Whole body vibration and athletic performance: A scoping review

Tibor Hortobágyi, Urs Granacher, Miguel Fernandez-del-Olmo

Abstract


Over the past 30 years, whole bode vibration (WBV) has received much attention in research, therapeutics, and athletics as a means to restore or improve motor function and athletic performance. The purpose of this review was to determine if WBV could increase athletic performance in competitive and/or elite athletes. As reported in 19 studies, WBV (36.1 Hz, 3.1 mm) had an overall 2.5% acute effect on MVC force (-2.1%), power (3.1%), flexibility (9.2%), and athletic performance (-0.2%) in 379 (172 male, 207 female) athletes representing 11 sports. Only nine or 33% of the 27 comparisons between WBV and active controls were statistically significant. There were three comparisons, suggesting unfavorable effects of WBV on performance. In 15 studies, WBV (32.1 Hz, 4.6 mm) had an overall 10.3% chronic effect on MVC force (14.4%), power (9.1%), flexibility (16.5%), and athletic performance (1.1%) in 303 (81 male, 222 female) athletes, representing eight sports. Nine or 55% of the 19 comparisons between WBV and active control were statistically significant. Taken all of the data from the 34 studies, WBV increased acute and chronic performance by 6.4% in 682 (253 males, 429 female) athletes, representing 14 sports. However, only 18 or 44% of the 46 comparisons between WBV vs. active control were statistically significant. Strictly speaking of ‘athletic performance’, the acute and chronic WBV-effect, respectively, was -0.3% and 1.1%.  In conclusion, the present scoping review found little and inconsistent evidence that acute and chronic WBV would improve athletic performance in competitive and/or elite athletes.

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References


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