In this guide we will take you through a number of the health and fitness benefits of working out on a vibration plate. Covering the pros and cons in detail, talking about the types of exercises you can carry out, then finishing with some examples of workout routines for vibration plates. If you are interested in the various types of vibration plate available, they are covered in our review of the best vibration plates available in the UK. For more info on the range of exercises that can be undertaken on a vibration plate we have written this guide on vibration plate workouts.
What is a vibration plate?
If you have made it to this article you probably have a good idea on what a vibration plate is! But just in case, the video below gives a perfect quick explanation:
In summary a vibration machine is made up of a flat plate sitting on top of a motorised base. The motor in the base makes the plate vibrate. Exercises can be carried out in a number positions, from standing to lying down and everywhere in between. The vibration engages your muscles as they work to stabilise you, keeping them permanently activated. This means muscles are working to keep you balanced at all times throughout your time on a vibration plate, without a moments rest.
Benefits of exercising on a vibration plate
In the next section we are going to cover the benefits of training on a vibration plate, but before we do, take a look at this table covering the pros and cons. This guide would be a little one sided if we didn’t cover things to beware of when using a vibration plate. Therefore once we have covered the benefits we will also cover the less positive points as mentioned in the table below:
|Tones muscles||Not suitable for people with joint issues/injuries|
|Strengthens the core||Does not work cardiovascular system as much as other machines|
|Improves posture||Can cause back pain|
|Increases balance, flexibility and coordination||Not suitable for pregnant women|
|Maintains bone density||Shouldn't been used for those recovering from surgery or open wounds|
|Helps weight loss||Should only be used for 30 minutes a day|
Now let’s go into detail on each of the individual points mentioned above:
Muscle tone is a commonly used term, but the real definition can sometimes be ambiguous. What we are essentially referring to here is muscles becoming stronger, larger and therefore looking physically more defined.
Working out on a vibration plate places greater strain on muscles than performing the same exercises on a stable surface. In fact the vast majority of exercises carried out on a vibration plate are simply variations of regular body weight exercise or stretches. It’s just that muscles work harder as they have to support and balance the body as well as take it through the range of motion of the particular exercise.
Common exercises include abdominal and core exercise, lower body exercise and body weight exercises. This encompasses sit ups, squats, lunges and press ups amongst many others. All of these are strength gaining and muscle building exercises, and the vibration plate increases the difficulty. We will cover more detail on the exercises latter in this guide.
Strengthens the core
The instability caused by the vibrations makes it harder for your core (muscles of the abdomen and torso) to keep your body in an upright and stable position. They adapt to this more challenging stimulus, increasing in strength.
A strong core has many advantages in everyday life and other forms of exercise. Tightening of your core muscles will give you a slimmer look. A stronger core will stabilise you when you perform other exercises, anything from lifting weights, competitive sports, to hiking. Think of your core as the frame from which everything else is built. A weak core fails to support the rest of your body and muscles, a strong one makes everything else work better.
Posture is the position in which someone holds their body and limbs while standing or sitting. Good posture means you hold yourself in position that places the least strain on your spine. Allowing bones and joints to stay in the correct alignment so that muscles can be used properly.
Posture relies on good levels of flexibility and range of motion, along with a strong set of postural muscles, as found in your core. As vibration training works on improving all of these areas it also benefits posture.
Having good posture is very important as it lowers the risk of pain and injury. It reduces muscle fatigue as the muscles are being used efficiently, so the body actually uses less energy. Good upright posture also contributes to giving you a good appearance. While those with poor posture appear hunched over and out of shape.
Increases balance, flexibility and coordination
The increased strength in your core is a major contributory factor in increasing your balance. The body is better able to make the necessary adjustments to hold you upright when forces act against you.
Stretching on a vibration plate is more effective than stretching on a stable surface. The vibrations act to increase the range of motion in the muscles. Common stretches include those focusing on the lower body, including muscles such as the quadriceps, hip flexors, calves and abdominals.
Coordination is a function of a number of factors, including balance and flexibility, which are impacted by vibration training as described above. Further factors that impact on coordination are reaction time, strength and “body sense”.
Maintains bone density
Studies have shown that the vibrations generated by a vibration plate increase bone mineral density. This translates to stronger bones, which has its own advantages. Stronger bones decrease the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, which thins and weakens bones, especially in the elderly. Stronger bones also benefit athletic performance. Bones are the frame on which your muscles act to move your body. Stronger bones allow for greater muscle strength and better physical performance.
Helps weight loss
Working out on a vibration plate will help you lose weight. However it’s important to understand that it needs to be part of an overall lifestyle and not the only method you use.
The key to losing weight is burning more calories than you consume, by creating a calorie deficit your body will start to burn fuel stored as fat as well as from the food you eat. Therefore a well balanced diet is just as important as exercise.
Exercising on a vibration plate will help you burn calories, in fact working out a vibration plate will burn more calories than doing so on a stable surface. This is due to the extra challenge to the muscles provided by stabilising you on a moving platform.
However a vibration plate should not be your only form of exercise. It is important to include some cardiovascular training. Using a rowing machine or exercise bike is a great way to build cardio work into your routine. This is important as it provides far more of a workout to your heart and lungs than vibration plate training alone. Plus it will add to the calories burned number, meaning greater weight loss in the long run.
Not suitable for those with joint issues / injuries
If you have an existing issue or injury to one or several of your joints then avoid vibration plate training. The movement can cause a jolting sensation, which although fine for healthy joints, can cause problems with weaker ones.
Does not work cardiovascular system
A fully rounded exercise routine includes workouts that push the heart and lungs. In general a vibration plate will not raise your heart rate significantly or increase your breathing.
However it is possible to interval train with a vibration plate, leaving little time between exercises, which will improve your cardiovascular fitness. However these exercise need to be body weight exercises that require some effort, such as push ups and lunges, and not static stretching moves.
Can cause back pain
If you have lower back issues then avoid the vibration plate for the same reasons as described above for joint problems. Also over training on the vibration machine can cause issues with the lower back. These could either be related to your lower back muscles or bones in your spine. If you build up the length of time you spend on a vibration plate gradually then this is far less likely to become an issue.
Don’t use if pregnant
It is not safe to use a vibration plate when you are pregnant. If this is the case then avoid completely.
Not suitable when recovering from surgery or open wounds
Again, similar to if you have joint problems, the constant shaking movement is unhelpful when you are recovering from surgery or have an open wound. Stitches will feel very uncomfortable when you shake, as will any area that is tender due to incision.
Should only be used for max of 30 minutes
It is recommended that you use a vibration machine for a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Therefore if you want to train for a longer period, you can not carry it out fully on a vibration plate.
This is very easy to work around though. You can include body weight exercises on the floor as well as the machine, as you can with with stretches also. You would want to be including other forms of exercise into your routine anyway, so can just jump on the exercise bike or go for a run before/after the vibration plate.
Types of vibration plate exercise
This is just going to be a quick overview, however we have written a full article on vibration plate exercises providing far greater detail.
The list of exercises is extensive but common ones are variations on body weight exercises such as sit ups, push ups, squats, planks and step ups. Below is a quick overview:
Abs and core exercises
The shaking sensation that engages your muscles and requires stabilisation really gives your core and abdominal muscles a great work out. A really common way to do this is by performing a plank with part of your body, generally your forearms, but is can be your feet, balanced on the vibrating plate.
Lower body exercises
This involves having one or both on your legs on the vibrating plate. Standing in a lunge position with one leg on and one off is a popular exercise. As are standing in a squat position and trying to maintain it as the plate vibrates beneath you. To make this more demanding, performing single leg squats can take it up a notch. All of your lower body can be worked on, leading to stronger and more toned, thighs, calves and buttocks.
Body weight exercises
Push ups, squats or other traditional style body weight exercises can be carried out on a vibration plate. As can many stretching exercises as you may perform in a yoga class. The instability created by the constantly moving plate keeps the muscles engaged constantly, and recruits more muscle to stabilise and balance. This makes such exercises more challenging and therefore your get better results sooner.
Some useful vibration plate routines
As we have covered the benefits if exercising on a vibration plate, it may be of interest to you to see some examples of how you would work out on one. The following videos from JTX Fitness give great guides to beginner, intermediate and advanced level routines:
Beginner level exercise routine
Intermediate level exercise routine
Advanced level exercise routine
There are more great guides and advice courtesy of JTX Fitness on this link here.
Final thoughts on the benefits of vibration plates
Vibration plates provide a range of health and fitness benefits, from strengthening muscles and bone density, to developing balance and flexibility. Whether you are planning on using one at home or in the gym, a vibration plate will become a great addition to your workout routine.
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