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NEUROMUSCULAR MECHANICAL STIMULATION

NEUROMUSCULAR MECHANICAL STIMULATION

Neuromuscular Mechanical Stimulation (also known as Vibration training) is the latest scientific training approach for enhancing performance and speeding up recovery and rehabilitation. The method focuses on the maximization of stimuli to the neuromuscular system and bones, carefully dosed for each individual. Prof. Bosco was the first scientist to prove to expose that every person has his own muscle frequency. Because of this scientific finding he was able to design the most advanced and revolutionary training system, in this field, for sports and health to-date, the NEMES￾BOSCO System. His machine is designed to vibrate at the individually measured frequencies (Hz) of its users. This is accomplished through the internationally patented built-in electromyograph (EMG) measuring system.

Cardinale & Bosco, Ex Sport Sci Rev, 2003, 31:3-7

Vibration training has been successfully applied by numerous national teams, professional athletes and sport clubs, rehabilitation centers, health clubs and sports enthusiasts worldwide. Vibrations can stimulate the biological system of athletes in the same way as strength training or explosive training and this stimulation can be applied in a much shorter period of time as compared to the time needed to perform traditional training sessions.

It opens a new window in sports science and gives coaches and scientists new possibilities for studying and enhancing human performance. Although resistance training effectiveness has been demonstrated due to the possibility of enhancing neuromuscular performance, power output, strength and hormonal profile, however, the time needed for these adaptations to occur is relatively long as compared to the possibilities offered by vibration treatments. Vibration training is an exciting tool of sports science and certainly it can be viewed as the “Next Step” in exercise approach.

HOW DOES IT WORK

A mechanical vibration (10-200 Hz), applied to the muscle belly or tendon can elicit a reflex contraction (Hagbarth and Eklund, 1965). This response has been named “tonic vibration reflex” (TVR). It has been shown that the vibration-induced activation of muscle spindle receptors not only affects the muscle to which vibration is applied, but also affects the neighbouring muscles (Kasai et al. 1992).

The effect per pulsation is like that of the knee jerk reflex, which means activation of all muscles fibers (agonist and antagonists) in a way it does not exert any physical stress or load on the musculoskeletal system. It decreases the threshold of the type II muscle fibers, thus, they are recruited at the beginning of the desired motion and act together with the type I to achieve a tremendous change in the explosive power which mean a quick and strong desired motion.

  • This muscle activity can be measured by electromyography (EMG).

The improvement of the muscle performance after a short period of vibration training has been quoted (Bosco et al. 1998) to be similar to what occurs after several weeks of heavy resistance training (e.g. Coyle et al. 1981, Hakkinen and Komi 1985). In fact the improvement of the muscle functions after resistance training has been attributed to the enhancement of the neuromuscular behaviour caused by the increasing activity of the higher motor centre (Milner-Brownet al. 1975). The improvement of muscle performances induced by vibration training suggests that a neural adaptation has occurred in response to the vibration treatments. In this context, the duration of the stimulus seems to be both relevant and important. The adaptive response of human skeletal muscle to simulated hyper gravity conditions (1.1g) applied for only three weeks, caused a considerable improvement in the leg extensor muscle behaviour (Bosco 1985). Thus it is likely that both neural adaptation and the length of the stimulus seem to play an important role in the improvement of muscle performances (e.g. Bosco, 1985).

After the vibration training period the EMG activity was found to be rather lower or to be the same as compared to the pre-treatment conditions even if, during the vibration, period an increment of neural input to the muscle occurred. In this respect the decrease in the ratio between EMG and mechanical power (EMG/P) demonstrated that vibration training induced an improvement of the neuromuscular efficiency of the muscles involved in the vibration treatment. Vertical jumping ability has been shown to increase following vibration treatment (Bosco et al. 1998; Bosco et al 1999). These improvements have been attributed to an enhancement of neural activity in the leg extensor muscles, together with an enhancement of the proprioceptors’ feedback. During vibrations, the length of skeletal muscles changes slightly. The facilitation of the excitability of spinal reflexes has been shown to be elicited by vibrations applied to the quadriceps muscle (Burke et al. 1996).

Once again, the influence of vibrations on the neural drive of the la loop can play a crucial part in enhancing jumping performance following vibration treatments. Even if the adaptive responses of neuromuscular performance as measured by vertical jump tests cannot be fully explained, it is important to consider that the effectiveness of the stimulus can have both relevance and importance. The adaptive response of human skeletal muscle to simulated hyper gravity conditions (1.1g), applied for only three weeks, caused a drastic enhancement of the neuromuscular functions of the leg extensor muscles (Bosco 1985). The regular use of centrifugal force (2g) for 3 months has initiated conversion of muscle fibre type (Martin and Romond, 1975). In the experiments conducted, the total length of the WBV application period was not very long (from 7 minutes to 100 minutes), but the disturbance to the gravitational field was quite consistent (5.4g).

An equivalent length and intensity of training stimulus (100 minutes) can only be reached by performing 200 drop jumps from 60 cm, twice a week for 12 months. In fact, the time spent for each drop jump is less than 200 ms, and the acceleration developed can barely reach 3.0g (Bosco 1992). This means stimulating the muscles for 2 min per week for a total amount in one year of 108 minutes.

WHO BENEFIT

The benefits of using vibration training (I strongly suggest the NEMES BOSCO SYSTEM) in sports training is unique. Athletes and coaches of different sports such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and field, boxing, tennis, skiing, baseball and more will find new ways to improve skills such as speed, power, strength, flexibility etc.

Vibration training can be applied simultaneously with other training methods in every stage of the preparation.

Vibration training can be used in addition to the regular power training, or as a safe alternative to power training. It can also be used as a warming-up, to prepare for power training or in combination with technique training and/or speed-training. Sometimes, a problem area in top-sport can occur during training the explosive power, such as jumping power or throwing-power.The use of ‘brutal’ training intensities and high ‘peak’ loads is common. This could be with heavy power loads of hundreds of kilos of weights, plyometric loads or drop-jumps. These unfortunately often result in injuries. Some examples are foot injuries, “Achilles” tendon injuries, knee injuries (jumpers knee) or back complaints. Vibration training is the key solution in these conditions.

Another issue is that the muscles become stronger after many years of training, but not the passive movement apparatus, like tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. Certainly for athletes who have reached the limits of their physical limits, it is extremely difficult to find effective and safe training methods.

Vibration training, ofcourse at the proper intensity (remember the need of EMG test prior training application), allows the muscles to work very hard without overloading on the ligaments, tendons, joints and vertebra.

This is not only to the benefit of top athletes, but also for young athletes, who are not able to take on strength training because of growing problems e.g. Osgood-Schlatter or M. Scheuermann, both disorders in bone growth that often appear in the teen years.

 

Vibration training can be used in a number of ways:

  • Enhance speed, power or endurance
  • Supplementary to the normal power training
  • An alternative for power training, when there is injury or rehabilitation (for example: instead of power training, replace with vibration training)
  • In preparation for power training (for example: first vibration training, and afterwards power training)
  • In preparation for other types of training, such as technique training or speed training
  • In preparation for competitions, as a warming-up; during track and field events, we often see the sprinters jumping or hopping up and down before they take up their positions in the starting blocks
  • Cooling-down after training and contests, because of the positive effect on the blood circulation and the hormones, which helps the athlete to recover faster
  • In physiotherapy and rehabilitation programmes
  • To prevent “shin splits” and increase bone density in young athletes but also adults
  • Improve neurotransmission (essential for power related sports i.e. Athletics (sprints, throws, jumps), football, basket, volley, rugby, tennis etc)