T Nation

Vibration Training


Mr Thibadeau,

What is your opinion on vibration training? I read you mention it in an article from 2007 but since then have heard nothing on the topic from yourself or anyone else whose opinion I respect.

I did some work experience in a gym yesterday which had two power plates (www.power-plate.com) worth £6000 each, yet no bench press or power rack, and no standard 45lb plates to correctly perform a deadlift with the bar about 12" from the ground. Do they have their priorities all wrong?


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For flexibility training it's actually quite good. And as Bushido mentioned, it can improve myogenic tone and stability especially in th elderly.

But other than that its just a gimmick that sounded good on paper but that can actually be detrimental by screwing up motor patterns.


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It`s not so much about the protocols as about the effect of the vibration themselves. Super fast vibrations will inhibit and even desensitize the muscle spindles thus you will be able to reach a greater range of motion simply because the stretch reflex will be partially inhibited.

although this will indeed help you improve flexibility, when performed over the long run you risk effectively inhibiting the muscle spindles for good (increasing their activation threshold if you want). This can cause two problems:

  1. It will decrease strength (the stretch reflex contributes heavily to force production, especially in stretched position) and power (especially power, and speed).

  2. It increases the risk of injury: the stretch reflex come into play to avoid an excessive lengthening of the muscle tissue. If it becomes too inhibited, the protection against excessive lengthening decreases and the risk for muscle tears increases.

So yes it's effective to improve flexibility; but it should only be used for short blocks of training.


So what about for soft tissue-type work on a Powerplate? Would this have the same concerns regarding the muscle spindle inhibition?

I ask because I have used them in a recovery fashion, and it does seem to help with soreness. There are a couple Powerplate programs I use occasionally. I will rethink my frequent use of them and use them intermittently throughout the year.


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Just get on the thing and do traditional stretches. This can also been done with a hand-held vibrating massager (insert bad joke here).

The vibration platforms are also great to get the nervous system fired up. Similar to other post-activation potentiation methods. As CT mentioned the key with this really is the frequency of the vibration.


Supposed to be good for early stage rehab