Imagine vibrating your way to a leaner and more toned physique without doing anything other than standing on an electric plate that sends energy waves to your body for 10-minutes per day. This is the picture that infomercials paint in the minds of prospective buyers, and therefore, it comes as no surprise when suspicious people ask, “Can I really laze my way to health?” The short answer to this is both a yes and no because vibration plates, while extremely convenient, are just not for everyone.
People ask questions about vibration plates because this workout tool seems too good to be true. And when something sounds too good to the ears, it leads to doubts. For example, you may be wondering how is it even possible that vibration plates can help you attain health. You may also be concerned about the safety issues when it comes to subjecting your body to frequent vibrations.
If you’re considering the purchase of this exercising equipment, but have doubts about its usefulness, then read on. The following article will help you find answers regarding the safety and effectiveness of vibration plates, and this information will be of invaluable help if you’re thinking of venturing into whole body vibration (WBV) training.
The Basic Premise of Vibration Plates
There are many people who have doubts about the effectiveness of vibration plates as exercising aids. While opinions remain divided, whole body vibration training actually works. Not only is the science behind this exercising method rational, it’s also based on proven physiological principles. Most of the criticism from some circles is not based on ignorance, but rather, a lack of information. Once you understand how vibration plates work, you’ll be able to dispel your doubts.
Vibration plates induce what physiotherapists call the “stretch flex”. In simple terms, this basically refers to the same effect that occurs when a doctor taps your knee with a reflex hammer to induce stimuli. In that scenario, your leg kicks out without you initiating the movement. Vibration plates work in the same way by instigating involuntary muscle contractions as your body counteracts to remain balanced on the unstable platform. Standing on a vibration plate can cause up to 3000 muscle contractions in one minute.
The Positive Effects of Using Vibration Plates
So, what is the link between stretch reflexes and the benefits that vibration plates claim to offer? For starters, the rapid contractions of muscle cells at 30 to 50 times every second actually work as a pump on the lymphatic glands and blood vessels, increasing the speed of fluid flow in the body. Increased blood flow at healthy levels allows every cell in the body to receive optimum oxygen and nutrients. And with your lymph fluid flowing better, your body’s immune functions gets a boost since white blood cells are easily transported where they’re needed.
The different intensities and speeds that you can set on a vibration plate put varying stress on your muscles. In response, the body adapts to this by increasing its muscle fiber to boost strength and performance. Most people using vibration plates describe the feeling of a burning sensation as the machines work the muscles. Exercising on a vibration plate therefore helps you burn calories to fuel your muscles.
Other than its influence on the muscles, whole body vibration also has a positive effect on your bone mineral density. This is brought about by the gradual and repeated pull of muscles on the bones. Vibrations from an electric plate activate bone-building cells (also known as osteoblasts), which compress and remodel bone tissues. Elderly people who suffer from osteoporosis can benefit a lot from light vibration training exercises.
Increased balance, flexibility, and good postural control are some additional benefits you can get from whole body vibration training.
How Good Are Vibration Plates?
The degree of effectiveness a vibration plates machine can deliver all depends on how you use it. Should you choose to use this method of fitness training, you must first know what exactly it is that you want to achieve so that you can customize your workout based on your fitness goals. For instance, a person who wants to increase upper body strength won’t get the desired results by simply standing on a vibration plate. A more apt approach would be to use arm straps that come with the vibration plate to perform bicep curls or do dynamic upper body routines like push-ups on the vibrating platform.
The good thing about vibration plates is that there are many models that come with large-sized platforms that you can exercise on. So, whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, eliminate cellulite or tone your muscles, make sure to customize your vibration plate routines to fit your exercising goals.
Why Vibration Plates May Not Be Good for You
If you’re suffering from any medical condition, you should consult a doctor first before beginning any whole body vibration training. Generally, people who have the following conditions should not use vibration plates:
- Pregnant women
- Acute thrombosis conditions
- Cardio-vascular disease
- Unhealed wounds resulting from recent surgery
- Hip and knee replacements
- Acute hernia
- Wearing a pacemaker
Vibration plates pose a threat to people who suffer from certain contraindications, but even fit users face the inherent danger of developing serious health problems due to over exposure to vibrations. When overused, vibration plates subject your body to the up-and-down rocking motion that puts undue stress on the spine. This can cause back pain when certain discs slide and compress some nerves. The dangers of overusing vibration plates are many, and the consequences include damaging the nerves that affect your eyes, brain, and joints. Fortunately, these risks can be avoided by exercising in moderation. If you’re unsure of how often to exercise, speaking to a fitness expert may help.
When used properly, vibration plates provide plenty of health benefits that are anything but wild claims. Several research studies have been published proving the effectiveness of whole body vibration training in aiding weight loss, improving bone mineral density, cellulite reduction, and toning muscles.