
2) Practice Proper Posture. Shoulders back, engage your core, pelvis is in a neutral position and just relax. If squatting deeper, ensure knees don’t go past toes and pelvis naturally tilts backwards as low go lower. Almost like you’re getting ready to sit in a chair.
3) Body Weight is in Balance. Your weight should be distributed evenly between the left and right sides of your body, if you have difficulty with this and favor one side due to an injury etc. strive to gradually progress to this. The majority of your body weight is placed on the heels, about 70% with the balance on the balls and toes of the feet. If the machine has handles, feel free to hang onto them for stability, but not for dear life. If you are, you are out of balance and beyond your natural range of motion. This can irritate joints, makes your body more rigid and frankly it just isn’t terribly effective in the long run.
4) Relax and Just Breath. The goal on a WBV machine is not to tense up and resist the stimulation. Just relax and let your muscles absorb the pulses vs resist them. With any new activity your body kind of guards or protects itself. It doesn’t want to burn one more calorie than it needs to get the job done. After a while when some muscle memory kicks in this becomes natural. As you increase the acceleration on a machine, you may again feel the natural need to resist and fight the increase stimulation due to the increased load on the muscles. Again, just relax, breathe and progress over time to higher speeds in this manner.
5) The MOST important Thing. You can do a lot more than stand on a vibration machine! Think of it not as a machine, but more a different environment that you do every day exercise positions on. From Push-ups & shoulder presses to Planks & crunches, the right WBV machine can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend exercising. It fatigues you faster if you apply some of the basics outlined above. Not everyone engages in regular exercise and many of my customers aren’t used to doing a variety of positions. The same goes for salespeople, most are not personal trainers so from a sales perspective, it’s easier to just have people stand on the machine and benefit from the wellness and feel good benefits these machines provide. Just like going to the gym, I suggest working with a qualified trainer if you’d like to explore more challenging positions or even a training plan.