Cardio-phobes everywhere whooped and wheeled their treadmills to the curb last month when a new study found that the ‘effort-free’ exercise of simply standing on the vibrating platforms of a Power Plate machine is as effective as regular exercise.
The research, published by The Endocrine Society claims to have found that whole-body vibration (WBV) mimics the muscle and bone health benefits of regular exercise; proving every bit as effective as a bout of cardio for weight loss.
But although simply standing or sitting on the Power Plate machine at your local gym sounds tempting as a no-sweat way to spend your workout, imagine the results if you actually exerted yourself on one. After all, ‘no pain no gain’…
What is it?
You know that machine that looks like a segway tucked away in the corner of your gym? That’s actually a Power Plate. The machine uses the body’s natural response to vibration to give the user a workout, and putting additional exertion into the mix makes for a serious session.
How does it work?
The plate creates between 25 and 55 vibrations per second, transmitting energy to the body and making the user’s muscles contract and relax, triggering body strength, co-ordination, stability and endurance. It also creates an uneven surface, forcing the muscles to work harder to maintain balance and stability.
Users can stand, sit or lie on the plate and let the vibrations do their thing, but the real challenge comes with attempting exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges on the machine. Covent Garden fitness studio Good Vibes runs six different classes on the Power Plate, ranging from more modest toning and conditioning exercises to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is anything but ‘effort-free’ exercise, combining weight training with squat jumps and burpees on the vibrating machine so you can expect to burn around 300 calories in a 20-minute class.
Why all the fuss?
Essentially, you’re looking at a supercharged workout without the extra sweat. Devotees say the results they see from just 15 minutes on the Power Plates would take them an hour to accomplish off the machine – music to the ears of all those with precious few minutes to spend at the gym during their packed City days.
The vibrations are also great for targeting muscle tightness in runners, pelvic floor weakness in postnatal women, and can even reduce the appearance of cellulite by boosting lymphatic circulation to help flush out congested tissues.
The Power Plate is now a staple of the circuit room at most gyms and usually included within a standard membership fee. Good Vibes’ Power Plates classes start at £22 for a single or £150 for a 12-class pack.
Where can I try it?
Check out the Power Plates website for your nearest plate or visit Good Vibes at 14-16 Betterton Street WC2H 9BU.