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No, they don’t help you lose weight, but they do build bone and muscle strength
People always seem puzzled by vibration plate machines, at least that's what I've noticed at my local gym. They fiddle with the settings -- looking a little perplexed -- and then push the Start and either leap off with fright at the whole-body vibration sensation, or they stand and enjoy the experience.
But in either case, they rarely come back and even more rarely make the power plate a systematic part of their regular exercise regime. I can empathise with this as that initial whole-body vibration can actually be quite shocking, in the physical sense.
A study by Harvard Medical School found that the G-forces induced by commonly used whole-body vibration platforms can transmit forces into our brain which exceed ISO-2631 guidelines for safety - unless you flex your knees. (In fact, it is never wise to lock out your joints when using a vibration plate machine.)
So the nub of the problem in people not using the machines regularly is that they don't know how, when and why to use them.
Luckily for me, the gym keeps buying new machines to replace the old, and I keep using them.
Vibration plates can maintain and grow muscles, improve circulation, and the combination of these two benefits can improve bone strength - if you know how to use the machine. On the other hand, vibration machines are not effective for weight loss, and professional power plates are capable of transmitting excessive vibrations to the cranium.
The truth about power plate machines
I've been using vibration machines for as long as I have been going to the gym, more than 22 years. I am one of those who liked the feeling, and I was sympathetic to the idea that they might do something useful.
But I had no idea how to use them, just like everyone else had no idea. Over all those years I have learnt and experienced the pros and cons of vibration plate exercise machines.
A fad has developed around vibration machines for weight loss. This report reviewed the research and found no convincing evidence for this claim.
You can verify this lack of evidence for weight loss by searching for vibration plate before and after pictures. You will find plenty, especially from the vibration machine manufacturers. However, when you dig behind the before and after images you will inevitably find that (1) diet was the major contributor, and (2) power plates played a small role in any associated exercise regime.
However, vibration plates do have other proven benefits.
Some claim that vibration therapy was initially developed for athletes to improve the effectiveness of their training and that claims of such benefits are still unproven.
These claims are not true - on both counts. Vibration machines were not invented to improve athletic performance. But, when used for that purpose, they did have positive results as many many papers published between 1990 and 2010 verify.
The Russians developed vibration training for their cosmonauts to strengthen their bone density and strength while in space. That's how they were able to stay in space for 420 days. US astronauts had to return after only 120 days due to the rapid degeneration of their bones and muscles.
Just two principles to remember
It can seem daunting to know where to start, but there are just two simple principles:
Knowing these two principles means that you can set yourself up to do either bone and muscle stimulation (first principle), or muscle relaxation and circulation improvement (2nd principle).
Before exercising, and after
Here's what I have been doing for 20 years - using the vibration machine before and after exercising - and what I suggest for you.
Before exercising, as part of your warm-up:
You'll be done in 3 to 4 minutes.
After you exercise, as part of your warm-down, do these. I do these after I stretch:
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter