Archive for September, 2011

Vibration Machines – watching you wobble yourself slim?

September 2nd, 2011

Have you ever watched an advertorial or a youtube video showing a woman on a pivotal vibration machine and laughed as you watched their butt and legs wobble about from the side to side motion of the machine?

Crazy Fit Massage Machine

Low Speed Pivotal Massage Machine

I have three pivotal machines in the  studio where I work.  Two are used for therapy poses to increase blood circulation, help with relaxation, and improve proprioception in customers who because of medical or physical disability are not yet able to use the lineal Vibra-Train machines.

high speed pivotal

Premium Speed Pivotal Workout Machine

One machine is larger and is a true workout model. It’s used mainly for physio/therapy use also but can be used for full workouts. We find out customers here, when given the choice, prefer the lineal Vibra-Train platforms.

There’s also the embarrasment factor of the pivotal machines when used in a semi or deeper squat poses – the action of the side to side motion causes the user’s butt and thighs to wobble noticeably; also in some people their hips show  movement also. This is all totally normal when using this type of machine but, oh boy, does it look funny. You might have seen it in internet videos and on television where it looks amusing when the model on the machines is a tiny size 6 or 8 (N.Z. size) but can you imagine the look when a 250lb (120kg) women uses the machine? I’m asuming of course that the machine copes with this larger sized person – many pivotal machines degrade in performance well below that weight.  Even a regular sized woman, say 140lbs, doesn’t look good wobbling away on the pivotal machines. But, of course, the advertisers use attractive, tiny models to promote their products.

Jumping to their defense – vibration training isn’t about looking good in the studio while doing your work-out, it simply doesn’t matter, but the wobble is not a good look!

Another defense of the “wobble”, though completely wrong this one – I’ve had people say, “oh look at their butts wobble. They MUST be losing lots of weight!” Others come into the studio and ask if our machines are like the ones they’ve seen on TV, the ones where you wobble and get slim and fit.

Is it true – can you lightly wobble your way to a new slender you? Technically any movement burns more calories than sitting still so the person on the pivotal machine is getting some benefit from it. Many “weight-loss” books tell us to move about a lot, move legs about when sitting at the office desk and fidgit with your hands. By doing this you burn a few more calories each day and a small, measurable amount in a year. Okay, its better than being sedentary but it does very little toward the goal of  fat reduction and fitness. I’m amazed by the number of people who are confused by this.

To demonstrate the difference in machine types I put the questioning customer onto the large pivotal machine for a one minute semi-squat at low speed. Then they do the same position at a higher speed, again for a minute or two. You can see their thighs wobble and they feel this as a gentle activation. Those who want to can do the squat pose at high speed; 22hz is about the top before the users feet begin to slip on the (non-slip) plate. I then invite them to rest and then repeat the squat once or twice on a lineal machine, using the basic level 2 beginners unit. This machine gives a strong muscle contraction in the quads (front upper leg) when the person does a simple, deep (110 degree) squat for just 60 seconds.  That’s all it takes to show the very major difference in the machine types. Watching the person on the lineal machine they appear not to be moving at all, there’s none of the “wobble” but, in their own words, they tell me how much harder it is and how much deeper they feel the muscle contraction.

It’s not possible to wobble yourself slim using a pivotal vibration machine. It might be a way to start out but its not going to work for long. Wobbling fat – wobbles fat, it might give some benefit as it will mobilise fluid and improve lymphatic drainage but real toning comes from real training – and that’s impossible on almost all pivotal machines.

I’m reminded of the slogan we use when customers complain that the training program is hard work; we tell them the sign over the door says “Vibra-TRAIN” not “Vibra-MASSAGE”

Even worse than believing that by using a low speed pivotal vibration machine, you can lose weight, tone, get fit and look like the model on the advertorial on TV or internet is the promotion of simply standing upright on the machine while you watch TV.  I read an advert this week, an auction on New Zealand’s TradeMe site, where a low speed pivotal machine was being sold with the instruction to simply stand or sit on the machine and watch the pounds slip away.
IF ONLY IT WAS THAT EASY!
Only the lasiest of consumers would believe that – and as I’ve written before, they seem destined to be ripped off but that sort of marketing does a lot of harm to the whole vibration training industry.

Glossary:

Lineal
A solid platform that moves straight up and down, all across the surface at the same time.

Pivotal
A Platform that tilts from side to side , so one foot goes up , while the other goes down.