Purpose: Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a new nonpharmacological approach to counteract osteoporosis. However, the specific vibration protocol to most effectively reduce osteoporotic risk has not been reported. In the ELVIS II (Erlangen Longitudinal Vibration Study II) trial, we determined the effect of different WBV devices on bone mineral density (BMD) and neuromuscular performance.
Methods: A total of 108 postmenopausal women (65.8 ± 3.5 yr) were randomly allocated to 1) rotational vibration training (RVT), i.e., 12.5 Hz, 12 mm, three sessions per week, for 15 min, including dynamic squat exercises; 2) vertical vibration training (VVT), i.e., 35 Hz, 1.7 mm, as above; and 3) a wellness control group (CG), i.e., two blocks of 10 low-intensity gymnastics sessions. BMD was measured at the hip and lumbar spine at baseline and after 12 months of training using dual-energy x-ray absorptiomety. Maximum isometric leg extension strength and leg power were determined using force plates.
Results: A BMD gain at the lumbar spine was observed in both vibration VT groups (RVT = +0.7% ± 2.2%, VVT = +0.5% ± 2.0%), which was significant compared with the CG value (−0.4% ± 2.0%) for RVT (P = 0.04) and borderline nonsignificant for VVT (P = 0.08). In the neck region, no significant treatment effect occurred. Neck BMD values tended to increase in both VT groups (RVT = +0.3% ± 2.7%, VVT = +1.1% ± 3.4%) and remained stable in CG (−0.0% ± 2.1%).
Both VT groups gained maximum leg strength (RVT = +27% ± 22%, VVT = +24% ± 34%) compared with CG (+6% ± 20%, P = 0.000), whereas power measurements did not reach the level of significance (P = 0.1).
Conclusions: WBV training is effective for reducing the risk for osteoporosis by increasing lumbar BMD and leg strength.