Effects of adding whole body vibration to squat training on isometric force/time characteristics

Hugh S Lamont, Joel T Cramer, Debra A Bemben, Randa L Shehab, Mark A Anderson, Michael G Bemben
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2010, 24 (1): 171-83
Resistance training interventions aimed at increasing lower-body power and rates of force development have produced varying results. Recent studies have suggested that whole-body low-frequency vibration (WBLFV) may elicit an acute postactivation potentiation response, leading to acute improvements in power and force development. Potentially, the use of WBLFV between sets of resistance training rather than during training itself may lead to increased recruitment and synchronization of high-threshold motor units, minimize fatigue potential, and facilitate the chronic adaptation to resistance exercise. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of applying TriPlaner, WBLFV, prior to and then intermittently between sets of Smith machine squats on short-term adaptations in explosive isometric force expression. Thirty recreationally resistance trained men aged 18-30 were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: resistance training only (SQT, n = 11), resistance plus whole-body vibration (SQTV, n = 13), or active control (CON, n = 6). An isometric squat test was performed prior to and following a 6-week periodized Smith machine squat program. Whole-body low-frequency vibration was applied 180 seconds prior to the first work set (50 Hz, 2-4 mm, 30 seconds) and intermittently (50 Hz, 4-6 mm, 3 x 10 seconds, 60 seconds between exposures) within a 240-second interset rest period. Subjects were instructed to assume a quarter squat posture while positioning their feet directly under their center of mass, which was modified using a handheld goniometer to a knee angle of 135 +/- 5 degrees . Instructions were given to subjects to apply force as fast and as hard as possible for 3.5 seconds. Isometric force (N) and rates of force development (N.s(-1)) were recorded from the onset of contraction (F(0)) to time points corresponding to 30, 50, 80, 100, 150, and 250 milliseconds, as well as the peak isometric rate of force development (PISORFD), and rate of force development to initial peak in force (RFDinitial). Repeated measures analysis of variance and analysis of covariance revealed no significant group by trial interactions for isometric rate of force development (ISORFD) between 0-30, 0-50, 0-80, 0-100, 0-150, and 0-250 milliseconds and PISORFD (p > 0.05). A significant group x trial interaction was seen for RFDinitial with SQTV >CG (p = 0.04, mean difference 997.2 N.s(-1)) and SQTV >SQT (p = 0.04, mean difference 1,994.22 N.s(-1)). Significant trial by covariate interactions (week one measures for ISORFD) and main effects for trial were observed for ISORFD between 0-80, 0-100, 0-and 150 milliseconds; PISORFD; and RFDinitial (p < 0.01). A significant trial effect was seen for Finitial (%) when expressed as a relative percentage of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) (MVC = 100%) (p = 0.015; week 1 > week 7, mean difference, 5.82%). No significant differences were seen for any other force variables from the onset of contraction to MVC between weeks 1 and 7 (p > 0.05). The data suggest that there was a significant benefit afforded by adding WBLFV to a short-term resistance training protocol with regard to "explosive" strength expression. The addition of vibration prior to and between sets of resistance exercise may be a viable alternative to vibration applied during resistance exercise when trying to improve "explosive" isometric strength.

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