Shake, Rattle, and Roll
Everywhere I have been the last three months I have seen commercial vibration machines. I see them in therapy and I see them in training. These commercial machines usually have three or four settings with a vibration range from 30Hz to 60 Hz. The inexactness of these ranges is like trying to perform brain surgery with a butter knife, not very exact and dangerous. When you ask the million dollar question of the people that have them – What do you with the machine? How do you use it? You get amazing responses like – It makes them feel good before work out or the classic one – We use it for recovery. Recovery from what? Just like evaluating any mode or method of training I always ask myself the following questions: What is it specifically supposed to do? Can I measure that improvement or at least see it? Why does it work? How does it work? When is it best to use it? In what context should I use it? Last but not least, with whom is it most appropriate to use? Certainly the concept of vibration is well researched, but the application is not. Much of the early research on vibration was done and continues to be done on the harmful aspects of vibration in industrial settings and in space flight. I think it is necessary to get beyond the guru endorsers and study what is really happening and how this mode is best used. Some of my colleagues have had good success in using for flexibility, especially at ankle. They also are also quick to add that the gains are short lasting; the research seems to substantiate this. My other concern is the cost. This is an expensive machine that allows one athlete use it at a time. Not very time efficient. I figure that for the cost of two of these machines you could hire one coach! Remember if the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything becomes a nail. Try using a body blade. It vibrates and it is self regulated. Perhaps too simple simple because there are blinking lights are alarms, just the feedback from your body.