Singapore Personal Trainer Explains - Is vibration plate training useful for you?

Published: 13th August 2009
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Just a while ago, I received a large bunch of publicity emails sent to Singapore fitness boot camp instructors and personal trainers about "power plate" or "vibration plate" certification courses.

I am always trying to improve my knowledge so that I can help clients better and get them results more quickly...but we also should be picky about the kinds of methods we use.

"Power plate" is a cool name, but for a machine costing about 10,000 SGD per piece it better do more than sound cool. We could set up a decent small gym or home gym for the price of that machine alone!

What is a powerplate? It is a surface about 1m by 1m in size that vibrates. That is it.

What does it claim to do? It claims to improve your blood circulation, flexibility, and increase bone and muscle strength.

Possible... yes!

But I believe only for a VERY untrained or elderly patient and only for a limited time till be the body gets used to it.

The claim about boosting flexibility does hold some interest for me. The reason for this is that fast vibrations are known to "turn off" what are known as spindle cells in your muscles. These Spindle cells are in all of our muscles and they report to our body changes in the lengths of our muscles.

So if we turn them off using vibrations from a power plate, you don't "tighten up" when you try to stretch, so you can improve flexibility. The usual "stretch reflex" is turned off. (you know, the one where you spasm if you stretch too far beyond your current flexibility)

However... if you do this too much, you might "turn off" the spindle cells too much and then your body will lose coordination because it has no clue how long the muscles are and how fast their length is changing.

In addition this stretch reflex has a role in producing speed and power, and this may decrease as well.

Finally, the stretch reflex is an injury prevention mechanism in your muscles so if you turn it off long term its bad news for preventing muscle tears/pulls.

Also, any good flexibility program can get you to improve flexibility and range of motion without these side effects.

In conclusion, I don't have an issue so much with the power plate or vibration platform. I am just concerned that it is not good value and that its claims are overblown. For the price, get yourself a good set of weight plates, bar, power rack and dumbells!

NOTE: Most countries have laws against how many hours per day you can operate heavy machinery like jackhammers. This is because constant vibration is not a good idea for your body especially internal organs. Please consider this when deciding if a vibration platform is the kind of device you want to choose to train on.


Coach Jonathan Wong, is a sought after Singapore personal trainer and performance expert who has helped hundreds of clients in Singapore achieve their fitness, fat loss and sports performance goals. He Is also a fitness author, fitness bootcamp owner and a member of Singapore Men's Health Advisory Panel. Visit his website and blog for a free 1500 page e-book and constant updates.

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