Just recently, I struggled to hold a squat during what felt like an electric earthquake. Leave aside the burn of the pose, my main problem was the way my brain seemed to rattle and my ears seemed to buzz!
I stood on a Powerplate machine, a vibration exercise platform that was developed in the 60’s for the Soviet space program as a method to preserve muscle mass and bone density in astronauts. The vibrating exercise machine resembling the doctor’s scale on steroids has undergone a recent renaissance. It is marketed as an effective way to intensify workouts and is glamorized by some of the most famous Hollywood stars.
Power Plate basically is a brand that uses a vibrating platform in exercise equipment. The power plate machine consists of a vibrating base which vibrates up and down. It is big enough to accommodate an individual in the deep squat position. Conventional exercises like push-ups and squats are done on the vibrating base. People do a series of exercises from 30 seconds to one minute each, with rests of a similar duration.
A physical therapist came across the technology in rehabilitation centers and beauty salons in Europe and brought the power plate workout machines to New York in 2007. He opened a vibration studio and each exercise class centered on the power plate exercises and often incorporated free weights. The session is only 25 minutes long and limited to 4 participants with a personal trainer. After a round of squats, the group performs push-ups, calf raises, and plank-position holds at intervals of 45 seconds, with the miniature black-and-silver platforms furiously wriggling beneath.
The workout is an intense 25 minutes, but makes you feel like you worked out for about an hour and a half. According to an exercise physiologist, using the machines is like running a jackhammer. The high-frequency vibration affects the nervous system. However, the technology is best used to supplement an already existing exercise regimen and must not exceed 30 minutes, a couple of days in a week.
Although power plate exercises are a quick, safe and effective way to lose weight and stay fit, the overuse of such machines includes the possibility of harm to internal organs in the body. According to the chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise, the high-frequency vibration, if used in excess, could upset the digestive tract. Hence, doing these exercises in limits and under expert supervision is important.
The vibration from these machines stimulates the stretch reflex in the body and makes the muscles contract rapidly. The muscles do work much harder. There are incremental advantages of working out longer with vibration technology, but with a small margin. The machines are really fantastic for professional athletes or people looking for positive results from their workout routines.
You have to exercise regularly on the plate in order to get tighter abs, nicely shaped arms or firmer thighs. The good news is that due to the high intensity of these vibrating machines, you can achieve amazing results super fast. The best way to exercise is by increasing the frequency gradually. Beginners should start with nine minutes of the resistance program, followed by 9 minutes of stretching, massage and relaxation, both on lower frequency as well as on amplitude settings.