The acute effect of whole-body vibration on the hoffmann reflex

J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Mar;22(2):471-6. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181660605.


The extent to which motoneuron pool excitability, as measured by the Hoffmann reflex (H-reflex), is affected by an acute bout of whole-body vibration (WBV) was recorded in 19 college-aged subjects (8 male and 11 female; mean age 19 +/- 1 years) after tibial nerve stimulation. H/M recruitment curves were mapped for the soleus muscle by increasing stimulus intensity in 0.2- to 1.0-volt increments with 10-second rest intervals between stimuli, until the maximal M-wave and H-reflex were obtained. After determination of Hmax and Mmax, the intensity necessary to generate an H-reflex approximately 30% of Mmax (mean 31.5% +/- 4.1%) was determined and used for all subsequent measurements. Fatigue was then induced by 1 minute of WBV at 40 Hz and low amplitude (2-4 mm). Successive measurements of the H-reflex were recorded at the test intensity every 30 seconds for 30 minutes post fatigue. All subjects displayed a significant suppression of the H-reflex during the first minute post-WBV; however, four distinct recovery patterns were observed among the participants (alpha = 0.50). There were no significant differences between genders across time (P = 0.401). The differences observed in this study cannot be explained by level or type training. One plausible interpretation of these data is that the multiple patterns of recovery may display variation of muscle fiber content among subjects. Future investigation should consider factors such as training specificity and muscle fiber type that might contribute to the differing H-reflex response, and the effect of WBV on specific performance measures should be interpreted with the understanding that there may be considerable variability among individuals. Recovery times and sample size should be adjusted accordingly.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • H-Reflex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Tibial Nerve / physiology
  • Vibration*