I’ve seen some cool results with power plates and bone density. Like standing on them 10 min a day and stuff like that. Which is pretty exciting. Bone adaptations are really fun as we’re starting to understand a bit more about the physiology behind it.
Power Plate: Do Vibration Plates Work?
August 21 2010
Power plates seems to be the latest trend in the fitness indusrty. And there are number of studies done on these vibrating exercising machines. Let’s take a look at what the science say about the power plate.
What is a Power Plate?
Power Plate, one brand of vibration plate, as the name implies uses whole-body vibrations while you perform exercises on the plate.
What are the power plate performance & health claims?
The power plate company claims that power plate helps:
- increase strength & power even in elite athltes
- improve your golf performance
- prevent age-related muscle loss
- increase bone density
- remove toxins and thereby decrease cellulite
Their most marketed claim is the increase in strength and power and how it is used by elite level athletes in the NBA, NFL, and pro golf players. Here is a qoute from their website:
“For serious athletes, workouts on the Power Plate® machines enhance the results of conventional training and explosive strength training, as well as serve athletes and trainers alike to speed recovery and regeneration times. Because of the extensive academic and independent scientific research, professional sports teams throughout the world use Power Plate® machines as part of their strength and conditioning programs.”
So does power plate help in increasing strength and power?
There are number of long term studies which looked at strength, power and speed changes with vibration training. The power plate website quotes number of studies which show significant increase in strength and power. But almost all of these had serious methodological issues as shown below:
- Passive control Group: The control group in the majority of the studies did not exercise. They just sat on their butt. No wonder they saw large improvements in strength and power compared ot the control.
- Improper Control: The studies which concluded that vibration training is as effective as traditional strength training did not normalize intensity. Since the intensity was not normalized, it just could be that the intensity of exercises in both groups were similar and the vibration had nothing to do per se in the improvements.
- Proper control: Now guess what, the studies which employed a proper control where they did similar exercises without vibration saw no statistically significant difference in strength or power.
Looking at all the studies, we can conclude that:
- Strength and power: None or only minor additional effects on muscle strength and jump performance as compared with performing the same exercises without vibration.
- Speed: No improvements in speed is observed.
- Bone density: There is evidence to show it increase bone mineral density.
- Other: There is no evidence to show that it will remove toxins and decrease cellulite or improve your golf performance or prevent age related muscle loss
Can vibration training be harmful?
- OSHA: It is now well established that vibration exposure can cause harmful effects. According to OSHA (Occupational & Safety Hazard Association), long term exposure to vibration can also cause nausea, impaired vision, hyperventilation, and disorders such as White Finger Disease (Raynaud’s Syndrome), Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- There is no conclusive evidence to recommended power plate as a replacement or addition to the resistance training to improve performance.
- Besides increase in bone density , there no evidence to support the claims made by power plate.
Anoop | Sun August 22, 2010
Thanks for the comment, Karky.
I think most of the bone density stuff is coming out on postmenopausal women. And they are the ones who need it the most too.
When you do studies like this the ideal control is people doing identical exercise on the power plate with a vibration frequency which is too low to elicit any benefits. The sham control will eliminate variable problems with the placebo effects.
These are freaking expensive and goes from 4k to 10k. these guys surely know how to market.
Yeah. I’ve never seen anything indicating that it’s better than regular strength training, so there’s really not much point in buying them, except maybe for bone density purposes as you can get bone to grow without a lot of loading (not that all old people should avoid loading, but in some cases you might not want them to jump a lot, etc)
And the results with BMD aren’t only in old postmanopeusal women, but younger women as well. You don’t need a lot, either. According to this review: “Is bone formation induced by high-frequency
mechanical signals modulated by muscle activity?” standing on one of those for very short periods of time (it has to be above 2 min) can be beneficial. It seems pretty effective and not very time consuming. Too bad not everyone can have one of those standing around in their house.
I know that the power plate is not that truthful I do believe it increases bone density but not strength but if you want to shake up your strength routine try doing lunges and pushups on them.face66
Anoop | Mon August 23, 2010
Thanks for the comment.
But they have testimonials from chicago bulls, greenbay packers, squash champions, progolf players mark vestergen, clint eastwood, and so forth. So it should work (:-
Check out their website: http://us.powerplate.com/EN/index.aspx
If I was going to spend a few thousand dollars on something that vibrates I’d spend it on a massage chair. Anyone used one? Really cool.
Anoop | Sun August 29, 2010
I have used that chair. It is very relaxing!
This power plates are a big trend in the fitness industry. When they have testimonials from NFL and movie stars, pepple can’t help buy those.
Have you guys seen those twisty “Hawaiian” chairs? They’re even more ridiculous looking.
Gary | Sat September 18, 2010
The cost of a vibrating plate is more like $250 and after a day at work 10 mins just standing on one looking at the view give us a feeling of well being.
Not sure if it does what it says on the tin - But we enjoy it.
Anoop | Sun September 19, 2010
I am talking about “power plates”.There are lot of other vibrating plates brands which sell at different prices.
Glad to hear you are making some use out of it.
I have been going regularly for 20 min 4-5 times a week for the past month and think I feel better for it - not sure now after reading the above.
Why I came across your page is because I have noticed my fingers going white, blue then red again. Looking online it appears to be Reynauds Disease & wondering if the plate was a possible cause, I looked on Google and found your page. Now I am worried that the plate has caused it I have 3 wks left on my course & am wondering if I should continue.
Anoop | Sun February 06, 2011
Thanks for the comment and sorry to hear about it.
I don’t think the vibration plate is worth the risk. The benefits and risks doesn’t tally at all.
Did you go see a doctor? And I would stop using it right now and maybe trash it.
Lloyd Shaw | Sun July 03, 2011
Why would you be using it 20 mins 5 days a week. Responsible commercial studios only allow you to use it once every second day normally ?
What kind of cowboy outfit are you seeing ?
Renee@PersonalFitnessEquipmentblog | Fri August 19, 2011
Interesting to read your article and all the comments. I have heard a lot of good stuff about vibro plates, but I wouldn’t expect it to increase my strength just from standing/sitting on it.
What I would expect is an effect on balance as well as bone density, so like every other piece of exercise equipment it has to be used for the right reasons with proper instructions and together with other workouts.
But thanks for sharing interesting insights.
i work at a power plate gym in florida and i can say that this thing is no joke. In their studies as you have seen are quite obscure and they could have done a better job with execution of the tests. I have been trying to figure out how and why this thing actually works and it doesnt tell you in the text because they dont even know. it decreases the fattening hormone and increases fat burning hormones and voila i cant get above 6 percent body fat. just look at the freaking testimonials. What it really does is tune the harmonics of your cellular structure. If you dont understand anything about vibration ,frequency or energy (quantum mechanics) it will not make sense. thats why only smart old rich people tend to use it. Ive been doing athletic training for the last 8 years and ive been doing the power plate for 2 months and my physique improved faster than anything ive ever seen before.
Anoop | Mon January 23, 2012
The late night TV ads for ab machines have great testimonials too! Hope you bought a few of them too.
hi does the vibro plate still work if you dont do the exersies and just stand on it, will it help you loose weight just by standing on it
Anoop | Sat February 11, 2012
What makes you think that it will help you lose weight by just standing on it?
I had heard about these vibration machines about a year ago from my chiropractor for building bone density and started doing my research on vibration machine reviews online. While it does seem like there are so many cheap knock offs out there I was looking at the Powerplate brand that has a medical device number from the FDA, which means they have proven it does what they say it does, it’s the one my chiropractor uses but it is very expensive (over $9,000!) and I don’t a full blown commercial machine for my house. The more research I did I found that the type of movement is very important; moving in 3 fields, up and down, side to side, and back and forth is what all the positive research pointed to. The frequency range it can go to will make a difference, mine goes up to 50hz same as commercial powerplates! The machines weight is also important especially for balance and strength use, you don’t want it to tip over when leaning back into a deep squat or stretch. I tried out a few different models and brands at my local fitness store which really helped me see the difference in quality. The inexpensive ones were not even close to the sturdiness and quality I was feeling using the one at the Dr.’s office. I found a great machine I am really happy with and after 6 month of using it 4 days a week I am happy to report I am no longer in osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) and have actually had an measurable increase in bone density! I am buying a vibration machine for my mom now because she has osteoporosis and has been on medicine for a few years now with no benefit (and a bunch of scary side effects). I’ll keep you posted but I could not be more thrilled with the 3G AVT Vibration machine I bought, well worth it! -J’aime
Lloyd Shaw | Sun April 08, 2012
Warning to readers…
Jane / Jaim’e etc…. is a viral marketer for a brand of cheap plastic machines. A bunch of them are bombing the net now with fake ” pleased consumer feedback reports” .
It is in fact a direct copy of a Power Plate, which in itself is a fake machine pushed by dishonest marketers.
So Jane is promoting a copy of a fake. With all the same 3D, do lunges on the machine BS.
A message to 3G AVT….
We will now make sure every post you put up on any forum has this warning behind it. You blew it.
Well my thoughts are very different.
YOu have taken all this time to write this down rather than go and do the research yourself! Therefore I can’t take you seriously at this point.
I have been using Power plate for 8 years and so far I have not had any long term damage you have mentioned. Also it would be great to have a link to OSHA website where I can read about how bad power plate is.
It is always much easier to pin point the bad stuff, isn’t it.
You obviously are not aware of how amazing this piece of equipment is!
I have personally had experienced a 35 year old rehabilitating after stroke starting on a walking stick to walk absolutely perfectly after few months of training. It changed her life. As well as 65 years old man rehabilitating from HIp and Shoulder replacement! He would never go to the gym. Group of 80 - 85 year old people who would never be able to lift a 1 KG dumbell without hurting themselves! Young 25 year old girl - lost 15 kg of pure fat in few months, changed body shape completely! 30 year old having serious problems with back, beign told to don’t exercise upper body at all and builded up strenght to perform any exercise given! Few cases of rehabilitation from injuries, lower back pains, headaches, operations….... You obviously have no idea that that vibration machine you are talking about has changed many people’s life and in much shorter time than a resistance training if you compare time spent exercising.
Well, I think there is always room for improvement so I would compare all researches possible- GOOD AND BAD and try it myself for a while to see what I am talking about and then talk and share with other people!!!
I do love any type of execise - resistance, cardio and Power plate. But I try it myself before I open my mouth!
Lloyd Shaw | Fri February 01, 2013
Power Plate Int is now in admins.
And with most of its equipment now broken or unfix-able….... I bet no-one will take direct responsibility for anyone that has been mislead about Power Plates product.
Yes real machines work well. But fake equipment only hurts Vibration Trainings reputation.