Use of surface electromyography to evaluate effects of whole-body vibration exercises on neuromuscular activation and muscle strength in the elderly: a systematic review

Disabil Rehabil. 2022 Dec;44(24):7368-7377. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1994030. Epub 2021 Oct 26.


Purpose: Reduction of muscle strength and lean mass, increase in the risk of falls, higher mortality, and morbidity are observed in geriatric syndromes. Physical activity is an effective intervention in reducing signs and symptoms of geriatric syndromes. Whole-body vibration exercise (WBVE) is an intervention with low cost and has been effective.

Materials and methods: The aim of this systematic review aimed to determine the effects of WBVE on neuromuscular activation and muscle strength in the elderly. Searches in PubMed, Embase, Science direct, and Scopus databases were conducted. Six studies, that analyzed the use of surface electromyography evaluating effects of WBVE on neuromuscular activation and muscle strength in the elderly, published in English, were included.

Results: Six studies were included. One hundred forty-six individuals participated in the studies and 24 were males (16.43%), with an average age of 74.20 ± 7.66 years. Five publications were defined as "fair" methodological in the PEDro scale, the risk of bias was high and the risk of bias for non-randomized studies was moderate/high. In general, increased strength muscle was reported in the studies.

Conclusion: This systematic review suggests that WBVE might promote desirable neuromuscular responses in healthy elderly. However, it is necessary to perform further studies to reinforce the reported findings.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONThe reduction in lean mass and consequent reduction in muscle strength are present in healthy elderly people and the whole-body vibration exercise can reduce or alleviate these symptoms caused by the geriatric syndrome.Whole-body vibration exercise is a training modality that increases neuromuscular activation and muscle strength.Surface electromyography is a useful tool for the evaluation of the neuromuscular activation of the muscle fibers.

Keywords: Whole-body vibration exercise; elderly; electromyography; muscle strength; neuromuscular activation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Electromyography
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength* / physiology
  • Vibration*