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The Power of the Power Plate: Does it actually work?

Training Aspects, Sports Coach, Sports Performance, Fitness, Fitness Coach, Athletes, South Jersey, Training, Weight Training, Fitness Training

The power plate: Vibration technology

Voorhees personal training Power plate

The power plate, a vibrating plate, which many assume is a gimmick! A machine that looks like a doctor scale on steroids, you stand on it and it stimulates your muscles? That’s right! The problem is not with the technology, but the way it has been used in the past. Many, think of the shake weight, “Hold this! and you’ll get a workout!”. The science behind the power plate goes much further, as well as the range of exercises that come with the power plate. Let’s go through the facts!

History of the Power Plate: Weight loss and decreased bone density

Vibration therapy can, interestingly enough, be dated back to Greece (everything dates back to Greece, amazing). This idea was first developed by the Soviet Union cosmonauts. There is minimal gravitational force in space, muscles and bones are not loaded (if you don’t use your muscles, you lose your muscles and in space you don’t use your muscles) as they normally are on earth. Cosmonauts in space lose their muscular strength very quickly (muscle atrophy).  The decrease of bone density increases the risk of bone fractures, so it was not safe to stay in space for extended periods of time. As a result, they were forced to return to earth quickly. Whole body vibration true potential was uncovered by Russian scientist Vladimir Nazarov, found a successful way to combat this—so successful, in fact, that their cosmonauts were able to endure an average of 400 consecutive days in space, compared to 130 days for American astronauts. The Soviets discovered the secret of how to make gravity work for them.

The power plate and vibration technology: Force= Mass * Acceleration

Stay with me! We’ll keep it simple. There is a simple principal in training which any good trainer follows, the principal of overload. To see results you must stimulate your muscles, bones, neurological system, etc. Each workout should be a challenge! To make it a challenge you have to increase the force output from your body. Sir Issac Newton’s second law, Force=Mass * Acceleration. To increase force, you must increase mass (use heavier dumbbells, use a tighter resistant band etc.) or acceleration, which stays constant, Gravity!
Every time you use a heavier weight you’ve increased your force, but your acceleration would be unchanged. However, the power plate gives you the opportunity to change the G forces against your body to increase force! Allowing for greater mobility and overall functional performance!

Pulling it all together: vibrating, Gravity and personal training exercises

Gravity is another form of acceleration. It is the one form of acceleration we are all subject to. Gravity is what causes your muscles to develop—your muscles allow you to counter the effects of gravity, so that you can move. If the Earth had no gravity, you wouldn’t develop muscle, as we covered in the history portion. Vibration is simply adding more gravity to your body or increasing “G-forces.” for example, rebounding on a mini trampoline can range up to 3 g forces at the bottom of the jump.

The Power Plate: No other Vibration training compares

The power plate moves side to side, up and down and back and forward unlike any other Vibration technology!
The power plate moves side to side, up and down and back and forward unlike any other Vibration technology!

If you have tried vibration technology in the past, but it was not a power plate, you have not tried effective acceleration training. The Power plate works by vibrating in three dimensions, or three planes: vertical, horizontal and sagittal (front and back). The Power Plate moves at a very high rate (25 to 50 times per second) across very small distances (two to four millimeters), so you aren’t knocked off balance, but just enough that your muscles must accommodate the stimulus.

When the Power Plate vibrates up and down, your muscle tone improves.

Left to right and front to back movements improves your balance and coordination.

The many imitators on the market usually have their machines move side to side, don’t be fooled. Without the complex motion, specifically the up and down vibration, it loses its effectiveness!

So the net result is a dramatic improvement in strength and power, flexibility, balance, tone and leanness.

Just by standing on the vibrating Power Plate, each muscle in your body reacts in a continuous flow of micro adjustments, expanding and contracting reflexively. Now imagine, instead of standing on it or holding a push up position, actually completing a full, high intensity workout! The Muscular, bone and neurological stimulation, is incomparable!

To add a few more stats to your imagination!

If you apply 30 Hertz (30 cycles per second, the standard level on the power plate) for 30 seconds, you are expanding and contracting your muscles a total of 900 times in just half a minute. This means you can train to an athlete status with 12-25 minutes of Acceleration Training, three days a week. Now expand that by completing a Training Aspects high intensity workout! Results are inevitable!

Two Must follow rules with the Power plate:

There was a facility a couple years ago which had power plates but due to some other troubles (un-related to the power plates) they were forced to close down. If you ever tried the power plates (specifically) and had a bad experience. You most likely, were following someone who had limited experience on the power plate. 2 rules to always follow:

Power Plate Rule #1:

Do Not stand straight up on it! The vibration will go straight to your head and especially if you’ve never used vibration technology, it will not be pleasant. The vibration has to go somewhere!  When you stand straight, it will go through your whole body and straight for your head. SOLUTION, when standing on the power plate make sure to hold at least a 1/4 of a squat or focus the vibration into specific areas. From there you can get creative!

Power Plate Rule #2:

Do Not lay down on your back! Those are advanced exercises not for the average person. You must have a good amount of experience using the power plate and have the ability to truly control your core (most do not).

Follow those 2 rules and you will have a much better experience with the power plate.

Power Plate conclusion: The Bad, the ugly and the take away

As for all training equipment/ techniques, they go through fads. The media will hype a training style or piece of equipment for a few months even a year, then it dies out. When something new comes out/ or is brought back, it’s different! As a species, we love new and different! Except new and different is not always better. There are a few essential principals which must be analyzed to see if the new fad of the year is truly effective (we’ll save that for another article).

I’ll keep it short on this. The power plate is not a fad, nor is it the answer to all of your problems. The power plate is an extremely effective tool, to have in your belt of tricks if you are a trainer and a great piece of equipment to change up your training program to become more mobile and body capable. It has great capabilities but must be used properly!

Where can I find one?

So if you’ve made it this far in the article you are probably wondering where you can find a power plate.

  1. The Most expensive way is get certified with the power plate, learn some anatomy and physiology and read a few muscle fitness magazines. Then buy a power plate and have your fun! Or! Buy one and get a specialized power plate personal trainer to train you at home.
  2. Many chiropractors and physical therapy facilities have one. See if they’ll let you use it.
  3. Your best choice:  Training Aspects is certified by the makers of power plate, As well as all the other research and personal training, sports performance and fitness knowledge, they have 5 years of experience with the power plate! Get the Ultimate Training Aspects personal training and Sports performance program developed for you! Here are a few more benefits of the power plate and a specifically tailored personal training or sports performance program:
    • Increase blood flow
    • decrease appearance of cellulite
    • Increase body mobility capabilities
    • weight loss
    • Increased muscle tone
    • efficiency of workouts
    • Sports performance

Power Plate is Back in South Jersey: Cherry Hill, Voorhees and surrounding areas!

Kirill Vaks
BA, CSCS, ACSM-cpt, NFPT-sns
 Performance and Fitness specialist

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Training Aspects Personal Training and Sports Performance:

Training Aspects’ personal trainers and sports performance coaches want you to accomplish your goals. You, as the personal training client, are a reflection of our personal training and group training methods! We are here to help you accomplish all of your personal training goals!  Our main training focus are people looking to increase performance, lose weight, lose body fat and increase lean muscle. Whether you live in Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Voorhees, Washington Twp., Marlton, or any of the other surrounding areas we are here to help you Move, Look and feel as you’ve always desired…

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Inside of the Flyers Training Center
601 Laurel Oak Rd.
Voorhees, NJ 08043

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