Linear Versus Oscillating Whole Body Vibration Machines
There are two different types of vibration machines, and it’s important to understand the differences between the two, even if right now you’re just interested in trying out a vibration machine at a local studio or home fitness store, rather than buying one. (There are actually three types of available vibration machines, but the third–sonar/sound vibration–costs upwards of $15,000 so we’ll leave that one out for now.)
Linear / Piston/ Tri-Planar
While many whole body vibration machine companies claim their platforms move in “three dimensions”, these are still linear machines. Unless the machine has a fulcrum and an alternating pattern of movement, it is effectively using linear vibrations.
In fact, any vibration machine that is not pivotal or oscillating needs to move in this three-dimensional manner, otherwise the pure vertical vibrations in the single direction (up and down) would act on the body like a pneumatic drill or jack hammer – an action associated with conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. This up and down, piston-like vibration is the same that truck drivers receive when sitting for long periods, which can cause painful back problems. In addition, the jarring motion can cause damage to joints, ligaments, and tendons.
A linear vibration machine imitates a jump reflex in the user. The muscles on both sides of the body are contracted at the same time resulting in a very high impact on the body – up to 6X (or 600%) the body weight of the user. Repeating this sort of impact makes certain postures on the platform unsuitable, and those with joint or spine issues typically find this muscle contraction uncomfortable or painful. Also, under a linear pattern of movement not all muscles are engaged – it is mainly the larger muscles of the body, so you’re not getting the all-over body conditioning that will bring you the results you want.
Linear vibration training is effective for improving “jump height”, which is why it’s popular with football and basketball teams. However, as a non-sports professional, you’ll likely find more benefits from oscillating/pivotal vibration training.
Oscillating / Pivotal/ T.O.S.
The original Galileo machine, a precursor to the Noblerex K-1 that helped the Russians set world records in space and athletics, used an oscillating, or pivotal, vibration system. More research has been done on oscillating whole body vibration than any other type of vibration. Oscillating machines can support more weight, have a smaller impact on the body, are easier on the organs, and can keep the spine more supple and loose.
The Triangular Oscillating System (T.O.S.) used by the Noblerex K-1 creates a pleasant rocking motion that causes the brain to tell the muscles of the body to actively contract to maintain equilibrium (balance), creating a therapeutic, muscle-toning and strengthening workout. This unique system provides all the benefits of whole body vibration with minimal risk of damage to the joints and tendons, making it a safe and efficient source of exercise, wellness, and therapy regardless of your age.
While both systems create an involuntary stretch reflex in the muscles, the oscillatory vibration of the Noblerex K-1 offers safety advantages that linear vibration training cannot achieve, even from a simple standing posture. You'll find oscillating platforms far more comfortable than vertical vibration platforms, too.
When people first step off the Noblerex K-1 they frequently report feeling lighter. This is a result of their standing weight being distributed throughout a larger area of the spine, and also in greater balance over their left and right side. A Spinal Analysis Machine used by chiropractors and other practitioners for postural exams involves twin scales that show the difference in weight distribution between the right and left sides of the body. Incredibly, spending just a few minutes on the Noblerex K-1 can help reduce imbalance in standing weight by up to 100%.
The benefits of pivotal / oscillating whole body vibration machines are clear:
- Muscles are alternately activated, causing immediate engagement of core muscles and toning of your abs.
- A natural movement pattern similar to walking improves your posture and balance because walking also activates alternate muscles on either side of the body, never the same muscles on right and left sides at the same time.
- Reduced head vibrations: oscillatory vibrations are dampened in the core abdominal region, while vertical vibrations from linear machines exit via your head leading to discomfort, disorientation and nausea.
- You can adjust the amplitude, or the motion of the machine, by simply moving your feet closer or further apart. There’s no way to control this on a vertical/linear vibration plate.
- Because the oscillating vibration involves the pelvis, it allows for greater intensity without the wear and tear on your joints.
- The load (impact on the joints and tendons) generated by oscillating machines like Noblerex K-1 is lower on your body than the load from walking.
- Your neuromuscular system is trained to fire muscles through an alternating criss-cross pattern just like you do in natural exercise, leading to an increased state of fitness.
- Independent research has shown that the oscillating motion is the safest and most effective method of whole body vibration exercise.