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Shopping Guide for the Best Vibration Platform Machines

Are you looking for an exercise program that promotes circulation, muscle tone, increased stamina, and relaxation?

Proponents of whole body vibration (WBV) say this alternative exercise regimen provides just that.

In Asia, Europe, and the U.S., WBV therapy enjoys growing popularity.

In fact, some commercial gyms and rehabilitation centers invest thousands of dollars in pro-grade vibration platform machines.

These machines provide the pivotal or lineal energy needed for the therapy.

But you needn’t join a commercial gym to reap the benefits of WBV therapy.

Consumer-friendly models exist, and we’ve identified the top machines on the commercial market.

 

Are you interested in starting a new WBV regimen at home? We urge all consumers to check with a medical professional before starting WBV.

At BestReviews, we pride ourselves on our honest reviews. To prevent bias, we never accept “free” samples from manufacturers. Instead, we conduct independent research and interview consumers. We buy products and test them in our company labs. When we’re finished testing, we donate these products to charity.

If you’re ready to purchase a vibration platform machine for the purpose of WBV therapy, please see the product matrix, above, for our top endorsements.

If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating technology, please continue reading this shopping guide.

Robert
EXPERT CONSULTANT

Robert Herbst is an internationally known expert on exercise, fitness, wellness, and weight loss. As a powerlifter, he has won 18 World Championships and 33 National Championships and set 38 world records. He was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Sullivan Award given to the nation's outstanding amateur athlete and is a member of the AAU Strength Sports Hall of Fame. A New York attorney, he supervised the drug testing at the 2016 Rio Olympics and helped manage the wrestling venue at the 2012 London Olympics. Learn more about Robert at www.w8lifterusa.com.


Robert  |  Fitness and Wellness Expert

What is WBV Therapy?

WBV therapy originated in the late 19th century when alternative health pioneer Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and others like him devised passive exercise equipment for health spa clients.

These pieces of equipment generated high-intensity vibrations either via an electric motor or a steam-powered engine. Patients received the vibration therapy using a special belt or platform. The vibrations were thought to improve digestion, blood flow, and brain function.

Back then, vibration therapy was often combined with extreme dieting and fad medical treatments to achieve “miraculous” results at exclusive spas.

Gyms also offered a form of passive exercise using vibration technology — users strapped on a wide belt to receive powerful vibrations to their backs and abdomens from a special machine. The overall effectiveness of this passive weight-loss method was questionable at best.

During the 1940s and 1950s, some retail stores kept coin-operated whole body vibration machines in their lobbies for weary customers to receive a few minutes of relief as the machine massaged their legs.

Staff
BestReviews

While the alternative health spa craze may have fallen out of favor, different forms of vibration therapy have not.

Many people today have experienced body vibration therapy, even if they don't recognize it as such. For example, anyone who has enjoyed 15 minutes in a massage chair or a session with a foot bath massager has experienced vibration therapy.

While these devices may not be the same as a dedicated vibration platform machine, they do deliver a beneficial form of whole body vibration therapy.

The vibration platform machines on our shortlist simply take this beneficial therapy a step further.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some people see vibration therapy as a passive form of exercise. In truth, the muscles engage extensively during a short WBV session.

The Case for Whole Body Vibration Therapy

While whole body vibration therapy is still a largely “unproven” practice, plenty of satisfied practitioners claim at least temporary benefits.

Because WBV therapy interacts with muscle tissue, it may also stimulate specialized cells within the tissue called osteoblasts. These cells contribute to the regrowth of bone, which is why American and Russian space programs both use a form of WBV therapy to compensate for the bone loss astronauts experience in low-gravity environments. In that same vein, many home users claim to find relief from arthritis symptoms after a session on a vibration platform machine.

Other potential benefits of WBV therapy, though not medically proven, include:

  • Improved blood circulation

  • Lymph system detoxification

  • Increased mobility

Although few scientific studies exist to support these health claims, some medical professionals see very little risk in pursuing alternative therapies like WBV.

EXPERT TIP

Fragile diabetics are discouraged from engaging in WBV therapy, but mild diabetics who try the therapy report temporary relief from painful neuropathy in their feet and legs.


Staff  | BestReviews

Vibration Therapy vs. Vibration Training

It is important for vibration platform machine users to understand the difference between vibration therapy and vibration training.

Vibration therapy is a passive treatment in which the machine or device does most of the work. Standing still on a vibration platform machine, sitting in a vibrating massage chair, and using a massage wand are all forms of vibration therapy. The benefits come primarily from the stimulation of nerves, muscle tissue, and blood vessels.

However, if the user assumes a stressful position, such as a deep squat or knee bend, the session becomes vibration training. Athletes use vibration training to improve muscle strength or flexibility. In fact, vibration training machines are more likely to be found in a gym than a private home. They produce powerful up-and-down vibrations that force the muscles to contract and relax repeatedly.

Vibration training is primarily intended to improve athletic performance, while vibration therapy is better for home users seeking overall health benefits.

Machine Features

WBV therapy stresses short, intense sessions that rarely last more than a minute or two. Because vibration platform machines can be used for both health and exercise purposes, you may find a machine with additional features — handheld exercise bands, monitoring devices, and so on — to be particularly valuable.

Here’s a look at what the machines on our shortlist offer in terms of features:

We give additional props to models featuring dual-motor technology. This technology allows users to choose between pivotal motion, lineal motion, or a combination of both.

Staff
BestReviews
Machine features

GForce Professional Dual Motor Whole Body Vibration Machine

Power

Satisfied owners tell us that the GForce Power Vibe packs nearly as much punch as a professional gym model. It features dual motors: one for lineal vibration and another for pivotal vibration. Users can elect to perform both motions at the same time. Unlike some other vibration platform machines, however, the lineal motion is back-and-forth, not up-and-down. The therapeutic benefits are still the same, though.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some WBV exercises require a side-to-side or pivotal motion; others require an up-and-down or lineal motion. Some machines provide back-and-forth or lateral motion to enhance the pivotal and/or lineal effects.

Options

The GForce offers 60 speed settings, all of which are controlled by a single dial.

We love the product’s easy-to-read LCD display, and we give it extra points for its ability to handle higher vibration speeds without increased noise.

We like the manual and preprogrammed exercise routine options, too. Users can select automatic programs that provide both pivotal and lineal vibrations at various speeds and durations. This creates a form of muscle “confusion” that benefits users, according to WBV proponents.

Owners agree that the GForce Power Vibe designers truly understand the requirements of a gym-quality machine.

Staff
BestReviews

Ease of Use

The generous dimensions of the GForce platform (27.25” x 20”) provide users of all sizes a sense of security during use. Curved support handles allow various handholds during exercise routines. This is helpful, as some WBV regimens require users to assume different positions for each one-minute set, from standing to deep squats to push ups.

Assembly of the GForce Power Vibe can pose a challenge, but thankfully, the manufacturer provides an easy-to-follow DVD with instructions that guide the process.

Extras

The unit also arrives with special resistance bands that you can attach to the hand grips.

EXPERT TIP

The GForce Power Vibe is a heavy-duty machine. If you have the dedicated floor space, it could be perfect for you. But potential buyers should realize it’s not designed for portability.


Staff  | BestReviews
Machine features

Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Platform

Power

The Confidence Fitness platform’s 1.5-hp motor provides substantial pivotal vibration to the plate during use, and the user can choose from 50 speed settings. The gradations are subtle but noticeable, especially in the higher settings.

Options

We give props to this model for its centrally located, easy-to-read display unit. Here, the user can track his/her speed and other vital information such as pulse rate, elapsed time, and BMI (body mass index).

One feature we find particularly useful is the automatic shut-off after ten minutes of operation. This protects the motor from burning out and also discourages users from overworking their muscles or getting too dehydrated.

The Confidence Fitness Slim does not have lineal vibration capability, which may prevent users from performing certain exercises. However, satisfied owners say they benefit significantly from the pivotal vibration exercises alone.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most WBV exercises are intended to last only a minute or so. Ten minutes of exercise on a vibration platform machine is said to be the equivalent of 60 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine.

Ease of Use

The Confidence Fitness Slim's overall base dimensions are a generous 27” x 27”, but the vibration plate itself is raised and a little smaller. Some exercisers may need to use the support arms while mounting or dismounting; these arms also provide much-needed stability during intense workouts.

The Confidence machine comes with a complete manual that provides detailed instructions on various exercise routines and some background on the benefits of WBV therapy in general.

This machine’s 330-pound weight capacity in another fantastic feature.

Extras

The Confidence Fitness Slim includes yoga resistance straps to enhance the WBV experience. The straps encourage participants to maintain stretch positions as the machine vibrates. We wouldn't call them true resistance bands, but they do help the user achieve better form while exercising.

The Confidence Fitness Slim provides exceptional support as well as portability, which can sometimes be a tradeoff with other models.

Staff
BestReviews

Tripact Butterfly Shape Whole Body Vibration Machine

Power

The Tripact Whole Body Vibration Machine’s 200-watt motor produces a substantial level of pivotal vibration. One owner describes this compact model as a "foot massager for your entire body," and we agree. However, potential buyers should know that it’s best for casual use, not intense WBV workouts.

Options

There are no support bars, so user stability is always going to be an issue. We do appreciate the fact that the model offers three pre-programmed settings with varied workouts for different personal goals. Some settings are said to promote lymph system drainage; others target stress or cellulite.

But the Whole Body Vibration Machine's best additional feature is, by far, its remote control system. Users can remove the remote control from the unit's base and allow themselves to become completely stabilized before switching on the motor.

DID YOU KNOW?

While the Tripact Whole Body Vibration Machine’s lack of handrails may seem like a drawback to some, this absence does allow owners to incorporate the unit into calisthenics and step aerobics.

Ease of Use

This unit looks small compared to other vibration platform machines, and indeed, it only weighs 45 pounds. But it’s definitely not a toy. Its portability makes it a great candidate for office or hotel room use, and it could easily be stored under a bed or in a closet.

The machine doesn’t feature traditional hand grips or a centralized display unit, but it offers a remote control feature. Owners can step onto the vibration plate for stabilization before activating the motor remotely.

The pivotal vibrations can be intense at higher settings, but the motion itself is not destabilizing for the user. In other words, the vibration plate will not try to "buck" the user off, even at maximum power. However, potential buyers with mobility or balance issues may want to perform further research and testing before investing in a portable vibration unit without stabilizers.

The Whole Body's stated weight limit is 250 pounds. For heavier people looking to lose weight, this could be a drawback.

Extras

Because it is a compact unit, the Whole Body Vibration Machine does not arrive with many additional features beyond the three preset programs mentioned above.

A ten-minute session on the Whole Body Vibration Machine, especially at its higher settings, can feel like an hour or more on a treadmill.

EXPERT TIP

A WBV machine doesn’t reproduce the intensity of expensive gym vibration plates, but it definitely engages the muscles and joints for a stimulating workout.


Staff  | BestReviews

Options

The Gadget Fit Power Vibration Plate includes all of the standard features that most top contenders include: pulse monitoring, running time clock, and vibration speed. The exerciser can check his/her pulse by placing a hand on the rail and waiting for the results to appear on the centralized display.

Elapsed time and vibration speeds also appear on the display.

Users choose from three pre-programmed exercise routines. The primary goal of these programs is to introduce muscle confusion into the workout.

Some vibration platform machines include suggestions for exercise programs or special regimens for health problems. We give additional points to machines that allow the user to customize his/her workout routine.

It's All About The Motion

In the product descriptions above, you may have noticed that some machines only vibrate in one direction, whereas others vibrate in multiple directions.

Each type of movement has positive and negative aspects, but generally speaking, the more choices you have, the better.

Here are the three most common directions a vibration platform machine can follow:

Motion of vibration platform machines

Side to Side, or “Teeter Totter”

The user stands balanced on both left and right plates, and the machine vibrates in a side-to-side motion. Each leg is engaged, simulating the motions of running in place or using a rocker board. The most noticeable benefit from this motion is increased blood circulation to the feet and legs. Users also receive some cardio and aerobic stimulation similar to jogging.

Notably, some people report difficulty returning to “normal” walking for a few minutes after a “teeter totter” session.

EXPERT TIP

If you have a pacemaker, do not use a vibration platform machine without first verifying its safety with your doctor.


Staff  | BestReviews
Motion of vibration platform machines

Front and Back

Some vibration platform machines provide a linear motion that moves the user forward and backward. This motion stimulates a natural balancing reflex that increases muscle and joint engagement.

When used in combination with a side-by-side or up-and-down motion, this linear setting creates a beneficial “muscle confusion” that many athletes seek during training.

This is not necessarily a natural motion, however, and some users complain of joint pain after a session.

Even if you’re in excellent physical condition, begin WBV training slowly. Start with just a few seconds per day and work your way up to a longer duration. Most experienced users find 10 minutes to be a sufficient amount of time on a WBV machine.
Motion of vibration platform machines

Up and Down

While all vibrational directions are considered beneficial, many experienced users and trainers say the most productive motion is up and down. This is the direction many select when performing vibration training in “stressed” positions.

The vertical vibrations force muscles to contract and relax repeatedly. This motion can make a shorter workout session on the vibration platform machine more efficient than a longer calisthenic routine.

The biggest challenge here lies in finding an in-home machine that delivers a powerful up-and-down vibration.

EXPERT TIP

Stability is an important consideration. The user needs to feel stable while holding various positions, and he/she should be able to read the machine's displays and make adjustments during exercise.


Staff  | BestReviews

Price

Commercial vibration platform machines can easily cost thousands of dollars, and many provide only one form of vibratory energy — either lineal or pivotal. The consumer-friendly models on our shortlist deliver roughly the same type of performance at a fraction of the price. But there are tradeoffs to consider. For instance, a lower-priced contender might have a weaker motor.

Here’s a look at what each product on our shortlist gives you for the money:

DID YOU KNOW?

A 2011 study from the University of Toronto debunked the theory that vibration therapy improves bone density. If you suffer from low bone density, do not rely solely on WBV to improve your condition.

At $1529, the GForce Power Vibe vibration platform sits at the higher end of the pricing spectrum. But this model provides commercial-grade service at a retail price. Dual-motor units like this one deliver options that other single-motor models simply can't.

We recommend the high-end GForce Power Vibe to experienced consumers who want to recreate the therapeutic benefits of WBV at home. It’s not an entry-level machine, and consumers should consult a health professional before making this kind of investment.

EXPERT TIP

Most in-home vibration platform machines are designed for light to medium intensity, not the high intensity provided by machines found in professional gyms.


Staff  | BestReviews

Criticisms of WBV Therapy

Vibration platform machine owners should remember that vibration therapy is still considered an alternative health regimen. Few rigorous scientific studies exist to support WBV therapy, and those that have been performed do not generally support most of the health claims made by manufacturers.

These machines deliver on their promise of multi-directional vibrations at a therapeutic level, but users should not expect the miraculous results some manufacturers promote through unverified advertising claims.

One common criticism is that most in-home vibrating platforms aren’t powerful enough to be therapeutic. Pain relief is generally temporary, not permanent. However, many satisfied vibration platform machine customers report positive results after a few sessions at home.

Be sure to check the maximum weight limit of a potential purchase before ordering it. They can range anywhere from 250 to 330 pounds.

Another common issue voiced by critics is misinformation about vibration therapy’s effectiveness against specific ailments. Several years ago, a widely published study claimed that a number of Parkinson's sufferers experienced neuromuscular relief after vibration therapy sessions. The actual results did not support this claim, saying the reported relief was comparable to others who received placebo treatments.

The initial claims of bone regeneration among astronauts who received vibration therapy also proved to be unsupported scientifically.

One of the few health benefits of vibration therapy to have any substantial merit was a slight increase in leg strength and endurance.

We urge vibration platform machine owners to consult with a medical professional before starting any therapeutic or exercise regimen. Those with pre-existing conditions such as advanced diabetes, hypertension, and neuromuscular disease should use extreme caution before, during, and after any vibration therapy or training.

Recognize your limits, and stop your training session if you feel dizzy, weak, or nauseated.

FAQ

Q. Will WBV help me lose weight?

A. The vibration platform machine itself is not sold as a weight loss device, but a number of users do report an improvement in muscle tone and a reduction in core fat deposits. The best we can say is that vibration therapy can help discourage the formation of new fat deposits.

Individual manufacturers and vibration therapy enthusiasts often tout weight loss as a bona fide benefit, but results cannot be guaranteed.

Q. I'm already a trained athlete in great shape. How would vibration therapy help me?

A. Vibration therapy can help professional athletes in numerous ways.

  • Vibration platforms provide a faster method for warming up muscles before a training session or athletic event.

  • Including a high-intensity vibration training interval in a stressed position (squat, knee bend, plank, etc.) can strengthen muscles over time.

  • Some elite gymnasts use a vibration platform machine while rehabbing sprained ankles, knees, or hips.

Q. How long should a typical vibration therapy session last?

A. A common rule of thumb among vibration therapy experts is that ten minutes on a vibration platform is the equivalent of one hour of similar exercise in a gym. For most people, ten minutes per day should be enough for maximum health benefit. However, athletes seeking vibration training will probably want to extend that time or complete two routines per day.

Q. Can I use a vibration platform machine strictly for “passive” exercise, without doing other cardio or aerobic workouts?

A. Although some people do use these machines for passive massage therapy or other health benefits, those who want to lose weight or tone muscles should consider supplementing vibration therapy sessions with regular calisthenic or cardio routines.

The vibration training machines commonly found in commercial gyms can deliver a more intense “passive” workout than most home models.

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