Effect of whole-body vibration on acute recovery after fatiguing exercise

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High-intensity intermittent or resistance activity for a short period of time causes an increased break down of energy stores and accumulation of metabolic by-products. Increased metabolic disturbances may lead to decreased muscle contractile function which eventually will lead to muscle fatigue. Sufficient recovery time is needed for optimal competitive performance and optimizing the ability to tolerate high-intensity, various lengths and duration training loads. There are a number of recovery modalities available that have been used between training sessions, pre- and post- training, and between competitions. In order to evaluate vibration as a recovery aid that contributes to improved performance, three studies were conducted. The first study evaluated the effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) and WBV plus cooling on lower-body peak and mean anaerobic performance, leg volume, perceived recovery, and muscle soreness. The second study evaluated the effects of WBV and upper-body vibration (UBV) on upper-body performance, perceived recovery and muscle soreness, and the third study evaluated the effect of WBV on sprint performance, leg volume and perceived recovery. Healthy and physically active male and female volunteers participated in the studies. In a repeated measures, counterbalanced design, participants completed fatiguing exercise, each recovery treatment and performance test. As indicated by the group mean data, results of the first study suggested possible psychological but not performance enhancing benefits after the use of WBV and WBVC as a recovery method. The findings of the second study suggest no psychological or physiological benefits using WBV and UBV as a recovery modality. The results of the third study suggest no benefits for WBV in enhancing recovery or sprint performance. However, while actual recovery was not enhanced, perceived recovery was better after WBV compared to no vibration. Even though actual recovery or performance was not enhanced by the addition of WBV to the recovery, psychological perception of better recovery may be of some benefit for training or competition. It appears that acute exposure to WBV does not enhance performance under the conditions of this study.

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