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If Used Properly, Vibration Plates May Trim Belly Fat and Spur Weight Loss, Study Says

May 11, 2009 -- If used properly, vibration plate machines may help overweight or obese people trim their belly fat and achieve long-term weight loss.

A new study shows that obese women who followed a weight loss diet and regularly used the vibration plate machines were more successful at long-term weight loss and losing hard-to-trim belly fat than those who combined dieting with a more conventional exercise routine.

“These are very encouraging results, but it doesn’t mean people trying to lose weight can ditch aerobic exercise and jump on the vibration plate instead. They still need a healthy diet and aerobic exercise, but this could be a viable alternative to weightlifting,” researcher Dirk Vissers, a physiotherapist at the Artesis University College and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, says in a news release.

Researchers say the machines are becoming increasingly common in gyms and have gained a devoted following, but until now there has not been any evidence that they help with weight loss.

Vibrating Fights Fat

In the study, researchers looked at the effects of using vibration plate machines in combination with a calorie-reduced diet in achieving weight loss in 61 obese or overweight adults, mostly women.

The participants were divided into four groups: diet alone, diet plus vibration plate exercise program, diet plus conventional exercise program of cycling, swimming, running, and other activities, and a control group that did nothing.

The vibration plate training consisted of physical therapist-supervised exercises performed on the machines, such as squats, lunges, calf raises, push-ups, and abdominal crunches. The duration of the exercises gradually intensified from 30 seconds for each of 10 exercises to 60 seconds for each of 22 exercises.

Each group followed its program for six months and was then asked to continue on its own with diet and exercise for another six months. Besides monitoring participants' weight, deep belly fat was measured by abdominal CT scans during the study period.

“Over the year, only the conventional fitness and vibration groups managed to maintain a 5% weight loss, which is what is considered enough to improve health,” Vissers says.

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