ASK DAVID GRISAFFI - THE ABS GURU - Q & A
Is Vibration Platform Training A Legitimate Exercise Breakthrough?
Dear David, I was just reading about the Power Plate Vibration machine in a magazine. Apparently Madonna uses it to strengthen and build her muscles, and there was also a positive article about this in the Daily Telegraph. Apparently these machines cost of £2,600! They say it can do in 10 minutes what you would get from an hour of weight training. It was developed years ago from technology used by the Russian astronauts to stop muscle wastage when they were in space. Have you heard of this and do you think it could do what it claims to do? Not that I can afford to buy one, but I might try a class if there is ever one this offered this way.
After more than 11 years in the fitness industry, I have lost count of how many exercise machines I've seen pop up out of nowhere, take their place as the hot item in the equipment marketplace, only to fizzle out or even completely disappear in a few years, or in some cases, just a few months.
I'm here to tell you that after the many years of time, effort and research that went into the development of my Firm And Flatten Your Abs system, no where in the pages of my book will ever hear me say that it’s quick and easy or it only takes 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week to get a fantastic body. Getting in top condition takes time, effort and discipline. Human beings were made to MOVE - not sit!
If you only knew how much your movement patterns affected your physique and overall health, you would be astonished. Instead of taking the time to learn how our real genetic programming affects us and how movement works best for us to become fit, we tend to jump on the latest fad thinking it’s the breakthrough that will finally get the job done.
Remember, we need movement to be healthy and our instincts tell us that, but our impatience and emotions sometimes get the best of us and we perk up whenever something new comes out promising us an easier way with less time and effort involved.
In this quest after the “next big thing,” we chase after every fitness product, program and supplement on the market. Occasionally, some are developed which do have benefits, but most do not. Then you realize you just flushed a few hundred (or a few thousand) more dollars down the toilet.
I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to be trained by internationally recognized exercise kinesiologist Paul Chek and to have received three separate certifications from Paul’s organization. In Paul's Nutrition and Lifestyle Internship Course, we learned many different facts about on how food affects your mood, your health, your body and your metabolism. We learned how eating the wrong foods can and does contribute to fat gain.
But perhaps even more important, we learned how important exercise and movement patterns are to the results we achieve in our fitness programs. This training has given me the skills and wisdom to allow me to very quickly come to logical (and usually correct) conclusions about the latest fitness equipment craze, even before all the research evidence has been laid on the table, which I gladly share with my clients and readers.
The latest rage in fitness equipment is the Power Plate.
The power plate is a device which, depending on what model you use, is about the size of an upright scale. This device is being touted by some as the best fitness invention ever. The hype is overwhelming, and also quite convincing when users include celebrities like Madonna, athletes like Shaquille O'Neal and even professional sports teams.
I find it somewhat intriguing how this piece of equipment has made it into the mainstream with celebrity endorsers. My guess is “marketing 101” and the never-ending quest for higher cash flow. This machine costs almost $10,000 dollars! Heck, if you want “vibration,” why not just jump up and down on the floor – that’s free!
The plate vibrates at 30-90 times per second and the makers promise that you can stand on it for 15 minutes a day, three days a week and lose body fat, tighten muscles, and reduce your waist line. The technology was originally developed in Russia to help astronauts maintain muscle mass and bone density while in space. In 1999, the modern version of the PowerPlate was developed by a Dutch Olympic trainer who then marketed the machine to health and fitness industry.
Dr. William Kramer, the renowned strength and conditioning researcher, said in a recent interview that “There might be something there” because the vibration plate causes more activation due to the body gently being asked to stabilize using what we call the proprioceptive mechanism with the golgi tendons to stimulate more muscle activity. However, Kraemer also said that, “The application of the right prescription is little unclear" and "it is an emerging area with a lot of people making hypothesis and guesses, so the jury is still out.”
I can see some possible applications for older people with osteoporosis and arthritis, but the claims that are being made are stretching the truth behind the little data that is available so far.
Keep in mind, if you use one (very expensive) machine like this, you are only going to get the benefits that this one machine offers. If you were to use a vibration training machine, it should be coupled with other activities and exercises to balance your development and improve your overall health. Relying on only one piece of equipment or one mode of fitness is almost always a big mistake.
While there are a few scientific papers starting to come out, there is really not much solid science yet to back up the claims being made at this point. Some studies are “encouraging”, say the researchers, but they are too preliminary and have not been repeated over a long period of time to be definitive. Other studies show no benefits at all.
I decided to do some of my own research. I spoke with a few other fitness experts to get their thoughts the viability of the power plate. Ori Hofmekler, author of the popular fitness book, "The Warrior Diet" says "The Power Plate has minimal application in the real world. It's just a bunch of hype without solid science backing up the claims."
According to Hofmekler, to achieve the fitness and fat loss claims being made for this device, you have to eliminate poor food choices, decrease estrogen-based food products, and get your butt up and move. Human beings were designed to move. Sitting on a plate “vibrating” goes against every human evolutionary development, not to mention it goes against simple common sense.
I also asked internationally recognized fitness expert Paul Chek, from the Chek Institute in Southern California, about vibration training and he said, "There are some benefits to the power plate, but from what I can see, they are transitory."
Paul even wrote a poem about the PowerPlate and I think you will get a kick out of this…
Ode To A Power Plate
The power plate,
will shake you,
Even your bones...
The power plate will do magic,
but so will sitting quietly,
The power plate is a new idea,
but taking care of your "Self" isn't,
So, do you want a $9,000 vibrator,
Or, to your "Self"...
...Can you be True?!
Power plates, counters, beepers, tweeters, horns,
Where is the laziness buzzer,
That seems to be so lazy...
Does your mirror warn?
You can pay to have a high speed jiggle,
Or you and KC can, Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake your Booty!
You can plug the power plate in and turn it on,
but will it keep you slim,
if you’re always gone, too many things to "DO"?
There's a great workout,
Wrapped all around you,
Work out your sore spots,
Melt down you fat too,
May I suggest some regularity,
as a change for you,
For even with a new power plate,
won't chase after you!
Vibration training is a subject that deserves more study, not only to confirm or refute specific claims being made, but also so we can be sure this type of machine is not damaging in any way, as we already know there are numerous conditions which contraindicate the use of vibration plates. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to vibration training machines.
If I’ve sounded skeptical, cynical or critical, it's’s not because I believe these devices don't have any potential benefits at all. As the esteemed Dr. Kraemer pointed out, "There might be something to it." I am simply saying to you, be discerning when it comes to how far the claims for new equipment “breakthroughs” are stretched and don't be swept up in the hype of every new device that comes down the pike with movie star or pro athlete endorsers. Rest assured, there will be another, and another and another!
David Grisaffi has been a sports enthusiast his entire life. He participated in football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, tennis, and baseball, and excelled at wrestling. His love for sports led him into a career in sports conditioning and fitness training. David majored in physical education and holds multiple certifications including three from the prestigious CHEK Institute: Level II high Performance Exercise Kinesiologist, Golf Biomechanic, and health and lifestyle counselor. He also holds certifications from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) as a personal trainer and specialist in performance nutrition. David has been a high school wrestling and baseball coach and is currently an independent trainer and strength coach. He has been sought after by some of the top athletes in professional sports including world champion boxer Greg Haugen and professional golfer Michael Putnam. David’s ebook, Firm And Flatten Your Abs is an online best seller which teaches you how to lose body fat, develop “six pack abs’ while improving strength, function and athletic power at the same time. You can contact David or learn more about his programs at www.FlattenYourAbs.net .