Dual-international athlete and former UK Gladiator, Caroline Pearce has been an advocate of Power Plate for over 12 years, and with good reason. After suffering a serious knee injury at the height of her athletic career, and subsequent muscle wastage, Caroline was open to all methods of rehabilitation, and none were more effective than Power Plate. Caroline felt deep contractions inside muscles, which had essentially been switched off, and became fascinated with both the technology and a relatively new company at the time. This fascination turned into passion, and a long-lasting relationship was born.
With a proven track record of transforming bodies through whole body vibration, countless endorsements not only from celebrities worldwide, but also astronauts who use vibration training to help combat muscle and bone loss, which naturally occurs at a rapid rate with prolonged exposure to zero gravity, and advocates praising vibration training for reducing their workout time by two-thirds, it’s little wonder we’re seeing an increase in vibration plates in our gyms and fitness studios around the nation. But as I’ve learned, not all vibration plates are created equal and deliver the results they claim, so let’s break it down.
WHY TRAIN WITH VIBRATION?
Vibration creates a destabilising effect on your muscles, which means that when you stand on a vibrating platform your stabilising muscles around your ankles, knees and hips are activated in order to maintain your balance. The benefit of making your stabilising muscles work harder is it improves your proprioception (ability to control your limbs without actually looking at them), balance, and encourages a much higher percentage of muscle fibre activation.
A standard training range on a vibrating platform is between 25-50 Hz, which means that the platform is vibrating 25-50 times per second. So let’s do the math: When you stand on the platform in a pre-tense position, such as holding a squat for 30 seconds at 30 Hz, you’ll produce 900 muscle contractions in that 30 seconds, it’s acceleration training at it’s best – an increase in both workout intensity and muscle activation in a shorter period of time, and when your muscle fibres are contracting at this rate the result you’re getting is better definition, tone and strength.
WHY WORKOUT WITH POWER PLATE?
Power Plate is the only medically approved vibration device on the market, and with more than 15 years experience in whole-body vibration training and scientifically-established health and fitness benefits, Power Plate is used and trusted by many of the best sports teams and athletes around the world. So now we know the world backs the brand, what can Power Plate do for us?
BENEFITS OF WORKING OUT WITH POWER PLATE
The average person recruits roughly 40-50% of their muscle fibres in any given muscle, of course there are factors that can influence this, such as how heavy you’re lifting, but on average Power Plate is able to engage up to 80-90% of muscle fibres making it a much more efficient way to train. The flow-on effect of this is effectively greater muscle pump action – an ability to deliver more oxygen to our muscles through increased blood flow, the removal of toxins and lactic acid at a faster rate due to increased lymph flow, which has the added benefit of a faster recovery of damaged muscles and soft tissue, whilst also aiding in pain reduction. For those who can’t strength-train conventionally, Power Plate also offers a much kinder way of working out for your joints as there’s no impact, it’s purely creating an internal muscle contraction. Power Plate is also great for elderly people (providing no cardiovascular illness, always check with your doctor first) or people rehabilitating injuries because it strengthens bone mass as well as muscle mass.
A humans organs vibrate between 15-20 Hz, but Power Plate starts vibrating at 25 Hz and the reason for this is that when two frequencies are exactly the same they can resonate and interfere, so it always pays to be cautious of lower frequency vibration platforms. However, a higher frequency also isn’t effective because once you’re training at 50 Hz, your neurons aren’t capable of sending messages to your muscles to contract at that speed. Power Plate workouts are between 25-40 Hz and use 50 Hz for muscle massage only.
HOW TO WORKOUT WITH POWER PLATE
The advertorials we see on TV depicting a person quite simply standing on the vibrating platform exerting zero effort as their fat seemingly melts away before our eyes, sadly isn’t true. You have to work with the machine and exercise your body to get the results, but the beauty is there are many different exercises and methods of training you can incorporate into your routine to continually mix it up and avoid the dreaded boredom that repetitive exercise often promotes.
Common workout methods include static and dynamic training. Static is where you essentially hold a select exercise for a period of time, an example of this is holding a squat or a plank for 30 seconds, whilst dynamic is moving up and down or through the range of movement of an exercise. If you want to increase the intensity, try incorporating explosive exercises into your workout, such as squats in a plyometric fashion. Each one offers different benefits, and although with explosive you’re not getting the prolonged muscle pretension, jumping onto a destabilising platform definitely challenges your stability and balance.
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to training on a Power Plate, you can do your whole workout in a static fashion , or you can increase your cardio and train more dynamically, a mixture of the two is also a great challenge. But if you want to increase the intensity further, try adding in dumbbells, fitballs or cables.
Like all strength training, rest days are required for your body to recover and regenerate itself. Pearce recommends three training sessions per week for 20-30 minutes interspersed with other cardio and weight training sessions.
TRAIN LIKE A GLADIATOR
Former UK Gladiator Pearce, has designed a series of Power Plate workouts focusing on key areas of strength, endurance and flexibility. Inspired by the way she trained as an athlete, Pearce knows how to get results in terms of short recoveries, rotating body parts and achieving a high metabolic effect, all whilst keeping it fun.
The ‘Train Like A Gladiator’ series includes:
- The Gladiator Workout A total body, high-intensity workout following Pearce’s body-part rotation system (legs, arms, abs) with a cardio burner interspersed
- Train Like A MMA Fighter As a host for UFC, and inspired by the way the MMA fighters train, Pearce designed this class around their training and conditioning principles. This fast-paced, high power class involves partner interaction, gloves, pads, level changes and core work
- 360 Degree Abs As the name suggests, this Power Plate workout tackles and challenges your core from all angles including central abdominals, obliques, back, glutes and shoulders
Think you’re ready to take your training to the next level? Caroline Pearce’s ‘Train Like A Gladiator’ Power Plate group fitness classes are currently running across all Virgin Active Health Clubs in Australia.