If you thought vibration plates were a modern gimmick, think again. The idea of harnessing vibrations for health actually dates back to Ancient Greece. It stayed very niche until the late 19th century but has been continually developing since then. Now, you can have the benefits of vibration plates in your own home. Here’s what you need to know about them.
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What exactly are vibration plates?
Vibration plates are exactly what they sound like. They’re twin plates that vibrate at a rate chosen by the user. This forces the user’s muscles to work harder. In other words, whatever you do on a vibration plate takes more effort than doing it on a flat surface. How much more effort it takes depends on the rate of vibration.
Basically, you can think of vibration plates as being a booster to exercise rather than a form of exercise. They can benefit you even if you just stand still on them. In fact, that’s all some people can do, at least in the beginning. As always, however, the more you put into exercising on a vibration plate, the more you’ll get out of it.
Vibration plates versus Power Plates
Power Plates are just a specific brand of vibration plates. They’re a perfectly reputable brand but they’re definitely not the only one.
Vibration plate benefits
Vibration plates offer all kinds of benefits. Here are just some of them.
Vibration plates are small, light, quiet and affordable but they deliver a full-body workout with practically no impact. This makes them great for people recovering from injury and/or older people looking for a gentle form of exercise.
You can work on your own or join an online group. There are loads of free digital resources so you’ll get plenty of help tailoring your workout to suit your goals. If you want, you can condense your regular workout to save yourself precious time. Alternatively, you can push yourself a bit harder for more significant results.
A win for your muscles
Vibration plates can be used to tone all muscles. You can also target specific areas. They’ll build your core strength and stability, balance and flexibility. Add resistance bands and/or weights to enhance your upper-body workout.
All-round benefits for your body and mind
All forms of exercise boost your metabolic rate. Increasing your metabolic rate increases your circulation. This means that nutrients and oxygen are delivered more quickly and toxins are removed more quickly.
Better circulation brings all kinds of additional benefits. One of them is relief from the pain of certain conditions e.g. joint pain. Essentially, the joints get more of what they need and less of what they want. Regular exercise also helps to improve bone density.
Last, but definitely not least, exercise promotes the release of beneficial hormones such as serotonin. This is part of the reason why it helps to lower stress levels.
None of these benefits is unique to vibration plates. It is, however, fair to say that vibration plates offer a winning combination of high impact, low intensity and massive convenience. This means that it’s easier to achieve these benefits.
How to use a vibration plate properly
First of all, do actually read the manual for your vibration plate. It’s there for a reason. Make sure that you understand how to switch it on and off and how to adjust the level of vibrations.
Check out the preset programmes and make sure you’re clear on any variations in speed. Some programmes can range between very slow and very fast. This can be great for experienced users but challenging for beginners.
Set up your vibration plate where it’s going to be stable. If you have hard floors, then definitely put something underneath the vibration plate for extra grip (and soundproofing).
Once you’re happy your vibration plate is good to go, warm up yourself. Treat this as seriously as you would for any other form of exercise.
Exercising on a vibration plate
If you’re unfit, you may find it’s all you can do to stand upright on a low setting. That’s absolutely fine. Everybody has to start somewhere.
If you’re already fit, then it’s fine to test your limits but do it safely. Start on the lowest setting and stick to standing exercises such as lunges and squats. There are plenty of variations of both. You can also try keeping your feet on the vibration plate while you do sit-ups. Keep it short and sweet, e.g. 30 seconds per exercise, three rounds of each.
Once you have an idea of how you, personally, respond to the vibrations, you can start customizing your workout to suit your goals. For example, you can add the likes of hip thrusts, leg raises and planks.
Vibration plate how long to see results
Quite bluntly, that depends on a number of factors. The most important of these are your starting point and how much work you put in. If you’re unfit but willing to put in the time on the vibration plate, plus some cardio, then you can see meaningful results in as little as 4-6 weeks.
If you’re already pretty fit, then you’ll be looking at small edges rather than huge gains. In fact, you may only see a minor improvement. For you, the major gain may the high level of convenience vibration plates can offer.
Vibration plates and weight loss
Any form of exercise can help you to lose weight. In that sense, there’s nothing special about vibration plates. Where vibration plates come into their own, however, is their sheer convenience.
Most home users pass on the “gym-standard vibration plates”. These are top-of-the-range and are superb if you have the space for them. In reality, however, most people don’t. Fortunately, regular vibration plates are about the size of a shoebox, literally. They are a bit more limited, but still ample to deliver an excellent workout.
What’s more, they’re quiet. There’s a bit of a buzz when you use them, but nothing like enough to disturb roommates or neighbours. What’s more, you can make them even quieter if you put them on a rubber mat. Even a rug/carpet will soften the noise. In fact, if you can use a rubber mat on top of a rug/carpet, you’ll hardly hear any noise.
This means that you can work out every day no matter what. In fact, you can work out several times a day if you want to. Vibration plates are really easy to get out of storage and put back when you’re finished.
Vibration plate - how many calories does it burn?
How long is a piece of string? The more actively you work out, the more calories you will burn. The higher the level of vibrations you use, the more your calorie burn will be increased. It’s really impossible to be any more accurate than that.
Does a vibration plate help reduce cellulite?
A vibration plate can often help to reduce cellulite, but possibly not in the way you think. Cellulite isn’t caused by excess fat. It’s a sign that your body is taking too long to process waste. As a result, the lymph nodes, your body’s cleaners, get bloated. This leads to the appearance of “dimpling” on the skin.
The way to get your body cleaning itself more effectively is to increase your metabolism. The way to do that is to take more exercise. That’s where vibration plates come in. You can enhance the benefit by putting fewer unhealthy substances into your body. That’s not just food, it’s alcohol, caffeine, excess chemicals and tobacco as well.
Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick guide to the main pros and cons of vibration plates.
Made for modern lifestyles
The concept of vibration plates may have started in Ancient Greece, but vibration plates seem made for 21st-century lifestyles. They’re small, light, quiet, affordable and effective. You can use them in the tiniest spaces. You can even take them with you when you’re travelling.
Lots of exercise options
With preset programmes, free digital resources including video workouts and online classes, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to vary your workout. Alternatively, if you like routine, then you can do that too.
Something for everyone
Vibration plates can be used by people of all shapes and sizes, most ages and all kinds of levels of fitness. They can be used as a way to warm up and cool down before/after other forms of exercise. They can also be used as a safe way to keep active on rest days.
Vibration plates aren’t a sport, so they’re of no real interest to sports scientists. Up until now, they’ve been too niche to get much attention from scientists working in the health field. This means that most of the evidence about the effectiveness of vibration plates comes from the user community.
A lot of unrealistic marketing
Some of the marketing we’ve seen for vibration plates is a case study in setting people up for disappointment. Quite bluntly, vibration plates will not do all the work for you. They will boost the work you do yourself.
Vibration plates vary widely in quality
Admittedly this is true of most types of exercise equipment. It does, however, seem to be particularly true of vibration plates. This is probably due to their growing popularity. Do your research carefully before you invest.
Katie is our resident Editor and extremely is a well-respected voice in the world of fitness. Katie has a first-class Hons degree in Journalism and is proud to say that she has written leading entries featured in the biggest media outlets including Vogue, Women Health Magazine and CoachMag. Great outdoors and animal lover and always on the go