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Ha ha, now your going to love this. A huge vibrator designed to excite and stimulate..............your muscles (I know what you where thinking!). Now you may have seen some of these machines popping up in your gym, but they have now been made for home use too.
So what are they?
Ok here's the science behind the machines. The idea for the machines were first developed by Russian scientists, who, during the cold war wanted to find a way that would keep there astronauts in shape while they were in space. The problem in space is you cannot train very easily because of the "Zero gravity". Now the idea was that by standing on the vibrating plates, your muscles would automatically be stimulated (the natural response to the vibrations via the actin and myosin in your muscle fibres which creates something called a tonic/stretch reflex). It was therefore suggested that you could maintain your level of fitness and tonality, just by standing/sitting/resting your hands on the machine. In the space programme, it was also used when the astronauts returned back to earth as the vibration technique was used to increase density back into the bones of the astronauts which was lost because of the low gravity in space.
Did it work? Well yes, the Russian astronauts broke numerous records for staying in space for the longest periods, all credited to the vibration machines used to maintain there fitness levels.
The main reason the machine is so effective is because when regular resistance exercises are achieved (I.e lifting weights) your body only recruit's the number of muscle fibres it needs to complete the task. For example if you lift a 5kg weight, this may (for some of you at least) be very easy and you'll only need to use 30% of your muscle fibres to complete the lift. If you lifted 15kg you may need to recruit 80% of your muscle fibres.
Now using the vibration machine, as the body is stimulated (usually at about 30/50 Hz) and recruits almost 100% of the muscle fibres, irrespective of the weight involved. This is because of the tonic/stretch reflex that is automatically created by the vibrations occurring. It is thought therefore that if you combine the vibrations with lifting weights at the same time, your training instantly becomes more efficient AND effective because your stimulating 100% of your muscle fibres to complete the task. In particular in power sports like sprinting, it is thought the vibrations promote the use of "Fast twitch muscle fibres" These are the fibres which allow the sprinter to be explosive (we all have them in our body, but unless they are stimulated, they lay somewhat dormant). The promotion of these fast twitch fibres would mean that you would have a marked improvement in the tonality and strength in your muscles.
Other physiological benefits of vibration training is the stimulation of blood flow to the muscles which increases the body's ability to flush out the toxins that are built up via exercise (lactic acid etc). It's also thought to improve flexibility because it relaxes the muscles while they are being vibrated (a bit like a massage).
How do I use the machine?
The machine has the following functionality built into it
9 levels of speed
3 automatic programmes and 3 timed programmes
Built size is; 120 cm (h), 63cm (l), 50cm (w)
Max user weight: 16 stone/100 kilos
Now depending on the speed of the vibration, you will get different benefits from the machine. As a general rule, here is how it works.
5-6 Hz Standing/Balance Improvement
10-14 Hz Circulation, Relaxation and Recovery
18-25 Hz Muscle Strength and Power
28-30 Hz Muscle Tone. Rehabilitation of Tendon and Bone
40-50Hz Muscle and Skin Toning
In this review, I will not go into all of the exercises you can do on the machine, but generally, any exercise you can do standing, or sitting down, you can do on the machine (e.g stretches, lifting weights, abdominal work-outs) It really is quite flexible in its uses. I would perhaps recommend going onto the internet (you could try vibo.com) to get an exercise programme you could follow if you need the extra support.
Are there any downsides
Well the benefits do out weigh the negatives with this piece of kit, but there are a couple of negatives.
1) The machine does vibrate a lot! Your eyes go a bit funny at first so it takes a bit of getting used to, it will also shake the house a bit! Best to have a rubber matt underneath, it is a bit load on wooden floors etc.
2) This model only allows user up to 16stone, so if you are a bit heavier you may have to look for an alternative
How much does it cost?
Now this even surprised me. You can pick it up from anywhere between £90 second hand on eBay, to £120 brand new (numerous websites Amazon was cheap £112). It is very easy to put together and maintain. When these machines first came out about 5 years ago they were about £500!!!!
In conclusion, this piece of kit is cheap, easy to store away but most importantly really effective for anyone who is looking to tone-up and/or increase muscular strength. You'll also get a few laughs out of it when your having a party and people try it out after a few too many shandy's!
Hope that helps,
The Body Sculpture Power Toner helps improve muscle strength and tone all over the body. It aids greater flexibility, bone density and circulation, and can help reduce body fat along with a calorie controlled diet and exercise programme.