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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Any advice on powerplates please?

Hi, Just wondering if anyone had used a Power Plate and if what were they like? Are they better for toning up or can you lose weight using one too? I was thinking if buying one but wanted some more info first. Thanks

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

Please find below some of the exerts from a review I wrote about powerplates. For the full article you can find it on the ‘Resources’ page of the website, towards the bottom of the article list titles: ‘Exercise Subject Index’.

What are the benefits?

Actual scientific medical research evidence for many of the benefits for vibration technology exsists with many of the actual academic literature avaliable on sites like www.powerplate.com/EN/technology/. Benefits include:

  • Immediate improvements in blood circulation
  • Increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • Increased joint range of motions
  • Decreased cellulite
  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Reduced pain and soreness
  • Faster recovery and regenration from injury and training, (research support includes Moezy et al (2008), that indicated enhanced recovery from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery using vibration technology during rehabilitation)
  • Enhanced metabolism and lymphatic flow and reductions in cortisol (which is a stress hormone)
  • Little impact on the joints and ligaments
  • Capacity for whole body massage and relaxation
  • Increases the production of collagen to encourage firmer, smoother skin
  • Helps prevent age-related muscle loss, bone density loss and skin wrinkles
  • People with medical conitions can exercise while working wothin their personal physcial limitations
  • Helps prevent injuries through enhanced propriceptive awareness and control

My View

The marketing on these vibration machines is generally misleading as the benefits are glorified with slogans such as "the 10 minute workout". What is important to remember is that 10 minutes on a powerplate is not sufficient to replace other forms of exercise and its intergration into exsiting exercise plans should be viewed as an alternative for variation rather than a sole subsitiute.

I personally rate vibration technology because the power of these machines for rehabilitation, muscle massage and relaxation are phenomenal and together with an opportunity for escapism from 'traditional' exercise, I think these will continue to grow in popularity and avaliablity.

 It is however, important that we remain critical, (perhaps even sceptical), with all 'new' technology, discoveries and theories as what we know at any given time may, in the future be shown to be wrong, (the "benefits" of smoking for example!), therefore it is worth considering the following:

There are minimal cardiovascular benefits with the powerplate and although improvements in body tone and flexibility are easily achiveved, siginificant improvements in stamina of your heart and lungs will be limited.

The cost is an issue - with 'new' technology comes an expensive new price tag with top of the range models costing around £7000. There are brands that are avaliable for less but with reduced price comes reduced durability, economic function and plate size and subsequently reduced vibration options. There are becoming increasingly avaliable in health clubs.

If you get one at home, be prepared as they are not the sort of equipment you can hide away, or just get out of the cupboard eveytime you want to use it. It would require a designated space at home if you were to purchase a personal one.

The research into the extent of contra-indications and potential issues from long-term use of vibration technology are very limited as the machines are so new. It is for this reason that I am particularly cautious about the volume and duration of use with my clients and therefore only phase its use in to their training schedules for select periods of time. It may be possible to overuse this sutbly powerful method of training and it is recommended that people don't exceed 10minutes of vibration per workout and ideally not more than 3 times a week (avoid consecutive days).

As mentioned already, it is not an all-round solution and it is wise to avoid the misunderstanding that it can replace traditional exercise. It is handy for those who want a quick workout, but the best solutions are found in combining it with other forms of exercise.

You need to start gradually by increasing the frequency slowely and make sure you stand correctly in order to optimise the benefits and ensure safe biomechanics. Try to choose a combination of compound exercises, (big muscle group exercises like squats or push-ups) and isolation exercises, (that focus on single muscles, i.e. bicep curls and front raises). This will increase the caloire burning potential of the workout.

It is easy to forget but make sure you drink enough water, as your muscles will be contracting 30-50 times more quickly, thereby generating a lot of internal heat and subsequently increasing the likelhood of dehydration.

Just a note of safety. You should consult a physican/exercise professional before beginning any exercise program, including one involving the use of a power plate machine. If you want more information and instruction regarding the use of a powerplate, one of the best sources is powerplate.com.

Hope this Helps,

Kelly

Disclaimer
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