Experimental evidence of the tonic vibration reflex during whole-body vibration of the loaded and unloaded leg

PloS One
Lisa N ZaidellJoanna L Bowtell


Increased muscle activation during whole-body vibration (WBV) is mainly ascribed to a complex spinal and supraspinal neurophysiological mechanism termed the tonic vibration reflex (TVR). However, TVR has not been experimentally demonstrated during low-frequency WBV, therefore this investigation aimed to determine the expression of TVR during WBV. Whilst seated, eight healthy males were exposed to either vertical WBV applied to the leg via the plantar-surface of the foot, or Achilles tendon vibration (ATV) at 25 Hz and 50 Hz for 70s. Ankle plantar-flexion force, tri-axial accelerations at the shank and vibration source, and surface EMG activity of m. soleus (SOL) and m. tibialis anterior (TA) were recorded from the unloaded and passively loaded leg to simulate body mass supported during standing. Plantar flexion force was similarly augmented by WBV and ATV and increased over time in a load- and frequency dependent fashion. SOL and TA EMG amplitudes increased over time in all conditions independently of vibration mode. 50 Hz WBV and ATV resulted in greater muscle activation than 25 Hz in SOL when the shank was loaded and in TA when the shank was unloaded despite the greater transmission of vertical acceleration from source to sha...Continue Reading


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