Welcome to Vibration Plates

Who says that there are no shortcuts fitness? The idea of vibrating fitness machines has been around for a long time. Old time gym rats remember the vibrating belt machines that saw a lot of use in health clubs in the forties and fifties. The principle was to use a wide belt attached to an elliptical action vibrator, mounted on a pedestal. The purpose of this machine was to “spot reduce” the waist area, a principle that modern exercise science has shown to be erroneous. Belt vibrators have long since vanished from the health club scene.

Enter the new vibration technology. Studies have shown that vigorous vibration of your body while performing routine fitness exercises will increase the effectiveness of those exercises. The result is a shortened, more effective fitness routine. Further studies have shown that a vibration plate, coupled with an appropriate diet, will eliminate more body fat than traditional exercises, coupled with the same diet or diet alone . . . and the belly fat loss remained after the controlled experiment was over.

The theory behind this technology is that the more stress you put on muscles while exercising them, the better and faster the results of that exercise. Doing lunges, squats, crunches, push-ups and the like, while your body is vibrating vigorously, stresses all of your muscles, not just those being exercised and is much more effective than the same routine without the vibration . . . this is not a guess or supposition, but a theory proved by a number of well documented studies under controlled conditions.

Even NASA has tested vibration technology. Their study shows that vibration plates used during exercise gave the muscles a more intense workout. They could not conclude, however, whether the athletes were stronger or faster, only that their workout time was shortened dramatically and the results magnified. The NASA study was precipitated by the need to reduce muscle atrophy and bone loss during prolonged space flights.

Power Plate Demonstration

One of the many excercises you can perform on a power plate or vibration plate

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Reports have been that seniors using the vibration plates slept better, resolved their incontinence, felt better and were more energetic, particularly if they used the machine for ten minutes shortly before retiring for the night. The same results as from starting an exercise program.

The author of one study said, “We know vibration works, we just don’t know how to harness it yet.” One piece of gentler vibration equipment was developed for helping the elderly reverse the effects of osteoporosis and other disorders caused by aging. It is this same technology that has led to the proliferation of fitness equipment manufacturers producing a plethora of vibration plate equipment.

Many fitness centers and health clubs are installing vibration plate equipment in their cardio workout areas and reporting dramatic results by the users. Most users report that they feel more worked out, more invigorated than before the inclusion of vibration in their routine and they like the idea of shorter, more effective workouts.

Vibration plate equipment is now being offered by every major fitness equipment manufacturer as well as a number of companies offering only vibration plates and accessories. There are machines designed for heavy commercial usage like in health clubs and those designed for home use. They all operate on the same basic principle of vibrating movement in three directions, but they come in a variety of configurations, from a basic platform plate large enough on which to perform exercises, to those with a pedestal and a number of handles with which to perform their exercises. The power of the vibrations will range from 1 hertz to 45 hertz, depending upon the type of equipment used. The lower power machines are equated to weight-training, warm-ups and cool-downs, while the higher power machines relate to massage and increase blood circulation.

The use of vibration plates is not to replace traditional diets and aerobic exercise, but to make them more effective and shorten the time spent working out. One reviewer said, “Picture it as weight-training without weights.” People who have not been working out before find that just standing on the vibration plates for a short period produced muscle soreness as if they had performed traditional exercises. A conditioned person performing exercises on the plates will experience increased muscular “tightness” or “pump” than from the same exercises without the vibration. Whole body vibration is achieved when the feet or hands are in contact with the plate. The results are accelerated when exercises are performed while in contact with the plate.

What is happening when you use a vibration plate is simply this: The vibration stimulates the body’s “stretch reflex,” a spontaneous muscular reaction of stretching and contraction, similar to that which occurs during strenuous exercise, but without the joint damage cause by high impact training; i.e. weight training and running. Metabolic rates increase contributing to fat burning and the development of lean muscle tissue. Adherents to vibration plate training claim that ten minutes of plate training is like sixty minutes pumping iron and doing strenuous cardio.

Not only does vibration plate technology promote fitness and the loss of fat and cellulite, but additional health benefits are claimed by the equipment manufacturers. The claims are supported by extensive studies conducted in Europe, where the current technology began, and in the USA. Reports claim increases in the production of human growth hormone (HGH), bone density, muscle strength and fitness, metabolism and flexibility. They also show reductions in fat, blood pressure and stress related conditions. The “total body” vibration is affecting the muscular, skeletal, organ, glandular and nervous systems, not just the muscles and cardio systems, as in traditional exercising.

Leave it to science to come up with the means to improve our lives. In vibration plate training, it appears as if there really is a shortcut to fitness, weight and fat loss, improved health and a more vibrant life. Like any other advance in fitness science, a vibration plate fitness program is intended to supplement a fitness regimen of exercise and diet, not replace it.

Whether it is for home use or in the health club, vibration training is the new future of fitness for people of all ages, shapes and sizes.