International Journal of Exercise Science 13(3): 140-156, 2020. Frailty is a geriatric syndrome characterized by diminished muscle strength, endurance, and weakened physical function. Physical frailty is often unaddressed clinically as it tends to manifest among chronic illnesses and sarcopenia, and consensus criteria for frailty diagnosis remains elusive. Whole-body vibration training (WBVT) has been used to improve deficits in lower body muscular strength and functional performance in healthy and high functioning older adults; therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of WBVT on physical frailty in skilled nursing home residents. This study compared the effects of 12 wks (2x/wk) of WBVT (n = 10) to standard care, which served as the control (CON: n = 10), on isometric knee extension strength (KE), body composition, and functional performance in 20 (16 female) pre-frail and frail skilled nursing home residents (82 ± 5 yrs). Frailty was assessed using the FRAIL scale and function was measured using the short physical performance battery (SPPB). WBVT consisted of 4 lower body exercises (partial squat, narrow squat, wide squat, calf raise) during vertical vibration (25 - 40 Hz). Data were analyzed using two-way ANOVA (group x time) and post-hoc paired and independent t-tests. Significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. There were significant group-by-time interactions for KE and SPPB. Post-hoc paired t-tests revealed that WBVT improved KE (22.3 ± 4.0 to 29.0 ± 4.5 kg) and improvement in SPPB performance approached significance (4.5 ± 2.3 to 5.2 ± 2.1 units, p = 0.089). WBVT was well tolerated and occurred without adverse health complications. WBVT can be used to counteract losses in leg strength without adverse health complications in skilled nursing home residents.

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