from TIME Magazine:
a diet-obsessed world, we all have our own dream of the perfect
weight-loss solution: a potato-chip diet, a pill that trims
belly fat or, best of all, an exercise that builds lots of
muscle with little work. The Power Plate, a new workout machine
that looks like a doctor's office scale on steroids, claims
to do just that.
According to Power Plate's manufacturers, if you stand on
the machine's vibrating plates for 10 minutes a day three
times a week, you will lose weight, increase bone density
and improve your overall health. But is that really possible?
It might be. Unlike the old-fashioned belt exercisers that
just shifted skin around, the Power Plate uses whole-body
vibration, or WBV, to contract muscles 30 to 50 times per
second. While you stand on the moving plates in the bent-knee
position recommended for beginners, the continual vibration
causes you to tense and relax your muscles to keep your balance.
Even without the vibration, you would involuntarily tense
and release just to hold the pose. But the WBV forces you
to do so up to 50 times more. That's quite a workout for so
But to get the most out of the Power Plate, you can't just
stand. The best approach is to perform the same exercises
you would do on the floor—squats, tricep dips, push-ups
and the like. Your muscles fatigue quicker, so the exercise
routine will be shorter, but you're still not making the plates
do all the work. "This is not a magic bullet that helps
people lose weight without doing anything," says Cedric
Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council
on Exercise. "If you are a healthy individual, WBV training
should be a supplement to a sensible diet and exercise program."
And a session of vibration may be not only good exercise but
good therapy as well for people with physical ills like arthritis
or osteoporosis. George Waylonis, a clinical professor emeritus
of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Ohio State University,
conducted a study on the effects of WBV on patients with fibromyalgia,
a disease that causes constant full-body pain. Waylonis studied
the Power Plate and the Galileo, another vibration exerciser,
and was impressed by both. "WBV seems to be a way for
people in pain to exercise their muscles and ultimately feel
better," he says. More such research is certainly needed,
but Power Plates can already be found in select gyms, rehabilitation
centers and private homes. The machines are expensive: £2,500
for the home unit and £7,250 for the gym model, so some
of the private owners are people with names like Madonna.
But if you can't afford the cost or the space for such a bulky
bit of hardware, look for the units to show up at a gym near
from Life & Style Magazine: What's it all about?
Power-Plate is a machine that gives the body's muscles a high-speed
workout by using vibrations to stimulate them to contract
and relax. They generally contract once or twice a second,
but by standing on the Power-Plate, its vibrations cause an
automatic reflex muscle contraction of 30-50 a second.
Power-Plate is a great time-saver due to the effectiveness
of training and the fact that many muscle groups are activated
at the same time. It's claimed that 10 minutes on the Power-Plate
will have the same results as 60 minutes of conventional strenuous
What the expert says...
Mark Andrews is a remedial therapist and Power-Plate specialist
Better results in less time. Power-Plate is like the microwave
of fitness - you can do as little as 10 minutes and still
achieve a great workout.
The best way to train is by increasing the frequency gradually.
Beginners are advised to start with nine minutes of the resistance
programme, followed by nine minutes of the stretch, massage
and relaxation programme, both on the lower frequency and
In order to develop strength, power, muscle tone and definition,
it is essential to adopt a position that puts tension on the
muscles. For example, if you're doing the squat position,
have your knees bent and lean from the hips, as if you are
about to sit on a chair.
Keep your workout short
Although everyone is different, it's usually enough to start
with no more than 30 seconds on each exercise. This will reduce
the duration of the workout, which is a real bonus for people
who are time-short but crave results.
Combine your exercises
Try to choose a combination of compound exercises (such as
squats and push-ups, which use more than one muscle group)
and isolation exercises (biceps curls and front raises). You'll
get a better training response, as well as increasing potential
Keep your knees bent
Vibration training stimulates the contraction of the muscle
spindles, so it's important to keep your knees slightly bent
to avoid jarring through the joints.
Drink enough water
Your muscles will be contracting 30-50 times more quickly,
thereby generating a lot of internal heat, so even if you
don't feel thirsty, always drink water while you're working
Train for other sports
Using Power-Plate can help you get far better sport-specific
benefits. With skiing, for example, stand in a crouched ski
squat position for 30 seconds, and your quads will receive
a more appropriate training stimulus than any standing squat
against a wall. You can get similar benefits for your golf
swing, rugby scrum and so on - just stand in the sport-specific
Celebrity Power-Plate devotees include Madonna, Jonathan Ross
and Donatella Versace. But don't fret if you're not in the
A-list league of owning your own. A number of health-club
chains now have one or more Power-Plates as part of their
gym equipment. David Lloyd clubs have between three and five
units on each site, and several community leisure centres
now own one, too. To find one close to you, and for classes,
log on to powerplate.com. If you want to try before you buy,
go to one of the introductory classes at the Power-Plate Studio,
Harrods, London SW1 (020-7893 8518) - it's £25 for a
25-minute session with a certified trainer.
Once on the plate, the beginners' programme involves standing
in nine different positions, each held for 30 seconds. You
can choose your intensity of vibration stimulus from the control
panel. Beginners are encouraged to start off at 30 vibrations
a second, progressing up to 50. Getting started is easy -
simply stand on the machine, select the appropriate vibration
level on the control panel, and position yourself in each
of the nine positions.
Each Power-Plate comes with an instructional manual, booklet
and banner showing visual descriptions of each of the positions
for resistance, flexibility and massage. Allow up to 20 minutes
for a total workout for resistance, flexibility and massage.
The instructions are comprehensive and simple to read, while
the banner illustrations are easy to follow. If you do want
more information, however, the best source is power-plate.com.
After Madonna bought a Power-Plate, sales soared; at one point
John Lewis's version - which costs £2,599 - was the
store's fastest-selling fitness product. The larger version
costs nearer £7,000, but at least you don't have to
buy any specific gear once you've splashed out. What's more,
there is no impact through the joints, so you don't even need
to wear trainers. That said, it is generally good practice
to wear protective footwear when you do exercise of any kind.
To get the most out of the positions, you do need comfortable
clothing. If you've forked out £2,000-plus for your
own Power-Plate, you may wish to look the part, too, as you
vibrate your way to a better body. Loose-fitting, stretchy
gear is best: Sweaty Betty has an excellent choice for women;
men will find a good selection from brands such as Adidas
You may get great results in your body's tone and flexibility,
but you won't see any significant improvements to the stamina
of your heart and lungs.
This isn't the sort of equipment you can hide away and bring
out each time you want to use it; if you have your own, you'll
need to set aside a dedicated space at home.