Introduction: Very few studies have looked at the effect of vibration on flexibility, and no studies exist that have looked at stretching concurrently with whole body vibration (WBV) training. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if whole-body-vibration training (WBV) done concurrently with static stretch (SV) is more effective than static stretching alone (SS), and to see if WBV training independently (SQ) improves hamstring flexibility without stretching. A secondary purpose of this study is to determine if retention of flexibility gains are maintained. Methods: Forty-four subjects (31 men, 13 women) completed this study (age 22.5 ± 1.8 years; body mass 75.54 ± 13.18 kg; height 176.7 ± 8.06 kg). All subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups: SV group (8 males, 3 females), SQ group (8 m, 4 f), SS group (8 m, 3 f), and the C group (7 m, 3 f). All subjects were measured bilaterally for hamstring flexibility using the lying passive knee extension test (LPKE) prior to group assignment. Subjects from each treatment group reported to lab 5 times per week for treatment. Subjects stood on the WBV platform for 5 repetitions of 30-seconds at with 30-seconds in between bouts. The SV group stretched hamstrings while standing on the WBV during the vibration bouts (at 26 Hz and 4 mm amplitude). The SS group did the same thing except the unit was not turned on. The SQ group stood on the WBV platform in a semi-squat position similar to most WBV training studies, without stretching, but with vibration. The C group stood on the WBV platform in a semi-squat without vibration. Analysis and Results: A mixed models analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used while blocking on subjects to analyze data using the statistical program SAS (version 9.1). A Bonferroni correction was used for significance on all post hoc tests (p<.0001). At baseline there were no significant differences between groups for flexibility (see Table 1), showing that each group was similar in flexibility to start. Throughout the treatment period (3 weeks of stretching) both the SS and SV groups had significant increases in flexibility compared to SQ and C. Analysis of the slopes (rate of change) for the treatment period was significantly different between the SV group and all other groups (p<.0001 for all comparisons), showing that the SV group had a greater rate of change than all other groups. For the retention period there was no significant difference between the SV and SS group (p=0.0455), but there was a significant difference between both the SV and SS groups and all other groups (p<.0001 for all comparisons). Conclusion: Stretching during WBV improves flexibility more than static stretching alone and at a faster rate. WBV on its own without stretching does not significantly improve hamstring flexibility.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



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whole body vibration, hamstring, flexibility, vibration platform, stretching