Effect of 8-month vertical whole body vibration on bone, muscle performance, and body balance: a randomized controlled study

J Bone Miner Res. 2003 May;18(5):876-84. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.5.876.


Recent animal studies have given evidence that vibration loading may be an efficient and safe way to improve mass and mechanical competence of bone, thus providing great potential for preventing and treating osteoporosis. Randomized controlled trials on the safety and efficacy of the vibration on human skeleton are, however, lacking. This randomized controlled intervention trial was designed to assess the effects of an 8-month whole body vibration intervention on bone, muscular performance, and body balance in young and healthy adults. Fifty-six volunteers (21 men and 35 women; age, 19-38 years) were randomly assigned to the vibration group or control group. The vibration intervention consisted of an 8-month whole body vibration (4 min/day, 3-5 times per week). During the 4-minute vibration program, the platform oscillated in an ascending order from 25 to 45 Hz, corresponding to estimated maximum vertical accelerations from 2 g to 8 g. Mass, structure, and estimated strength of bone at the distal tibia and tibial shaft were assessed by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) at baseline and at 8 months. Bone mineral content was measured at the lumbar spine, femoral neck, trochanter, calcaneus, and distal radius using DXA at baseline and after the 8-month intervention. Serum markers of bone turnover were determined at baseline and 3, 6, and 8 months. Five performance tests (vertical jump, isometric extension strength of the lower extremities, grip strength, shuttle run, and postural sway) were performed at baseline and after the 8-month intervention. The 8-month vibration intervention succeeded well and was safe to perform but had no effect on mass, structure, or estimated strength of bone at any skeletal site. Serum markers of bone turnover did not change during the vibration intervention. However, at 8 months, a 7.8% net benefit in the vertical jump height was observed in the vibration group (95% CI, 2.8-13.1%; p = 0.003). On the other performance and balance tests, the vibration intervention had no effect. In conclusion, the studied whole body vibration program had no effect on bones of young, healthy adults, but instead, increased vertical jump height. Future human studies are needed before clinical recommendations for vibration exercise.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Posture*
  • Vibration*