Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Can Using a Whole Body Vibration Warm-up Give Athletes Quicker Feet? (Sports Med Res)
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Can Using a Whole Body Vibration Warm-up Give Athletes Quicker Feet?

Acute effect of whole-body vibration warm-up on footspeed quickness

Donahue RB, Vingren JL, Duplanty AA, Levitt DE, Luk H, Kraemer WJ. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2016; 30(8): 2286-2291.

Take Home Message: Whole-body vibration improves performance on quick feet test when compared to a traditional warm-up.

Whole body vibration (WBV) training involves performing various movements while on a vibrating platform, which forces the leg muscles into rapidly alternating concentric and eccentric contractions causing an increase in metabolic rate and muscle temperature. Implementing WBV training is becoming popular as athletes look for methods to improve performance in a more time-efficient manner; however, effects of WBV used in the warm-up have not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, the authors tested 20 healthy and physically active men (18-25 years) using 4 different warm-up methods to examine the acute effect of a WBV warm-up on feet quickness. The athletes completed the 4 different warm-up protocols at least 48 hours apart, which consisted of the following protocols: a traditional warm-up (using various static and dynamic exercises and stretches), WBV warm-up (using only WBV as a warm-up), a combined warm-up (using a traditional warm-up followed by the WBV warm-up), and a control protocol (no warm-up). The WBV warm-up consisted of 60 seconds of vertical vibration at a frequency of 35 Hz and amplitude of 4 mm with the athlete in a comfortable “athletic stance”. Athletes completed the quick feet test (QFT) following each of the warm-up protocols to determine the effectiveness of the 4 warm-up protocols. The QFT involves athletes rapidly lifting and lowering their feet for 3 seconds on a measurement board that counts the number of foot contacts during the specified time interval. Researchers concluded that both warm-ups that incorporated WBV resulted in significantly higher QFT scores than the traditional warm-up and the control.

These results suggest that implementing WBV may have beneficial effects on quick foot movements. This could provide advantages for sports in which footwork and agility is paramount, such as soccer and tennis. Sports professionals that might consider implementing WBV into the warm-ups of their athletes should also consider limitations in the current study. The authors do not define “feet quickness” nor explain what sports are considered “quick foot movement” sports. In addition, the QFT only tests for vertical movement of the feet and not movement in any other direction. Future research should explore the use of different tests to determine dose-response relationship with WBV warm-ups as well as the longevity of its benefits. Despite weaknesses in the current study, medical professionals should consider the potential benefits of adding WBV to their athletes’ warm-up protocols.

Questions for Discussion: What other tests can be performed to more effectively measure the benefits of WBV training? Is WBV feasible for all sports/is it readily available? What other tests could be done to make the results more sport specific?

Written by: Stuart McCrory
Reviewed by: Jane McDevitt

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Donahue RB, Vingren JL, Duplanty AA, Levitt DE, Luk HY, & Kraemer WJ (2016). Acute Effect of Whole-Body Vibration Warm-up on Footspeed Quickness. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30 (8), 2286-91 PMID: 27328378

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