More Vibrating Machine Nonsense.

What would I do without my clients? I mean, how else could I possibly keep up to date on all the latest and greatest fitness trends (*cough cough no sleep cough)?

From today’s New York Times:

In This Workout, A Machine Does (Almost) All the Work.

I’ll give you a moment to think it over after having read it. Go on, take two. I’ll still be here.

The article mentions a product called the Power Plate. Manufactured by Power Plate USA, it comes in two models, one for home use, and one for gyms. A quick trip over to the Power Plate USA website shows that (unlike many other exercise gizmo manufacturers) these folks have done their homework.

An impressive study list.

As is the case with most things in exercise, vibrating platforms such as the Power Plate have been shown to provide significant fitness benefits to the user. However, the issues I raise here are:

  • Are those benefits significant above and beyond what one can derive from traditional methods?

From the look of the studies, it appears that while the results one can derive are statistically significant, they do not exceed the benefits potentially derived from traditional strength training.

  • Is the modality safer or less safe than traditional methods?

It is my opinion that standing on a violently vibrating platform while doing lunges and squats increases the injury factor considerably over doing said exercises on stable ground, but no studies have been conducted that would support my contention.

Incidentally, I’ve got to think that having a machine shake the shit out of your bones can’t be too good for you.

  • Are there any other additional issues associated with the exercise modality?

There are two that I can think of right off of the top of my head – first, the machines cost a tad more than a barbell and a couple of hundred pounds worth of plates. Even if you were to spring for a shiny, new, antiseptic Eleiko competition barbell, complete with bumper plates, you would just about equal the cost of the cheaper unit. Second, I am told by users of the machine that it is extremely loud. That just about rules out use for anybody with neighbors in their building (effectively all of New York City).

I suppose if it doesn’t cost you anything and you’re otherwise healthy, it can’t hurt giving something like this a try. I think New York Sports Club might be doing something with these machines in the future, but who knows how that’ll work out.

Why people try this kind of stuff and avoid nice, safe, harmless sports like snowboarding and Brazilian Jiujitsu is beyond me.

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