In its infancy as a health and fitness tool, Power Plate® was seen as an alternative solution for those who wanted to lose weight and gain muscle tone; the new hope for those who dread entering a weight room, or had grown tired of the monotony of using fixed motion machines. When labelled as such, the public began to view vibration training as a competitor to the traditional modes of resistance training, which set Power Plate up against dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. For me, this set off alarm bells! Ten years ago I asked the same question that I get asked daily by coaches and trainers: “Why would I throw away my iron plates for a vibrating one?” The simple answer is...you wouldn’t, and shouldn’t! If you have access to amazing traditional tools as well as Power Plate, why not use both?
The easiest way to integrate vibration into your workout is by adding familiarity. This can be achieved by performing movements that fit logically with your existing exercise program. A practical example would be to use vibration during movement preparation, or ‘warm-up’ in order to activate your body’s systems for the tasks and activities that lay ahead in your session. Utilising your ability to move in three dimensions, aided by vibration, will serve to enhance your preparation without sacrificing any of the traditional exercises planned for the main bulk of the workout. So if your cardio workout is going to entail some intervals on a treadmill, try performing your warm up on Power Plate prior to the session to optimize the results of your workout while reducing risk of potential injury.
Another way of becoming familiar with Power Plate is to integrate tools or stimuli which are already present in your training. Adding equipment such as dumbbells, TRX, ViPR™, sandbags or medicine balls, allows you to interact with what I call familiar toys, which you understand and are comfortable with. This strategy often opens up the mind of the participant to new ways of moving and to a whole new batch of exercises that can be slotted into existing programs. The video below is a great example of merging traditional strength based exercises with vibration using a whole host of other tools:
Using Power Plate in partnership with other great pieces of equipment is one of the best ways of reaching your aspirations whether utilised as a rehabilitation tool, sport performance platform or a way to speed up weight loss. So the next time you enter the “toy shop”, otherwise known as the gym, please play with the best of what you have available in a logical, safe and integrated way. The results will surprise you.
By David Howatson, Performance Health Systems UK Master Trainer