By Dr. Mercola
The Power Plate might just be the best kept secret in the United States, as Tony Swain, Director of Education and Fitness at the Power Plate company explains in the interview above. Rarely have I come across tech-specs that read like an Infomercial—with the difference being that these claims are actually TRUE.
The Power Plate was born of decades of scientific research by the brightest minds in the fitness and aerospace industries.
I will soon post an interview with the President of the Power Plate company, Mark de Gorter, who helped me appreciate the many facets of this amazing machine. Keep your eyes open for that article, as it will provide a comprehensive overview about the history, research, and proven benefits of Whole Body Vibrational Training (WBVT), also known as Acceleration Training.
Now, let's take a closer look at my favorite vibrational training device, the Power Plate—which can bring this valuable technology right into your living room.
Shaking Your Way to Fitness
This multi-directional vibration has a number of benefits for your health, beyond cardiovascular and metabolic aspects. For example, the vibrational action of the Power Plate can help improve the following:
- Neurological processes in general
The tri-directional movement promotes proprioception, which is just a medical term for sensing the relative position of neighboring parts of your body. Proprioception is an internal feedback mechanism crucial for balance, as your body constantly adjusts to uneven terrain as you walk.
The unique ability of the Power Plate to train and build your neurological system has huge implications for treating people with neurological problems—for example, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), peripheral neuropathy, and elderly individuals who are prone to falls because of instability.
If you have ever done any exercise training on an uneven surface, you'll have noticed that it's harder—you were recruiting more muscle fibers and more energetic pathways. The same idea applies to the Power Plate.
Any time you can increase your circulation, as Acceleration Training does, you deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, which is beneficial for just about everything. Additionally, the Power Plate's ability to increase flexibility is one of its most exciting features, since muscle tightness is a major contributing factor to many injuries. You can maximize a stretch in 30 seconds.
Immediate Benefits for a Variety of Neurological Conditions
Beyond its applications for professional athletes, astronauts, and fitness enthusiasts, the Power Plate has been useful in treating a wide variety of clinical conditions.
If you have issues with circulation or blood flow, hormonal deficiencies, or mobility, you can use the Power Plate daily for these issues, and still use it for strength training two or three days a week as a bonus. It is highly versatile and can be used in a number of different ways, with a variety of specific exercises to meet your needs.
It's truly much more than an exercise device—and the benefits can be immediate.
Really, the people who have more clinical issues see improvement much faster—for example, if you have any kind of circulatory problem or nervous system disorder, you will typically see benefits right away. Power Plate has been used in Europe for neurological rehabilitation and found to help relieve symptoms of MS, spinal cord injuries, stroke, and paralysis resulting from trauma.
If you have a limiting physical condition, the Power Plate allows you to get into some positions that you would not ordinarily be able to tolerate in conventional strength training. Finally, the Power Plate is an excellent and FAST way to warm up before any type of exercise routine. In 3 to 5 minutes, you are ready to roll in terms of increased circulation, nervous system activation, and body heat.
Acceleration Training Means Accelerated Healing
You are only as strong as your weakest link. An injury or weak area can compromise your efforts and really interfere with training. But with the Power Plate, you can "treat" your injured body part at the same time as you are training the stronger areas of your body—because the vibration permeates your WHOLE body.
By stimulating your white muscle fiber, the Power Plate kick-starts your pituitary gland into making more growth hormone, which helps you build lean body mass and burn fat. But one of the other great effects of HGH is its ability to accelerate tissue healing.
This healing-enhancing effect makes the Power Plate a great alternative to surgery at a fraction of the cost. If your injury doesn't heal, you can always resort to surgery as a last resort. These machines are not inexpensive... but surgery is far MORE costly, both in terms of money and risk.
Don't Just Stand There
Is the Power Plate completely passive?
I don't want to give the impression that you just step up on the platform and do nothing—although you CAN just stand on it, or even sit on it, and you still get many benefits!
For strength training, the vibrational motion is applied while you hold your body in various positions, depending on which areas you wish to target—lunges and squats for example. But the movement is much more static than if you were lifting weights because the machine is moving your muscle fibers for you.
And the best part?
Most people like to end their Power Plate session with a massage, letting the machine do all the work.
Is this vibrating platform hard to get used to? Power Plate users report acclimating pretty quickly to the feeling of the vibration, which was my experience as well. It's an odd sensation initially, but within a few sessions those sensations become much less noticeable. Kind of like if you have ever used an electric toothbrush—the first time, the vibration feels very strange, but after a few brushings, you hardly notice it.
If you find it difficult to tolerate the vibration, there is a pad that can be placed on top of the platform that acts as a buffer. However, the company suggests you limit the use of the pad as much as possible, since it's the full vibrational motion that will produce the highest benefits for you.
Beware of Cheap Imitations
This sort of equipment is a major investment, so you'll want to do your due diligence before making a purchase. Granted, these machines are not inexpensive, but there are good reasons for the price tag, when you look at the precision and engineering involved.
There are other similar-appearing units being marketed that are really NOT the same technology as Power Plate. It is important to note that over 30 of the nearly 200 studies about WBVT were conducted with Power Plate brand equipment.
Power Plate is the real deal, and is my brand of choice. What makes Power Plate different from other vibrating devices?
- It's Not Just a "Wobble Board": Many of the competing brands have vibrational movement in only two directions, right to left, front to back—basically a "wobble board." That's okay for making Jiffy Pop but not okay for Acceleration Training. It's the vertical motion (up and down) that provides the neurological benefit, as a result of the G forces produced on your body.
- The Harmonious Wave: Power Plate is engineered to produce a harmonious wave, which requires a very precise set of motors. You are exposed to harmonious vibrations all day long. Light is a harmonious vibration, for example. Your body responds to all sorts of vibration, and whether it responds favorably or unfavorably depends upon the type of wave.
It's analogous to the difference between listening to a beautifully played violin versus one played badly—the vibrations from the well-played one make your body feel good. Some companies that are less committed to quality produce a very "unclean curve," which can actually do harm to your body.
The motors in the Power Plate produce a synchronous curve that is optimal for your muscles as they contract and relax.
- Good Warranty and Customer Service: How long has the company been around? You want a company that will be around long enough to honor its warranty. And you want accessible customer service in case you have questions or need assistance.
It took me four years of trials and thorough investigation to select a brand that met my standards of precision and versatility, before I decided on the Power Plate. It is distributed in more than 90 countries and is certified (MDD) as a Class IIa medical device in Europe.
Warning Beware of Cheap Imitations
The Power Plate is the leader in the field. It was developed by the Dutch Olympic Coach who was inspired by the Soviet space program and he effectively used it for his Olympic athletes. He really is the creator of this technology for the public.
There are a variety of cheap machines on the market being sold under different names. Typically, such machines are manufactured using vibrating equipment that is notoriously poor with faulty electronics, cheap bearings and buttons, and shoddy welds that often fail.
Beware of skinny support posts, platforms that are too small or unstable, weak motors and units with insufficient power to support the vibration capacity.
The Power Plate Acceleration Training equipment moves in all three axes and it is made of the highest quality materials and designed to give you many long years of effective training. In fact it has patents which prevent other companies from copying its radical innovations.
There are many cheaper imitations of the Power Plate that seek to copy it but none produce the same benefits. So before you decide to purchase Acceleration Training equipment, make sure you at least evaluate the Power Plate as you could be making a significant mistake by purchasing something cheaper that won't give you the same benefits.
Stepping Up to the Plate
Acceleration Training requires that you change your fitness paradigm. You are used to thinking about working your muscles in isolation... working your biceps, then triceps, then your abs and your quads, and so on.
But Acceleration Training targets your whole body, focusing on fully integrated motor and neurological patterns, allowing you to work ALL your muscles and nerves at the same time. This is a truly revolutionary approach to fitness because it addresses your neuromuscular system as a whole, rather than one appendage or muscle group at a time.
Not to mention the HUGE advantage of trimming off several precious hours per week from your workout time, which is then available for other things.
Who wouldn't love that?
Achieving or maintaining fitness is becoming more important with each passing year, and my goal has always been to provide information and tools that will help you with this challenge. The Power Plate is simply one more tool for your tool bag—and a powerful one indeed.