Exercising on a vibration plate will provide a varied and full body workout. As long as you do it properly! Far too often people use a vibration plate, but completely under-utilise what can be achieved with it. If you’ve seen someone at the gym simply standing on it for a few minutes holding the handles, then moving on to the next machine, they are one of those people!
Instead, a vibration plate should be used to make body weight exercises such as press ups, squats and lunges more challenging. The moving plate makes the surface you are training on unstable. Which in turn makes muscles work harder to keep you balanced and stable. This additional stimulus provides a greater workout, helping you achieve greater results from your fitness regime.
This guide describes how to use a vibration plate, gives pros and cons of working out this way, and provides a detailed explanation of how to carry out a number of the most popular exercise moves. If you are interested in purchasing a vibration plate to use at home check out our vibration plate review article. If you are planning on using one regularly in your local gym, then try and memorise the routines below. That way you’ll be making much more of it than the person standing stationary next to you!
What is a vibration plate?
The video below gives a good explanation on what a vibration plate is and how you would use one.
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.
What form of exercise do you get on a vibration plate?
Although the vibrating action may not look significant at first glance, once you try out a vibration plate you will really notice the difference. Exercises that you would normally do on a stable surface become far harder to perform. This increased difficulty means you get a tougher workout for the same amount of time spent. Plus muscles develop quicker under this different stimulation.
Before going into detail on a number of exercises here is a quick overview of the main categories of exercise involved in vibration plate training:
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
Performing push ups, sit ups or other traditional style body weight exercises can be done 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 you achieve better results sooner.
Before we move on to describe exercises in detail take a quick glance at the pros and cons of working out on a vibration plate.
Pros and cons of vibration plate exercise
|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|
Can you use a vibration plate for weight loss?
Will regular exercise on a vibration plate help you lose weight? The short answer is yes. But 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.
The exercises below will help you burn calories, in fact carrying them out on 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.
Top vibration plate exercises
For videos of the exercises covered below, check the guides on this link to JTX Fitness.
Improve your core strength and stability by working on your lower abdominal muscles with a plank. It’s good for reducing lower back pain and rehabilitation, as well as part of a rounded exercise regime. Traditionally performed on the floor, performing it on a vibration plate makes it even more challenging.
You may wish to put a soft mat down on the plate for comfort. Your elbows need to be placed on the plate with your legs out behind you, feet together. Hold yourself straight with abdominals, glutes and hamstrings held tense. You should feel as though you are gently pulling the plate towards you.
If you are new to this it may take a while until you can hold it for a significant period. Just keep practising and progressing. For an easier way to get started you can begin by resting on your knees rather than your feet.
A side plank focuses on the lateral abdominals, the muscles on the side of your torso. It helps with posture and slimming the waist. It will also work on the arms and shoulders. Again this exercise is usually performed on the floor but using a vibration plate makes it more intense.
Place a forearm on the plate, stretch your legs out in front of you and place one foot on top of the other. Your whole body needs to stay in one straight line from your head through your torso and legs.
Shoulders are pushed down as the hips push up to keep you straight, with tension held in the lateral abs. Hold steady without moving, engage the core to maintain a strong pose to maximise the benefits.
You need to perform on both sides of the body to create muscle balance. If one side is stronger to start with concentrate on getting the other to the same level.
Push ups are one of the best exercises for working the muscles in the shoulders, back, chest and arms. They generate great strength, muscle endurance and tone. They are a functional exercise as they work a number of muscle groups all at once. As well as strength they also develop flexibility and promote bone density.
Start by placing both hands on the vibration plate shoulder width apart, with fingers facing inwards, and kneeling on the floor. Keep your back straight and tense your abdominal muscles.
Then slowly bend at the elbows to perform a basic push up movement. To progress move from knees on the floor to pushing feet further back and balancing on your toes. This places greater tension on the muscles to create stability and balance. Always keep a firm and neutral spine position throughout.
Bent Over Pull
This exercise requires a vibration plate that has static power arm straps.
The bent over pull targets muscles in the arms and back, building strength and muscle tone. It also improves stability, working muscles in the legs and core.
Face the vibration plate with knees slightly bent and toes close to the machine. Hold the straps and pull upwards while pushing out your chest, elbows should come backwards at a 90 degree angle, with shoulder blades squeezing together.
Ensure that the strength for the pull comes from the muscles in your mid and upper back. Plus that your spine remains in a neutral alignment with shoulders down. Hold a static position for the duration of this exercise, 30 seconds to start with and increasing as you get stronger.
Sit up / crunch
Crunches are a good way to build and strengthen your core muscles, helping with balance and posture. They can also help to tighten and narrow your waist. When you carry them out on a vibration plate it adds an extra intensity to the exercise as you stabilise yourself.
Our core muscles are extremely important, they underpin everything we do from sitting ,to standing, to any form of functional movement. Make sure you use correct technique however to avoid injury and get the most effective results.
You may wish to place a soft mat over the plate to make it more comfortable. Lie on your back with legs up at a 90 degree angle. Put your hands behind your head to provide some support. Hold your elbows back and squeeze your core muscles to bring your upper body towards your legs in a smooth, steady motion.
It is important not to pull with your arms or put any strain on your neck. Hips and lower back need to stay in contact with the plate. To add the next progression of difficulty, hold yourself in place for a period at the uppermost part of the exercise.
Squats are a very simple yet effective exercise to perform and should be part of any training routine. The main muscles engaged are the thighs and calves, improving strength, endurance and tone. They are a great way to get lean, toned legs. As well as the legs, squats also engage the core muscles, as you keep your torso upright throughout the range of movement.
Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart on the plate and distribute weight evenly on both feet. Hold the bars and with a straight back, gently bend at the knees and sit back. You can either hold the position with knees bent or push back up to the starting position to carry out several squats.
As well as strengthening your muscles this exercise is also a great way to train balance and stability.
The lunge is a great exercise for working the calf and glute muscles, building strength and tone. It’s also a good way to warm up as it stretches major muscle groups used in leg exercises. Lunges can performed statically or in a dynamic motion. As well as working muscles lunges are a great way to work on balance and flexibility.
Begin by placing one foot in the centre of the plate and step backwards with the other, planting it firmly on the ground. The front knee must stay directly above the ankle, with the quad muscles in the front of your thigh tensed.
Hold your shoulders back with your head up, facing forwards, push the hips forward and tense your muscles as if you were trying to push your front foot through the plate. This exercise will challenge all of the muscle groups of the lower body, the glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves.
Make sure you alternate between legs to get a balanced workout, and repeat the lunges several times. As you get stronger you can increase the number of repetitions and length of time you hold each lunge for.
Strengthening the calves helps stabilise your ankles and feet, preventing common running injuries. Calf muscles are used all the time but often suffer a lack of attention. Tight calves can shorten calf muscles which in turn lead to a plethora of other leg problems. Regularly carrying out this exercise will prevent calf muscle issues.
Start by standing on the centre of the vibration plate with feet evenly distributing your body weight. Rise up onto the balls of your feet, hold the position and stay balanced. Ensure your back stays straight and abdomen is held tight. You will feel tension in your calf muscles, lower yourself down to the starting position. Repeat the exercise for a minimum of 30 seconds.
When you are ready to add variation and difficulty to the exercise, bend your knees while keeping your weight on the balls of your feet. This increases the stretch and the benefits to your calf muscles.
The quadriceps stretch strengthens the muscles in the upper leg as well as helping blood circulation and reducing the risk of common knee injuries. It is often used to alleviate lower back pain and will work to increase your lower body flexibility.
You may wish to place a soft mat on top of the plate during this exercise for comfort. Start by resting one shin on the vibration plate, with your foot hanging off of the back. Then place your other foot in front of you with knee bent at 90 degrees. Put your hands on your hips and tense the muscles in you abdomen. Gently push forwards with your pelvis and apply downwards pressure to the heel of your front foot.
Once your start to feel the stretch on your hips, stop, and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch two more times before returning to the starting position, switch legs and repeat the process. It is important o maintain a good posture with straight back throughout the stretches.
Make sure you work on both legs equally, and do not overstretch the quadriceps. Yow should feel a stretch along the muscles but not any pain.
Vibration plate routines
Now we have covered a number of vibration plate exercises individually, it’s a good idea to look at how to incorporate them all into a routine. Below are 3 videos, again from JTX Fitness.
The level of difficulty increases as the videos progress, start with the beginner level and progress to advanced as you become stronger and more accustomed to vibration plate exercise.
Beginner level exercise routine
Intermediate level exercise routine
Advanced level exercise routine
Final thoughts on vibration plate exercise
Regular exercise on a vibration plate is a great addition to any fitness workout regime. As with any form of training it is important to build up your capability steadily, and not push too hard too soon. If you do you will start to see the benefits that training this way can bring. If I had to pick out the biggest gain you will get from working out on a vibration plate, it would be the strengthening of your core muscles. Remember it is important to mix up your workouts, so include cardio training and some resistance work as well for a full rounded fitness program.
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