I was able to score a Soloflex Whole Body Vibration (WBV) contraption from a client whose husband had been impressed by Soloflex’s fantastic claims with regard to what their vibrating platform could do. After using the WBV for a couple of weeks, he abandoned the platform and it had been collecting dust in the garage. As my client was complaining one day about how he wasted his money on two – two! - of these things and wasn’t using either of them, I pounced and asked if I could borrow one.
Of course, she said yes.
Let’s start by talking about the platform itself. The WBV’s dimensions are similar to those of the old school Reebok step-up platforms that hit the scene in the 80s – though not as high off of the ground - and are smaller than I would have imagined. From the images in the manual you get the impression that the platform is bigger than it actually is. With my size 9.5 feet, my shoes are longer than the platform is wide, so when I stand on the device my feet hang off in front and in back. The length is also on the short side, so anyone that’s over 5’ 8” won’t be able to perform a proper lunge, or many other of the recommended moves, on the platform.
Speaking of the manual, it is a tribute to misinformation. On the front page the Soloflex folks provide us with a lesson in “over-extrapolation” when they tell us that, “Gravity is acceleration. Gravity can be induced by resisting a load (e.g. lifting weights), and now, by mechanical means (WBV). That means you can stand still on a WBV Platform and get a good workout.” Stand still and get a good workout? Research certainly does not back up this statement.
The back page – under the bold heading “It works for doggies, too,” - the manual tells us that, “The Soloflex WBV Platform ($495) along with static exercise, works like a moderate weightlifting program.” Taking into account the results of recent research, it’s being kind to say that this statement is a stretch. Unless of course Soloflex is referring to dogs lifting weights versus standing, or sitting, on the platform.
On the inside of the manual it says, “Just standing on a WBV platform will make you sweat.” I can tell you flat out that I stood on this platform for 10 minutes and did not break a sweat. In contrast, when I perform dynamic flexibility exercises I start sweating at around the 4-minute mark, as do my clients.