How Vibration Training Improves Sports Performance and Health

We tried the Power Plate FitStop whole-body vibration trainer at STACK HQ. Here's what we learned.

Whole-body vibration training is making how we train more effective. Many pro teams and elite performance facilities employ this method with their athletes, and it's increasingly becoming available in facilities around the country.

STACK had the opportunity to demo the Power Plate my7 FitStop, a cutting-edge product by the leader in whole-body vibration training. This unit is designed for an office environment, but it has many of the same features and benefits as the models found in weight rooms.

Power Plates are typically used by strength coaches for dynamic warm-ups and recovery workouts, and by physical therapists for rehab and injury prevention routines. Here are a few of the benefits:

Improves Blood Flow

Performing exercises on a Power Plate increases blood flow to the skin, which indicates improved circulation. Just three minutes of exercise on a Power Plate increases blood flow for 10 minutes, making it a great way to warm up the body. Also, it was found that whole-body vibration training might reduce muscle soreness.

Increases Joint Stability and Balance

In patients recovering from ACL surgery, the Power Plate was 22 times more effective at improving knee stability compared to conventional rehab exercises. This makes it a powerful rehab tool, helping to speed up the recovery process. However, it also shows that whole-body vibration training is an invaluable tool for preparing the body for intense workouts and competition by activating the muscles that stabilize the joints. 

Builds Lean Muscle Mass

Performing Squats on a Power Plate increases strength like squatting on stable ground. But using the Power Plate produces  an increase in lean muscle mass, possibly because of the muscles' increased time under tension when they work against the vibration.

WATCH: NFL Prospects Perform Power Plate Push-Ups

Burns Extra Fat

Whole-body vibration training has been shown to decrease visceral fat, which is stored deep in the abdomen around organs. Individuals who used a Power Plate during a fat-loss program lost 10 percent of their body weight and maintained their weight loss after 12 months. Those who used a diet or fitness weight-loss program experienced inferior results, and they returned to their previous weight after 12 months. Also, the Power Plate has been shown to reduce cellulite.

Because of these benefits, the Power Plate has many uses besides dynamic warm-ups. Brian Nguyen, who trains actor Mark Wahlberg, adds the Power Plate to TRX Atomic Push-Ups to create a brutal upper-body and core-strengthening exercise.

WATCH: Mark Wahlberg's Core Routine

For our purposes, we use the Power Plate to maintain our bodies in the office. Sitting in a chair at a computer beats up the body, causing tight hips, back pain and poor posture. As an athlete, you might not sit in an office, but odds are you sit in a chair for the majority of your day—even if you're extremely active.

I consistently work to counteract the effects of working at a computer, but find I still tighten up over the course of a day. Using the Power Plate twice a day for about five minutes each alleviates many of the negative side effects of sitting. My hamstrings and hip flexors open up, and my posture improves. I especially feel the benefits in my t-spine (i.e., mid to upper back), where I have some tightness.

The program below focuses on common problem areas, and is great for both athletes and office workers.

Deep Squat

Deep Squat

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hamstring Stretch

 Hamstring Stretch

Lat Stretch

 Lat Stretch

Chest Stretch

 Chest Stretch

Plank

Plank


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: WARM-UP | STRETCHING | WORKOUT RECOVERY | HIP FLEXOR | POWER | EXERCISE | TRAIN | RECOVERY | POSTURE | MUSCLE MASS | LEAN MUSCLE