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Human physiological and biomechanical responses to vibration exercise

Human physiological and biomechanical responses to vibration exercise

Robbins, Daniel (2013) Human physiological and biomechanical responses to vibration exercise. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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The role of vibration in exercise is controversial, with much debate about its potential benefits. The aim of the research reported in this PhD thesis was to inform evidence based practice by investigating the underlying responses of the human body during exercise with vibration. Human neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems were investigated using 3D motion analysis, near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS), laser Doppler blood flow analysis and electromyography (EMG).

Analysis of a prototype vibrating stationary cycle identified significant increases in muscle activation. However, the validity of the results was limited by a confounding issue of increasing resistance with increasing cadence due to the cycle’s vibration mechanism. Consistency of exercise performance on vibration platforms was measured by 3D analysis; vibration did not affect the kinematic parameters of exercises such as heel raises or press ups, even though significant physiological changes occurred. NIRS indicated a significant reduction in the depletion of oxygenated haemoglobin, total haemoglobin and the normalised tissue haemoglobin index of the lateral gastrocnemius in heel raise exercises. During quiet standing laser Doppler measurements of the dorsalis pedis artery indicated that the NIRS results were not a consequence of vasospastic responses or increased resistance to blood flow in response to vibration. Whilst heart rate and blood pressure remained constant, blood flow velocity significantly increased, suggesting the peripheral changes occurred independently of central cardiovascular function.

Heel raise exercises with whole body vibration showed significant increases in muscle activation of the soleus, but not the gastrocnemius, indicating varied muscular responses to vibration. The influence of blood flow and tissue oxygenation on EMG parameters was demonstrated via the protection of muscle conduction velocity during static squats, despite a downward shift in median frequency of the EMG power spectra.

Analysis of upper body muscles during press ups yielded significant increases in muscle activation, equivalent to increasing the load of the bench press by 10% of the one repetition maximum. The results indicate that vibration influenced the dynamic muscles more than stabiliser muscles; reinforcing the lower body studies showing that vibration has a varied influence on muscle function. The aforementioned results demonstrate the ability of vibration to augment the effects of exercise on the muscular and vascular physiological systems of the human body.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: human neuromuscular system, cardiovascular systems, vibration, exercise
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Science
School of Science > Department of Pharmaceutical, Chemical & Environmental Sciences
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2017 15:44

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