The resonance frequencies in frequency response functions of the human body (e.g. apparent mass and transmissibility) decrease with increasing vibration magnitude. This nonlinear biodynamic response is found with various sitting and standing postures requiring postural control. The present study measured the apparent mass of the body in a relaxed semisupine posture with two types of longitudinal horizontal vibration (in the z-axis of the semi-supine body): (i) continuous random excitation (0.25–20 Hz) at five magnitudes (0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1.0 ms�2 rms); (ii) intermittent random excitation (0.25–20 Hz) alternately at 0.25 and 1.0 ms�2 rms. With continuous random vibration, the dominant primary resonance frequency in the median normalised apparent mass decreased from 3.7 to 2.4 Hz as the vibration magnitude increased from 0.125 to 1.0 ms�2 rms. A nonlinear response was apparent in both the horizontal (z-axis) apparent mass and the vertical (x-axis) cross-axis apparent mass. With intermittent random vibration, as the vibration magnitude increased from 0.25 to 1.0 ms�2 rms, the median resonance frequency of the apparent mass decreased from 3.2 to 2.5 Hz whereas, with continuous random vibration over the same range of magnitudes, the resonance frequency decreased from 3.4 to 2.4 Hz. The median change in the resonance frequency (between 0.25 and 1.0 ms�2 rms) was 0.6 Hz with the intermittent random vibration and 0.9 Hz with the continuous random vibration. With intermittent vibration, the resonance frequency was higher at the high magnitude and lower at the low magnitude than with continuous vibration at the same magnitudes. The responses were consistent with passive thixotropy being a primary cause of nonlinear biodynamic responses to wholebody vibration, although reflex activity of the muscles may also have an influence.