By Dr. Mercola
The Power Plate might just be the best kept fitness secret today. In terms of versatility, there is no tool better adapted for people of all ages, conditions, and fitness levels.
The Power Plate is a result of vibrational technology from decades of scientific research by the brightest minds in the fitness and aerospace industries. When it comes to high intensity interval training (HIIT), the vibrational movement provided by the Power Plate can ramp up your intensity quite effectively.
In the featured video, Jill Rodriguez, one of our personal trainers, demonstrates how to use the Power Plate with a variety of different exercises, including squat circuits, deadlift circuits, push ups, plank circuits, and cardio intervals...
Before we look at how to adapt these exercises for the Power Plate, I'd like to first review the impressive list of benefits offered by this remarkable tool and refresh your memory a bit about how this training works.
Shaking Your Way to Fitness
The Power Plate operates with multi-directional vibration (also known as Whole Body Vibrational Training, WMVT), which has far-reaching benefits for your body.
✓ Increased muscle strength, especially explosive strength
✓ Enhanced muscle building
✓ Increased bone mass and mineral density
✓ Increased flexibility and mobility
✓ Improved proprioception and balance
✓ Immediate improvement in blood circulation
✓ Faster recovery
✓ Fitness in the elderly
And for You Science Geeks
If you are science-minded, it might tickle your physics bone to know this technology comes directly out of Newton's Second Law of Motion:2
F = M x A
When applying this to your workouts, you can think of force as the amount of work done. In order to gain benefit from your workout, you must increase the forces on your body by increasing one of the two variables, mass or acceleration.
By increasing either (or both) of these variables, you increase the amount of force on your body—which is what puts the WORK in your workout. The mass is simply your body, and vibration is the acceleration.
- When you lift weights, you're increasing mass (the mass of your body plus any weights you use).
- Acceleration Training dramatically increases acceleration. The vibrations are actually very rapid small movements of the platform — mainly up and down. The changes of direction of the platform result in strong acceleration and decelerating forces on your body, 25 to 50 times per second, which results in much more "work" done.
Say Goodbye to Pounding the Treadmill
The evidence is overwhelming that the traditional long cardio workout is not good for your heart and may place even the strongest athlete at risk for a disastrous cardiac event. These endurance style workouts have NO place in 21st Century fitness—if you're still doing them, then it's time for you to read up on the latest science.
Long cardio sessions result in the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which when produced excessively may contribute to a catabolic state in which your tissues break down. Endurance cardio sets in motion inflammatory mechanisms that can damage your heart, instead of strengthening it.
Too much cardio raises cardiac risk seven-fold and can lead to heart muscle scarring. Studies have associated endurance cardio, such as marathon running, with elevated cardiac enzymes in the blood.
So, while your heart is indeed designed to work very hard and will be strengthened from doing so, it's only designed to do so intermittently, and for short periods—NOT for an hour or more at a time.
To get the greatest benefits from exercise, you need to push your body hard enough for a challenge while allowing adequate time for recovery and repair to occur.
One of the best ways to do this is to follow a fitness regimen that includes short bursts of high-intensity activities, and the Power Plate is a fantastic tool for this, as it adds intensity to whatever exercises you do—even just standing still! High-intensity cardio intervals on the Power Plate will give you far greater benefits and NONE of the risks posed by hours of pounding the pavement.
Power Plate Makes Bodyweight Exercises Even More Effective
Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to strengthen your core, and squats, planks, and push ups are terrific examples. Squats are one of the best exercises for strengthening and toning your glutes, legs, hips, and back, as well as improving your balance.
In fact, squats are scientifically ranked among the top six exercises for glutes! But you can make your squats even more productive by doing them on the Power Plate, as Jill demonstrates. For another demonstration of a Power Plate squat routine, please see the hyperlinked article.
If you really slow your squats down, you are essentially turning them into a high intensity exercise. The super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle. When you combine this super-slow technique with whole body vibration training, you are getting the ultimate benefit from your exercise effort.
Still not challenging enough? Try adding some core-blasting reverse push ups to your traditional push up routine. There is no reason you can't adapt these to a Power Plate, just as Jill has adapted traditional push ups. The bottom line is, with a little creativity, you can safely expand your workout by adding whole body vibration training to just about anything—the sky's the limit!
Never Dread Stretching Again—Power Plate Turns It Into a Massage
Just as it's time to retire your old notions about high endurance cardio being good for your heart, times have changed when it comes to stretching. Static stretching is no longer recommended before working out—it can make you feel weaker and less stable during your exercise session.
On the other hand, dynamic stretching is an active form of stretching that has been shown to positively influence power, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility, and strength performance when used as a warm-up. Examples of dynamic stretching include walking lunges, squats, or arm circles.
My favorite type of dynamic stretching is Active Isolated Stretching, or AIS, where you hold each stretch for only two seconds. Active Isolated Stretching works with your body's natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of your joints.
If you're looking for something unique to replace your static stretches, consider doing them on your Power Plate, as Jill demonstrates in the second featured video. Stretching on the Power Plate is a very powerful way to rapidly improve flexibility for your legs, although it may be a little more challenging for your neck and shoulders. The Power Plate moves very quickly (25 to 40 times per second) across very small distances (one to two millimeters), so you aren't knocked off balance, but just enough so that your muscles must accommodate.
And the best part is, by stretching on the Power Plate, you are getting a relaxing massage at the same time. Adding vibration technology to stretching really increases circulation and helps flush out exercise-generated toxins from your tissues, which may result in less post-workout soreness.
For the first time in your life, you might actually find yourself looking forward to stretching, instead of skipping over it! For further suggestions and ideas for Power Plate routines, please visit our Power Plate video demonstrations page.
Stepping Up to the Plate
The Power Plate is a significant investment, so you'll want to do your due diligence before making a purchase. Granted, these machines are not inexpensive, but there are legitimate reasons for the price tag, when you look at the science, precision and engineering involved. Beware of cheaper look-alikes—they 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.
Whole body vibration 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 quads and so on. But whole body vibration 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 "functional 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 can argue with 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 the most powerful and versatile tool I've ever found to help you accomplish this goal.