Vibration training after pregnancy can be an effective alternative to conventional exercise. There are many benefits of participating in vibration plate training. However, there are several key points to remember prior to engaging in vibration exercise, let alone any form of exercise in general. This article outlines some of the key exercise principles after pregnancy, and provides recommendations for integrating vibration training after pregnancy.
I’ve had many patients of mine attend the rehabilitation facility post pregnancy to undergo vibration training. Our experience shows that there are several benefits to utilizing whole body vibration. The most clear benefits that I’ve seen is the increased compliance with exercise, a faster workout time, an earlier adoption of exercise than originally provided, and better outcomes in loss of fat and increased lean muscle. Although fat and weight loss appears to be the number one reason why women gain interest in vibration platforms, the other reasons are far more important in the overall care.
Research has shown that women are still about 11 pounds or more over their pre pregnancy weight at least 1 year after giving birth. This can be due to many factors, including watching TV, junk food, or remaining sedentary. In this day and age, this lack of weight loss is not only seen as an aesthetic issue, but one that affects overall health. There are many reasons for this weight gain. Adding vibration training to an exercise program has produced an increase in compliance to sticking to an exercise program.
Without generalizing, we’ve seen hesitancy to participate in an exercise program after pregnancy. There are several reasons, with lack of time to exercise and increased fatigue due to caring of the baby being seen as two such reasons. Vibration exercise can take 10 to 15 minutes, three times per week. The exercises are also generally low impact on the joints and low stress. All these factors contribute to an increase in compliance with the exercise program. We’ve seen similar compliance rates in a research study we did on vibration exercise and weight loss.
Several studies have shown the benefits of increased circulation after whole body vibration training. With conventional therapy principles, women are provided advice on maintaining movement in the legs. The goal to maintain circulation to prevent any formation of blood clots. In this early stage, utilizing vibration platform training distally can generate a significant amount of circulation. Initially, this can involve the placement of the feet or calves on a vibration platform while in a seated or lying down position. The main purpose is to generate an increase in circulation. We’ve seen many therapists begin to utilize this advantage of vibration training to implement very early exercise programs in those post surgery from hip and knee replacements, and in those with diabetic neuropathy.
With respect to integrating vibration training in a post natal program, there are several key points to consider:
Integrating vibration training into post natal fitness is similar to a general strength training program. Always get approval from your doctor on when you are able to begin a strengthening program.
The date of initial start of a strengthening program varies depending on whether the childbirth was natural or traumatic (Caesarean). A general strengthening program can begin any way up to 4 weeks after delivery. However, those with Caesarean can take up to 6 weeks.
The delay in strength training can be traced back to laxity in the ligaments and less stable joints due to the hormone relaxin. This however is one of the main benefits of vibration training. The ability to generate involuntary muscle contractions around a joint in a static exercise position leads to greater stability of that joint through the actions of the muscles. This allows us to address muscular imbalances much quicker when using vibration training.
General exercises such as Kegel, pelvic tilts, and bridging can begin much earlier after pregnancy. Core strengthening and retraining of the abdominal muscles is one of the most requested exercise goals. However, attention must be paid to the presence of diastasis (separation of 2 halves of your rectus abdominis, outer abs). Exercises need to be modified through a therapist or other health professional.
There is no such thing as ‘spot reducing’. One of the most effective strategies to achieve a general overall body toning plan is to utilize large body exercises such as the squat, chest press, deadlifts, and back row. However, ongoing fatigue and lack of time to exercise can limit the ability of most women after pregnancy to engage in this. Vibration exercise targets the larger muscle groups in a shorter period of time, thereby increasing compliance.
In summary, vibration training has many benefits, including increased circulation, decreasing exercise time, increasing exercise compliance and accelerating fitness gains through involuntary muscle contractions. The benefits of any form of exercise post pregnancy shows positive outcomes in increasing strength, decreasing fatigue and preventing the retention of weight gain. Vibration training is just another form of strength training exercise that allows for one to achieve many of these health benefits in less time. At a time when it’s the most difficult to get women to exercise and a time when it’s the most important that they do, vibration training after pregnancy is seen as an integral part of an overall health solution.
Dr. Jasper Sidhu has been using vibration platforms for over 10 years in rehabilitation, sports, fitness and weight loss settings. In addition to hands on treatment of patients and clients in these settings, he has lectured at various universities and medical association meetings on the application of vibration training.