Abstract The biodynamic response of human body seated without a back support and exposed to vertical whole-body vibration have been standardized in ISO 5982 and DIN 45676 in terms of driving-point mechanical impedance and apparent mass. A comparison of ranges defined in two standards, however, reveal considerable differences in both the magnitude and phase. Greater differences are more evident for the three body mass groups, which suggests the lack of adequate reference values of biodynamic responses of seated human subjects of different body masses. In this experimental study, the biodynamic responses of seated humans within three different body mass ranges are characterized under different magnitudes of vibration and three different sitting postures in an attempt to define reference values of apparent mass for applications in mechanical-equivalent model development and anthropodynamic manikin design. Laboratory measurements were performed with adult male subjects of total body mass in the vicinity of 55, 75 and 98 kg (nine subjects for each mass group) seated with and without an inclined back support and exposed to three different magnitudes of white-noise vertical vibration (0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 m/s 2 unweighted rms acceleration) in the frequency range between 0.5 and 20 Hz. The measured data were analyzed to derive the mean magnitude and phase responses for the three body masses, posture and excitation conditions. The mean magnitude responses of subjects within three mass groups were compared with idealized ranges defined in ISO 5982 and mean values described in DIN 45676 for no back support condition. The results revealed significant differences between the mean measured and standardized magnitudes, suggesting that the current standardized values do not describe the biodynamic responses of seated occupant of different masses even for the back not supported condition. The mean measured responses revealed most important effect of body mass, irrespective of the sitting posture. The reference values of apparent mass responses of seated body subject to vertical whole-body vibration are thus defined for three mass groups and different back support conditions that may be considered applicable for ranges of excitations considered. The responses of the body seated without a back support, also revealed notable influences of excitation magnitude, particularly on the primary peak frequencies.