You’ve probably seen the Power Plate machine sitting serenely in the corner. It may not look like much, but this demure piece of equipment is the stuff of dreams for those who want efficient workout sessions that shake them into shape.
WHAT IS A POWER PLATE?
Power Plates use vibrations to stimulate muscles making them contract and relax up to 50 times a second. It feels a little like standing on a spin drier.
They were originally developed by Russian scientists to prevent astronauts’ muscles and bones wasting while in space. They found that using vibrating machines halved the eight hours of weight-bearing exercise they had to do to maintain muscle mass.
The machine caught on fast with celebrities, such as Madonna and Jonathon Ross, and is now incorporated into the training programmes of several international football teams. It seemed people of all ages, fitness levels and conditions could enjoy the impressive list of benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Sending vibrations through your muscles will fatigue them in a third of the time, making muscles longer and leaner, quicker. A session also improves circulation, breaks down fat cells, and boosts circulation and metabolism.
Power Plates engage 95 percent of your muscle fibres making it a very efficient way of working out, which means less time spent exercising. It’s claimed that just 10 minutes on the Power Plate will reap the same results as a 60 minute demanding workout.
Some studies show the vibrations can help you lose up to 50% more weight than conventional gym equipment. 15 minutes, three times a week, was enough to burn fat and reduce cellulite.
HOW SHOULD I USE IT?
Start gradually. Increase the frequency slowly. You can set the vibrating rate from 30 to 40, plus adjust the high and low. A good starting point is 30 and low.
Start with the lower body. Exercises like squats, the plank, calf raises are good to start off. To really target problem areas such as thighs and buttocks try the glute bridge, dynamic lunge to step up and squat with medicine ball. You can also include weights and kettlebells for a more strength-based workout.
Core and upper body. Working out your chest and arms is easy on the Power Plate. Most conventional exercises can be performed, and you can get creative with dumbbells, positive and negative reps, barbells, cables, resistance bands and more. Try press ups, shoulder presses, triceps dips, bicep curls and the plank.
Include HIIT. Combining High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with Power Plates makes a powerful fat burning workout. You could do jump squats from the floor to the plate, burpees, mountain climbers, or sport-specific exercises such as ski squats.
Many gyms offer instructor-led Power Plate sessions ranging from gentle beginners classes right up to intense HIIT workout. Discover a gym near you and give them a try!