By Prospero Herrara
Rehab Plus is a teaching facility and we are fortunate to have a lot of great students come through our doors. Part of our students internship is to research different therapy equipment and techniques that we use in rehabilitation. This weeks article is on “Whole Body Vibration Training”. Rehab Plus uses the Power Plate as an intergral part of our sport performance and physical therapy training. Prospero Herrera, ASU intern, did a great job researching this information.
Whole-body vibration training may prove useful as a means for improving explosive strength and postural control. A recent study (Fort, et al., 2012) showed significant improvements in the explosive strength and postural control of female basketball players when whole-body vibration training was introduced in addition to the athlete’s regular training regimen. This is a significant finding for both the world of athletics and physical therapy.
In the study twenty-two female basketball players were split into two groups. Eleven of the athletes were randomly selected to be in the control group, and the other eleven were randomly selected to be in the whole-body vibration group. Prior to beginning the training program the athletes were tested to establish their baseline measurements for explosive strength and postural control. These parameters were tested using the counter movement jump test, the single leg hop test, and a single leg standing test with eyes closed and eyes open. These tests were then performed again after eight weeks of training and after an additional seven weeks of training.
The study showed significant improvements in all parameters in the whole-body vibration group as compared to the control group. In the whole-body vibration group the average counter-movement jump test height improved by 10.07%, the single leg hop test distance improved by 14.17% and 15.17% for the right and left leg respectively, and the sway from center of pressure during the closed eye single leg standing test decreased for both legs by 33.14% and 33.58% respectively.
The results show that these athletes were able to jump higher, jump farther, and had better balance after just fifteen weeks of incorporating whole-body vibration training into their normal training regimen. These results are significant for several reasons. First, explosive strength and postural control are obviously essential for all sports. Second, these results show that improvements in these parameters can be made using whole-body vibration even in athletes, which is a more difficult population to acquire improvements in. Finally, postural control (i.e. balance) is extremely important for the general population, especially for the recovery of a lower limb injury, and the prevention of injury in the elderly.
Fort, A., Bagur, C., Guerra, M., & Romero, D. (2012). Effects of whole-body vibration training on explosive strength and postural control in young female athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26, 926-936.