How Whole Body Vibration works?

There are two main types of whole body vibration machines:

  • Linear or tri-planar vibration.

  • Oscillating (pivotal) or Triangular Oscillation System (T.O.S.), used by the machines I have.img2

Linear / Piston/ Tri-Planar

While many whole body vibration machine companies claim their platforms move in “three dimensions”, these are still linear machines.

A linear vibration machine imitates a jump reflex in the user.  The muscles on both sides of the body are contracted at the same time resulting in a very high impact on the body – up to 6X (or 600%) the body weight of the user.  Repeating this sort of impact makes certain postures on the platform unsuitable, and those with joint or spine issues typically find this muscle contraction uncomfortable or painful.  Also, under a linear pattern of movement not all muscles are engaged – it is mainly the larger muscles of the body, so you’re not getting the all-over body conditioning that will bring you the results you want.

Linear vibration training is effective for improving “jump height”, which is why it’s popular with football and basketball teams. However, as a non-sports professional, you’ll likely find more benefits from oscillating/pivotal vibration training.

Oscillating / Pivotal/ T.O.S.

Oscillating machines can support more weight, have a smaller impact on the body, are easier on the organs, and can keep the spine more supple and loose.

Oscillating/pivotal vibration makes a lot more sense, too.  Your body is designed around your spinal column.  When you walk, you have to balance your weight from left to right like a see-saw.  When using an oscillatory vibration machine, the affected muscles contract alternately, much like when you’re walking, so the same muscles on both sides of the body are never engaged at the same time.  A side-alternating vibration is an extremely important component to improving balance too.

The Triangular Oscillating System (T.O.S.) creates a pleasant rocking motion that causes the brain to tell the muscles of the body to actively contract to maintain equilibrium (balance), creating a therapeutic, muscle-toning and strengthening workout.  This unique system provides all the benefits of whole body vibration with minimal risk of damage to the joints and tendons, making it a safe and efficient source of exercise, wellness, and therapy regardless of your age.

While both systems create an involuntary stretch reflex in the muscles, the oscillatory vibration offers safety advantages that linear vibration training cannot achieve, even from a simple standing posture.  You’ll find oscillating platforms far more comfortable than vertical vibration platforms, too.

When people first step off they frequently report feeling lighter.  This is a result of their standing weight being distributed throughout a larger area of the spine, and also in greater balance over their left and right side.  A Spinal Analysis Machine used by chiropractors and other practitioners for postural exams involves twin scales that show the difference in weight distribution between the right and left sides of the body.  Incredibly, spending just a few minutes on Triangular Oscillating System Machines can help reduce imbalance in standing weight by up to 100%


  • Muscles are alternately activated, causing immediate engagement of core muscles and toning of your abs.
  • A natural movement pattern similar to walking improves your posture and balance because walking also activates alternate muscles on either side of the body, never the same muscles on right and left sides at the same time.
  • Reduced head vibrations: oscillatory vibrations are dampened in the core abdominal region, while vertical vibrations from linear machines exit via your head leading to discomfort, disorientation and nausea.
  • You can adjust the amplitude, or the motion of the machine, by simply moving your feet closer or further apart. There’s no way to control this on a vertical/linear vibration plate.
  • Because the oscillating vibration involves the pelvis, it allows for greater intensity without the wear and tear on your joints.
  • The load (impact on the joints and tendons) generated by oscillating machines is lower on your body than the load from walking.
  • Your neuro-muscular system is trained to fire muscles through an alternating criss-cross pattern just like you do in natural exercise, leading to an increased state of fitness.
  • Independent research has shown that the oscillating motion is the safest and most effective method of whole body vibration exercise.

What is the “Load” with Whole Body Vibration Machines?

With linear vibration the load pressure, or impact on joints, tendons, and organs, is very high- up to 600% of your body weight, depending on the equipment and your posture. Anyone with joint or spine issues will typically find this movement pattern uncomfortable and even painful, as will many others without joint or spine issues.

The oscillating vibrations alternate the sequence on your muscles, meaning that the impact on the body during training is approximately +30% of your body weight.  This is a far less impact compared to running, jumping, climbing steps – even walking!   In fact, a +30% load has been measured as being somewhere between what is incurred during normal walking and standing still.  The oscillating vibrations are especially friendly to the elderly and people with disabilities. They create a gentle (but plenty intense if you’re up for it!) rocking motion rather than a jarring up and down movement.  This reduces the impact the vibration exercise has on your joints, ligaments, and organs, making it much safer and more comfortable than linear vibration machines.