Do Vibrating Exercise Machines Work ?

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Last updated on September 5, 2022

The concept of vibration exercise to lose weight has been with us for a long time. Back in the early 1970s it was,in fact, one of the main ways to exercise to supposedly get rid of fat around the butt and hips. You may have seen footage of people standing on strange looking machines with a vibrating belt around their backside and smiled at how silly it all was. Vibrating machines have survived, though, with the modern day version quite different to those early versions.


But do they actually work?

What is a Vibration Machine?

A vibration machine is a contraption designed to melt away body fat through a fast, repeated jiggling motion. The old machines were bulky and cumbersome, consisting of a platform that you stood upon and a thick vibrating belt that you strapped around your rear end. There were also rails that you held onto for support.


All you had to do was stand there and endure the shaking and vibration as the machine did its magic and the fat, supposedly, melted away.


The Evolution of the Vibrating Exercise Machine


The vibration machine fell out of favor in the 1980s and resurfaced in the 90’s in a more streamlined form. Now they consisted of actual belts, a similar thickness to a weightlifting belt, that you actually wore around your middle. These belts would vibrate through electrical stimulation as you sat and did nothing. This was supposed to flex, contract and stimulate your core, especially your abdominals with the result that fat was lost from the belly area.


Vibration machines also got a new name in the 1990s. They were now called abdominal toning belts. Over recent years, however, the abdominal belt has grown up. More correctly known as the electro muscle stimulator (EMS), the device has become more streamlined, more technically advanced and more user friendly. While there are still plenty of low quality ab belts out there, it is possible to now find abdominal belts that really do work.


An example of an effective EMS abdominal belt is the TENS 7000. This stylish electrical muscle stimulator will give your abdominals and obliques the workout of their lives, strengthening and toning them, even while you’re watching TV.


Under the general umbrella of ab belts also sits what are commonly known as waist trimmers. Waist trimmers do not involve electrical muscle stimulation. Rather, they are a back support which also acts as a sweat belt to aid with weight loss and water retention in the abdominal area.

Do They Get Rid of Fat?


The reason that most people buy vibrating exercises devices is to lose body fat, mainly from around the waist and belly. That, however, is something that they cannot do. To lose body fat you need to achieve a negative calorie balance where you are burning off more calories each day than you are taking in. That should occur through a combination of reduced caloric intake and exercise to burn calories.


It should also be noted that you cannot spot reduce body fat from an area of your body. In other words, you cannot place a vibrating exercise machine on your stomach and expect to lose fat specifically from your stomach area. When the body loses weight it comes off uniformly from all over the body, not one targeted spot.


The question we need to ask, then, is whether the vibrating exercise machine does a good job of burning calories. The answer is no. The thousands of electrical impulses that are generated by an EMS machine will contract your abdominal muscles, but it will challenge your cardiovascular system. As a result, there will be very little in the way of calorie consumption. So, you will not be able to lose much weight at all, especially around the stomach area, when you use a vibrating exercise machine.


What a high quality EMS machine will do is to strengthen and build the abdominal muscles, even the abs do not have much development potential. In order to be able to see your abs, though, you will have to do calorie burning cardio exercise.


The best choices to burn the most calories are the air bike, rowing machine and treadmill. Use these machines to perform high intensity interval training 3-4 times per week in conjunction with a daily 500 calories reduction of food and you should achieve a weekly weight loss of 1-2 pounds.

You may also want to read 5 Best Exercises to Do at Home to Lose Weight Fast without Equipment.

The Bottom Line on Vibrating Exercise Machine

So far in this article we have established the following …


  • Vibrating machines do not burn body fat
  • Vibrating machines do help to strengthen and develop the abs

Of course, the marketers will loudly proclaim that these machines do both of these things to an amazing degree. That is a load of rubbish. So, provided that you go in with your eyes wide open, you can benefit from these machines.


What About Vibrating Foam Rollers?

A vibrating foam roller adds the element of vibration to the cylindrical foam roller concept. It combines the effects of self myofascial release, compression and vibration to relieve sore muscles.. You will find different vibrating foam rollers at different frequencies, with the ideal appearing to be around 33 Hz. Most vibrating foam rollers on the market (there aren’t that many of them yet) allow you to choose your vibration setting between low, medium and high.

While the recent advent of foam vibration rollers hasn’t provided enough time for any serious scientific investigation, the benefits of muscle vibration are well documented. Vibration relaxes tense muscles, which makes it a useful tool both before and after your workout. It can also take away a measure of the initial stinging pain that some people get with myofascial release.

Vibration foam rolling softens the fascia that surrounds muscle fiber (fascia is a bit like cling film). When the fascia becomes hard, the muscles ability to move freely is impeded. Fascia is covered by a fluid known as  ground substance. When you don’t move your muscles this fluid becomes thick. The actions of a foam roller will soften ground substance, allowing you to move more freely.

Using a vibrating foam roller will also knead and massage muscle tissue to help alleviate areas where inflammation and tension build up to create trigger points. Vibrating massage will also help to relieve delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

You maybe also interested in best way to lose butt and thigh fat.



The best Ab Belts have the ability to strengthen and tone the rectus abdominis, along with the external and internal obliques without the need for crunches, sit ups or, in fact, any other movement exercises. They will not, however, remove body fat from your waist, which is the key to revealing your abdominals. To achieve that you will have to start following a clean eating pattern, restrict your caloric intake and do whole body cardiovascular exercise. Then you will be able to showcase the rocklike abdominal wall that your ab belt has helped you to create.

About the author  Steve

Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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