What are Power Plates?
Power Plates emit vibration in order to stimulate contraction and relaxation of muscles. Extensive research has been done on the harmful effects that vibrations can have on the human body at high amplitudes and high frequencies. However, more recent research has proven that low amplitude, low frequency mechanical stimulation of the human body is a safe and effective way to exercise musculoskeletal structures.
What can they do?
The vibrations emitted from a power plate enhance the rate of muscle contraction from the average 1-2 contractions per second to 30-50 contractions per second. More extensive research still needs to be done on all of the effects of whole body vibration, but below are many of the suggested benefits.
-Alleviated muscle soreness
-Muscle toning/ increased strength
-Improved proprioceptive awareness
-Increased bone density
-Expedited recovery time in surgically repaired injuries
Research has demonstrated significant results in the topics of improved flexibility, muscle strengthening (compared to non-training groups), improved proprioceptive awareness, and expedited recovery time in surgically repaired ACL's (in the tests of postural control, muscle performance, and single-leg hop test).
How do I use them?
Therapeutic benefits of whole-body vibration should only be sought with a program designed by a specialist. However, general athletes already participating in training programs can use power plates for two major reasons:
- To warm up and cool down.
- To increase the difficulty of exercises
1. Warming Up and Cooling Down:
Myofascial Release is a type of massage to the connective tissue of the muscle that can be used to stretch and release tension. The vibrations from the Power Plates produce myofascial release. This type of stretching works well to "warm-up" muscles and to alleviate muscle soreness. Foam rolling is another form of myofascial release.
2. Increasing the Difficulty of Exercises
The muscle contractions induced by the vibration of the Power Plates cause the muscles to fatigue at a quicker rate, thereby increasing the exercise's difficulty.
If your goal is to warm up or cool down, you can simply stand in a half squat position or perform some light stretches on the plate, using the handles for support. If your goal is to increase the difficulty of certain exercises, below are some good body-weight exercises to perform while on the vibration plate.
-Squats, holding in an isometric position
-Single-Leg RDL (use handles for support if needed)
-Pushups (hands on the plate, feet elevated on a separate box)
-Planks (same position as pushups)
-Split Squats (rear foot elevated on a separate box)