Platform accelerations of three different whole-body vibration devices and the transmission of vertical vibrations to the lower limbs
Physical whole-body vibration (WBV) exercises become available at various levels of intensity. In a first series of measurements, we investigated 3-dimensional platform accelerations of three different WBV devices without and with three volunteers of different weight (62, 81 and 100 kg) in squat position (150° knee flexion). The devices tested were two professional devices, the PowerPlate and the Galileo-Fitness, and one home-use device, the PowerMaxx. In a second series of measurements, the transmission of vertical platform accelerations of each device to the lower limbs was tested in eight healthy volunteers in squat position (100° knee flexion). The first series showed that the platforms of two professional devices vibrated in an almost perfect vertical sine wave at frequencies between 25-50 and 5-40 Hz, respectively. The platform accelerations were slightly influenced by body weight. The PowerMaxx platform mainly vibrated in the horizontal plane at frequencies between 22 and 32 Hz, with minimal accelerations in the vertical direction. The weight of the volunteers reduced the platform accelerations in the horizontal plane but amplified those in the vertical direction about eight times. The vertical accelerations were highest in the Galileo (∼15 units of g) and the PowerPlate (∼8 units of g) and lowest in the PowerMaxx (∼2 units of g). The second series showed that the transmission of vertical accelerations at a common preset vibration frequency of 25 Hz were largest in the ankle and that transmission of acceleration reduced ∼10 times at the knee and hip. We conclude that large variation in 3-dimensional accelerations exist in commercially available devices. The results suggest that these differences in mechanical behaviour induce variations in transmissibility of vertical vibrations to the (lower) body.