In the last instalment of research reviews on the battling ropes, we are going to look at a study which looked at the effects of battling rope training has on muscle activity, when combined with whole body vibration. Vibration plates and more recently vibration foam rollers are now common place in many fitness training environments, looking at this study can help the functional training coach or instructor make informed decisions regarding how effective whole body vibration training may be with other functional training tools such as the battling ropes.
The addition of synchronous whole-body vibration to battling rope exercise increases skeletal muscle activity
Why they did it: 28 recreationally active university students performed a series of battling rope exercises in combination with either high (50 Hz) or low (30 Hz) whole body vibration stimuli.
What they measured: Muscle activity of the calves, quadriceps, core muscles, and arm muscles. Average and peak heart rate was also recorded.
How they did it: The participants in this study performed one 20-second set of either single or double-handed waves on the vibration plate at either a high or low vibration frequency.
What they found: The researchers observed an increase in calve, quadricep, trunk and arm muscle activity when the battling rope exercises where performed on the vibration plate. Additionally, the researchers also observed muscle activity was greater when the participants were exposed to higher vibration (50 Hz) frequencies. Heart rates reached approximately 65% of the APMHR.
What does this mean: Adding whole body vibration to common battling rope exercises can increase the muscle activity in the legs, trunk and arm muscles. This may be beneficial for the client who is no longer their health and fitness measures. For example, for experienced clients who continue to train with functional training tools such as the battling ropes, this additional stimulus may help increase the amount of calories being expedited within a session; which may then translate into further weight loss. In addition, increased muscle activity may also improve measures of strength and muscular endurance.
Reference: Marín, P. J., García-Gutiérrez, M. T., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M. E., & Hazell, T. J. (2015). The addition of synchronous whole-body vibration to battling rope exercise increases skeletal muscle activity. Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions, 15(3), 240.