Summary

There are two predominant types of vibration platform used in Whole Body Vibration exercise. The first type is Pivotal, an attempt to compete with the successful Pivotal platform gave rise to the second type which is Lineal. Hypervibe machines use a Pivotal platform.

Both kinds of platform have been used extensively in scientific research which has unveiled a number of distinct differences between the two platform types. Most notably:

  • PIVOTAL REDUCES RISK OF NEGATIVE EFFECTS CAUSED BY HEAD VIBRATION
  • PIVOTAL HAS MORE PROVEN BENEFITS
  • PIVOTAL STRETCHES MUSCLE SIGNIFICANTLY
  • PIVOTAL CREATES MORE G-FORCE AT OPTIMAL FREQUENCIES FOR THE STRETCH REFLEX

A Hypervibe machine is an affordable Pivotal vibration machine with the independently verified ability to generate over 17G of G-force at 28Hz.

Pivotal and Lineal, What's The Difference?

Pivotal whole body vibration

Pivotal

In Pivotal vibration machines, the platform you stand on tilts around a central pivot point like a see-saw. The left and right sides alternate up and down while the centre remains fixed.

You can change the amplitude or distance your feet move up and down by moving them either closer or further away from the centre. Typically, high quality Pivotal vibration machines have a total peak-to-peak Amplitude of 10mm or more at the platform's widest point. German-made Pivotal vibration machines were the first to be used commercially and be validated scientifically.

lineal whole body vibration

Lineal

In an attempt to compete with the successful German vibration platforms, a Dutch company created a vibration machine with a new kind of platform movement called Lineal.

A Lineal vibration platform remains horizontal at all times with the entire platform moving up and down by the same amount. Lineal vibration platforms typically have very small peak-to-peak Amplitudes ranging from 1 to 5mm.

At the time, the exact mechanism of how Whole Body Vibration works was largely unknown. Lineal vibration machines soon joined Pivotal vibration machines in scientific experiments aimed at uncovering what was causing the benefits Pivotal Whole Body Vibration exercise had already become famous for.

To date, Pivotal vibration machines maintain a prominence in research with more research-proven benefits than Lineal vibration machines.

More Muscle Stimulation, Less Head Vibration

A major advantage of Pivotal platforms is that they raise one leg at a time. As one leg goes up the pelvis tilts and the other leg goes down. This side-to-side rocking of the pelvis and lumbar spine causes most of the vibration energy to be absorbed by the time it reaches the rib cage which keeps any head movement to a minimum. Lineal platforms on the other hand move the whole body up and down including the head.

Without professional instruction, many users who try Lineal Whole Body Vibration machines report an unpleasant vibration occurring in the head.

"Lineal Caused 189% More Head Vibration"

In 2007, research funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute compared the effects of exercising on a Lineal machine with the same exercises performed on a Pivotal machine.

They found that in all the body postures they tested: "transmission of vibration to the head was 71 to 189% greater during vertical (Lineal) than rotational (Pivotal) vibration." and that "rotational (Pivotal) vibration has the lowest risk of negative side effects."

Abercromby, A., et al. Vibration Exposure and Biodynamic Responses During Whole Body Vibration Training.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Oct;39(10):1794-800.

While some Lineal manufacturers claim that head vibration caused by their machines is "nothing to worry about", scientific researchers* have found the following negative effects caused by low magnitude Lineal vibration:

  • reduced visual-motor tracking ability (difficulty following moving objects)
  • reduced visual acuity (vision becomes blurry)

*Yao, Y., et al. Effects of whole-body vibration on human tracking performance and visual-motor reaction.
Space Med. Med. Eng. (Beijing) 1998 11:56-59.

Ask If It Uses Lineal or Pivotal Vibration Before You Try

Some who experience unpleasant sensations or are sensitive to head vibration, when first trying a machine may dismiss Whole Body Vibration as being "not for them" without realising that they are actually using a Lineal vibration machine.

If that's you, compare your experience with what you feel when trying a Pivotal machine such as a Hypervibe. The alternating tilting of the pelvis in Pivotal vibration is the same natural movement that occurs during walking and is scientifically proven to reduce these kinds of unpleasant effects.

Pivotal or Lineal, Which Would You Choose?

nasa tested both platform types

NASA Put Both Platforms To The Test; Which Produced Greater Muscle Activity?

In a 2006 study conducted by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) a leading Lineal and leading Pivotal machine were both used in the same muscle performance experiment and the results of each compared.

According to the researchers, the conditions for each platform were the same:

  • Same Frequency (30Hz)
  • Same Amplitude (4mm)
  • Same test subjects
  • Same exercises

The result:

"[Muscle] responses were significantly greater during rotational vibration (Pivotal) than vertical vibration (Lineal)."

In addition to allowing pelvic rotation another benefit that is unique to Pivotal machines is their ability to use larger vibration amplitudes resulting in more acceleration. Learn more about acceleration.

Pivotal Stretches Muscle

Research conducted at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, New Zealand in 2006 proved that even at low output (6Hz + 3mm peak-to-peak amplitude) Pivotal Whole Body Vibration exercise causes stretching of the muscle that is associated with an immediate increase in electrical muscle activity.

To date this effect has not been demonstrated with Lineal Whole Body Vibration exercise.