What Is a Vibration Plate and What Is It Used For?
Medically reviewed by: David M. Joyner, MD, FACS
Have you ever witnessed someone at the gym standing on a machine with a belt around their waist and wondered what in the world they were doing? Years ago, oversized standing vibration plates were all the rage, but given their size, they were mainly relegated to gyms and fitness centers.
Fortunately, today's vibration plates are more compact and versatile, allowing you to seamlessly integrate them into your workout routine.
But what is a vibration plate—and how does it function?
Essentially, these devices use vibrational technology to help you burn more calories in less time and aid in muscle recovery (to name just a few of their potential benefits). Whether you're new to exercise or looking to elevate your current workout regimen, join us as we answer the question “How do vibration plates work?” so that you can make the most of your next workout.
Introduction to the Vibration Plate: What It Is and How It Works
In the realm of fitness, the vibration plate offers a simple yet revolutionary approach to burning calories, improving circulation, and enhancing movement. Comprised of a robust metal frame and a high-frequency vibrating plate that operates at settings typically ranging from 30 to 50 hertz per second, vibration plates are designed to take health and fitness to the next level.
But what exactly makes a vibration machine such a game-changing factor in a workout? In other words, exactly what do vibration plates do?
Imagine this: as you engage in exercises such as squats, pushups, or even simple balance routines on the vibration machine, something remarkable happens. The vibrations trigger your muscles to contract and relax—not just a few times, but dozens of times in a single second.
The outcome of these involuntary muscle contractions mimics the results of your most deliberate workouts, whether it's the effort you put into jogging, lifting weights, or indulging in your preferred form of exercise. The real magic lies in the vibration plate's ability to elicit similar cardiovascular and muscular responses as a traditional exercise regimen, albeit on a smaller scale.
The key distinction between lifting weights and using a vibrational plate is the level of intentionality behind the movements:
- When you’re lifting weights, you're consciously engaging your mind-muscle connection.
- In contrast, a vibration plate automatically stimulates your muscle fibers with minimal conscious effort on your part.
To that end, combining the best of both worlds and incorporating intentional exercises into a vibration plate workout may amplify your cardio benefits and deliver an equally intense workout in less time.
Health Benefits of Using Vibration Plates
Now that you have a deeper insight into the inner workings of these oscillating devices, the lingering question is this: Do vibration plates work?
From improving bone strength to torching extra calories, vibration plates offer a wealth of potential health-enhancing possibilities with consistent use:
- Faster Weight Loss – Vibration training forces your body to work harder during exercise to stabilize against the vibrations from the machine. Scientists have found that a Power Plate workout recruits 95% of your muscle fibers while conventional exercise may only recruit 45%. This increased muscle activation forces your body to burn more glucose, which helps burn more fat per calorie.
- Achieve better balance – It's no secret that many individuals aged 65 and older face an increased risk of falling, which makes finding a solution of paramount importance. Enter the vibration plate, a valuable addition to your daily routine. Incorporating it may help improve your balance, no matter your age, allowing you to move with newfound steadiness. In fact, research highlights the benefits of eight weeks of whole-body vibrational training, showcasing improved stability and ease in transitioning from sitting to standing.
- Increase strength – Your fast-twitch muscle fibers are responsible for delivering explosive force when you need it most. Whether you're jumping, lifting heavy weights, or using the vibration plate, these fibers rise to the challenge. The consistent vibrations you experience when using the vibration plate stimulate your fast-twitch fibers, which may lead to significant strength gains over time.
- Reverse bone loss – Bone loss tends to outpace bone formation as you enter your 50s, posing a potential threat, especially to postmenopausal women. By incorporating the vibration plate into your routine, you may experience an increase in bone mineral density over time. In fact, recent research demonstrates that post-menopausal women who engaged with the Power Plate just three times a week for 30 minutes or less over 24 weeks saw an impressive 1.5% improvement in their bone density.
Common Misconceptions About Vibration Plates
If you’ve never used a vibration plate before, you may have come across one or two common misconceptions about what they are and what they can (or can’t) do for you. We’re here to dispel those myths with cold, hard truths:
Misconception #1: Vibration Plates Are Difficult to Use
Similar to any other piece of workout equipment you’re unfamiliar with, vibration machines can seem intimidating at first glance. But once you grasp the basics, they’re a walk in the park. Most of them are designed with user-friendliness in mind, featuring straightforward controls and preset programs.
Here’s our advice for your first vibrating machine rendezvous:
- Before stepping onto the machine, choose the setting you want to use. (We recommend a lower setting to start.)
- Once the machine is in motion, step onto the platform with your feet hip-width apart.
- Maintain a proper posture. Brace your core and focus on your balance as the plate vibrates according to your chosen setting.
- Adjust your stance and balance as needed.
Once you feel comfortable, you can incorporate more challenging strength-enhancing movements into your routine, like lunges and squats. It really is that easy.
Misconception #2: Vibration Plates Are Only for Athletes
Although there's a multitude of professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB that utilize Power Plates in their training, it doesn’t mean you have to be a top-tier athlete to use it. Whole body vibration (WBV) training helps to activate muscles before a workout, improve balance and coordination, and reduce recovery time. Vibration plates are effective for individuals of all fitness levels, whether this is your first foray into the world of exercise or you’re in your golden years and seeking a low-impact yet effective workout.
One of the great aspects of vibration plates is that the user maintains the ability to adjust the intensity setting to align with their current fitness level.
Misconception #3: Vibration Plates Are Uncomfortable
If the idea of your muscles involuntarily contracting brings about thoughts of discomfort, rest assured that in reality, many people enjoy the relaxing vibrations. In fact, many users (including athletes) use the plates after a workout to alleviate muscle tension and speed up recovery.
Plus, you can always adjust the settings to a level that feels comfortable to you.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Vibration Plate
Whether you’re enjoying life as a retiree or you’re an athlete hungry for that extra edge in your training, here are some expert tips to guide you as you venture into your latest fitness journey with a vibration plate:
- Bend your knees – You should keep a slight bend in your knees, at all times, while standing on the plate. This bend allows vibration to be focused on the largest muscles in the body (the leg muscles), maximizing the downstream benefits of muscular activation. The more you bend your knees, the more the vibration is concentrated on the lower extremity muscles. Keeping a bend in your knees will also reduce the likelihood of feeling any vibration in the head.
- Incorporate a warm-up and cool-down – Before and after your vibration plate workout, don't forget to prep your muscles. Alongside traditional upper and lower body stretches, let the plate do some of the work. Set it to a low frequency for 5 to 10 minutes, and embrace static poses like squats or calf raises to ignite your muscles and gear up for an intense session.
- Choose the right setting – Your choice of vibration level hinges on your fitness status and workout objectives. Lower frequencies are perfect for stretching, muscle activation, and individuals who are new to the vibration plate, while higher frequencies are your ticket to advanced balance and plyometric exercises.
- Diversify your routine – Once you've conquered the platform and mastered multiple frequencies, it's time to add variety to your regimen. Incorporate dynamic exercises like squats, lunges, planks, and pushups while leveraging the machine to target various muscle groups. Check out our exercise library of vibration plate exercises to learn how you can effectively use your Power Plate to upgrade your workout.
- Embrace progressive overload – If you're chasing strength and muscle gains, look no further than progressive overload. This secret weapon involves upping the ante in terms of exercise time, weight, or intensity. For instance, you can experiment with higher-frequency vibrations or increase the repetitions of a specific exercise while using the vibration plate.
- Be consistent – Like any other exercise machine, it’s important to utilize the vibration plate consistently to unlock its full potential. Whether you aim to fortify your core or achieve newfound flexibility, maintaining a consistent routine is your key to success. We recommend vibration training for at least 5-10 minutes a day. The more you use, the better the benefit.
- Combine with other types of exercise – Incorporating a vibration plate into your fitness repertoire is bound to ignite your current regimen. By coupling it with other cardiovascular and strength training tools, you can synergize your workouts and maximize your results.
Enhance Your Health and Fitness with Power Plate
Elevating your fitness journey and challenging the status quo can be a daunting task. But that's where Power Plate vibration plates come into play.
We're the pioneers of innovation in the realm of exercise, pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Whether you're a seasoned fitness enthusiast or just embarking on your wellness journey, our products offer safe and effective programs for all.
With the Power Plate’s whole body vibration machines, featuring our exclusive PrecisionWave™ Technology, you gain access to a realm of unparalleled fitness benefits. It's your gateway to improved balance, enhanced strength, and even the potential to reverse bone loss. Put simply, the Power Plate empowers you to rewrite your fitness narrative.
Don't wait—take that vital step toward a healthier, more vibrant you. Your future self will be eternally grateful for your commitment to a stronger, better tomorrow.
NIH. Whole body vibration exercise training for fibromyalgia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6483692/
CDC. Facts About Falls. https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html
NIH. Whole-body vibration training improves balance control and sit-to-stand performance among middle-aged and older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5516349/
ACE. Whole Body Vibration Training: Can You Really Shake Yourself Fit? https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/1491/whole-body-vibration-training-can-you-really-shake-yourself-fit/
John Hopkins Medicine. Osteoporosis: What You Need to Know as You Age. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/osteoporosis/osteoporosis-what-you-need-to-know-as-you-age
Power Plate. The Effect of Power Plate Training on Bone Mineral Density, Muscles Strength and Power, and Fat Loss in Postmenopausal Women. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0362/1139/2645/files/whole-body-vibration-training-builds-bone.pdf?v=1586158434