- Q: What is Whole Body Vibration Training?
A: To explain how Whole Body Vibration Training works, it is important to refer to the discipline of physics and the formula for "force," the second law of Sir Isaac Newton:
F = M x A
In this formula, F stands for force, M stands for mass and A stands for Acceleration. In order to achieve greater physical strength, we need to subject our bodies to forces greater than those which we experience in daily life under the influence of normal gravity. Through the ages, people have enhanced gravitational forces by moving increased mass, in other words, by adding weights. But modern developments enable us to affect the other factor – it is now possible to increase “Acceleration” through whole body vibration, which produces the same result as adding weights: an increase in muscle force. By actively absorbing this "Acceleration," it is possible to stimulate muscles without putting undue stress on the ligaments and joints, thus minimizing the risk of injury.
- Q: How long has Whole Body Vibration Training been around for?
A: The first implementations of vibration to improve human performance go back to as far as ancient Greece, where physicians used saws covered in cotton to transfer vibrations to those body parts that needed stimulation. The most simple manufacture vibration tools were developed in Germany, delivering a high-variable frequency that resembled vibration, if cranked fast enough. Actual vibration delivered in more than one direction was not developed until the middle of the 19th century, when physicians began to use machines that produced both up-and-down and circular movements to treat disorders as diverse as neuralgia, atrophy, emaciation, and constipation.
In the late 19th century, several specialists began to develop steam-powered machines that could deliver either percussion or vibration to up to five people at the same time. One example was the device invented by John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which he incorporated in his holistic treatment methods. In Sweden, Gustav Zander, M.D., rose to fame at the end of the 19th century because of his applications of steam-powered massage machines.
Professor W. Biermann was one of the first modern scientists to realize the potential of vibration – he studied "cycloid vibrations" and the "Rhythmic Neuromuscular Stimulation Method," the foundations of today's vibration technology. Whole Body Vibration training was used and researched in the former Soviet Union during the 1960s to enable cosmonauts to withstand the negative effects of microgravity while engaged in space flight, and this implantation of vibration may have been responsible for the cosmonauts staggering record of 420 days in space, compared to American astronauts returning home after 120 days. After space missions, the cosmonauts had previously suffered severe loss of strength and bone density, and this training method appeared to mitigate the negative effects suffered, helping them to recover quickly.
In later years, vibration science was studied extensively and the results showed benefits for muscular strength, flexibility, power, bone density, circulation, and recovery. The West was still in the dark about this training method until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, when the Dutch Olympic coach Guus van der Meer was one of the first people to recognize the potential of this technology. The paradigm shift to this method of training offered the possibility of optimizing human function naturally, using the body's own resources, while preserving joint health, and maximizing power. The use of this technology stimulates the body's reflex neuromuscular activation to promote strength benefits without requiring heavy loads. For the elite training and therapeutic community, vibration opened the potential for human performance and exercise physiology to reach new levels of accomplishment. Using his experience in training athletes and listening to the wants and needs of "average" people who are aware of the need to exercise, but are not willing to devote a lot of time and effort to training, Guus van der Meer then went on to develop Whole Body Vibration Training – to make it accessible to as many people as possible, resulting in the world-wide success of the Power Plate® equipment.
- Q: How does the Power Plate® machine cause muscles to contract automatically?
A: The physiological principle behind the stimulation of muscles is extremely complicated. A slightly simplified explanation follows: due to the mechanical vibration produced by the Power Plate® device, the body will react involuntarily. While standing on the Power Plate® machine, the natural balance in the human body is disturbed, thus numerous muscles are activated in order to recover the balanced lost. By changing the angles of the joints and the position on the Power Plate® platform, the muscles around the joint involved will stretch. This stretching is registered by the muscle spindles. These spindles are specialized muscle structures that send information about the muscle to the central nervous system. The signals received by the brain react with signals through the spinal cord and cause a reflex contraction of the muscles involved. The change of position is thus countered as soon as possible.
- Q: Why start with so few exercises?
A: As with all sports or physical exercise, we are dealing with certain physiological principles in Whole Body Vibration Training. One of these principles is the fact that, in time, you will have to train more and longer to get even a fraction of the result (because the body adapts to the stimulus and will be able to endure training with increased ease). Because of the high intensity of the stimulus provided by Power Plate® equipment, an enormous effort is achieved in the early stages of training, even with very few exercises. The higher the level of training, the more intensively you will have to exercise to reach tangible results. A training schedule has to be built up gradually – one step at a time – to be able to make use of the super compensation phenomenon, which enables the body to undertake more rigorous exercise, when a training stimulus is received at the right moment of recovery. Practically speaking, this means that any stimulus should be repeated regularly in order to achieve the required results, decided by and depending on the nature and the intensity of the stimulus. However, these results are reversible. If you stop training, the results will disappear in time, as the body needs a constant stimulus in order prevent regression.
- Q: Can I use the Power Plate® machine barefoot?
A: To use the Power Plate® equipment responsibly, first and foremost you have to ensure that the vibrations can be correctly transferred to the body – established contact between two hard surfaces causes friction. Compared to soft tissue, hard tissue cannot absorb vibrations as well. The idea is to integrate with the plate so that there is no friction between the body and the vibrating surface. This will be easier to achieve while wearing shoes with flexible soles that are not too thick. The shoes need not be training shoes, although we do recommend it. If you would nevertheless rather train barefoot, or when you are performing exercises where another part of the body is in direct contact with the Power Plate® platform, please make use of the rubber mat supplied.
- Q: I have been exercising intensively for years. Can I start training on the Power Plate® device with the advanced program immediately?
A: Even for a very well trained athlete, vibration exercises are an unconventional form of training. As with any type of sports or physical exertion, you will have to allow your body to get used to a workout that will progressively intensify. It is very important to create a tailor-made training schedule by which you can increase the number of exercises, the duration and, of course, the intensity of the training quicker than an untrained person. However, the Power Plate® training can always be an exertion. You will have to stimulate your body constantly by increasing the intensity of the training or the efficiency of your workout will diminish in time.
- Q: If I quit training after having used the Power Plate® intensively for a number of weeks, how long will the effects last?
A: As with all other kinds of training, the results achieved will disappear in time once you stop stimulating the body. This is caused by the biological law known as reversibility, meaning that the human body strived for a balance in all things. For example, if you break your arm, muscle strength will begin to decrease within 24 hours after immobilization. This principle is applicable for many physiological processes. If you reduce or even stop using the Power Plate® machine after having trained intensively, the effects will slowly recede. However, the speed of the recession is highly individual, and depends on a number of other factors as well.
- Q: Are there any negative effects connected to Whole Body Vibration Training?
A: The effects of vibration on the human body have been researched for many years. No negative effects have been found at all, providing the Power Plate® is used accordingly to our instructions and advice, and under proper supervision. Certain principles will have to be adhered to, such as responsible and safe use of the machine, and consultancy of a doctor prior to using the Power Plate® device, if any contra-indications are involved. However, a vast number of enthusiastic users of the Power Plate® equipment, many of whom are using Whole Body Vibration Training, can testify to the comprehensive range of positive effects.
- Q: Does Power Plate® training improve flexibility?
A: Using Power Plate® machines increases flexibility in many different tissues, including the joints. To explain this phenomenon, the Janda Stretch method is helpful. In this method, the muscle is tensed and then stretched (contract-relax method). Training flexibility on the Power Plate® machine is based on this Janda method. All muscles and joints that are stretched during the training are fully mobilized. The vibration also loosens adhesions, which positively influences flexibility even more.
- Q: If I don't feel anything during and after the Power Plate® training, does that mean I'm not performing the exercises correctly?
A: In all kinds of exercises we are dealing with the so-called super compensation phenomenon. The training stimulus should be strong enough to generate a physical effect. Therefore, if the exercises are not strenuous, you will need to adapt the circumstances and increase the stimulus by intensifying your training schedule. You should always try to achieve the maximum result and have some level of fatigue or exertion of the muscles after each training session.
- Q: Will I perspire during my training session?
A: A Power Plate® workout is intensive and quite taxing, and you will certainly perspire – albeit not as heavily as during an intensive cardiovascular program – especially when you expand the number of exercises or shorten the period of rest in between. You are physically exerting yourself, causing an increase in body temperature and metabolism, which will cause perspiration. The extent of exertion obviously depends on the program you perform – massage, relaxation or stretch exercises will most likely not make you perspire heavily.
- Q: Why do I sometimes get headaches immediately after a training session?
A: If you use the machine accordingly to our instructions and are not suffering from any type of migraine, headaches are normally caused by not having taken enough fluids containing glucose prior to the training. Scientific research has shown that almost 70 percent of the population is suffering from dehydration, as a result of drinking coffee and alcohol, smoking, stress, and not drinking enough water. This means that a lot of people do not have enough fluids in their bodies. Over 50 percent of our bodies consist of water, which is why the fluid balance is of the utmost importance. This is augmented by diets, where people are encouraged to eat less, which will decrease the amount of fluids taken in even further.
This group should in fact drink a lot more water. Training on the Power Plate® device, which causes an enormous activation of the lymphatic system, will result in a loss of body fluids. Therefore, we advise people to consume at least 300 ml of fluids before training. Whole Body Vibration Training also causes the blood glucose level to drop. Because many people have bad eating habits and skip meals, they often already have a low blood glucose level. This may lead to hypoglycemia (an abnormal admonished concentration of blood glucose). However, we do not point out that identical complaints will occur while undertaking any kind of intensive training, and not a problem specifically related to Whole Body Vibration Training.
- Q: Should I do cardio-training as well as work out on Power Plate® machines?
A: In principle, you could exchange your cardio training for the Power Plate® schedule, but only if you were to perform all of the exercises dynamically and have little or no rest in between. Whole Body Vibration Training will attain many of the effects you are developing in cardio-training. If you are an athlete using the Power Plate® workout as a part of, or in preparation for, regular training, it is advisable to integrate cardio-respiratory training in a complete program. In that way, the Power Plate® workout will work as a catalyst and enhance the effect of the cardio-respiratory stimulation enormously.
- Q: Should I complete Power Plate® exercises before or after my cardio training?
A: You can integrate Power Plate® training anywhere in your exercises schedule. Some people prefer to start with weight training, followed by cardio-training, and then on to the massage-exercises on the Power Plate® machine. However, you can adapt the schedule according to your own preferences. Perform the most demanding and fatiguing training component first. Normally this is your Power Plate® component. If you are doing high intensity intervals in your cardio component, then do that before you do your Power Plate® training.
- Q: Can I alternate different muscle groups?
A: After having trained on the Power Plate® for some time, one option for progressing your program is to work alternating (opposing) movements. For example, a Push-up with a Bent Row, or Biceps with Triceps. This can also be done with alternating upper and lower body movements. Later on, you can perform the exercises without breaks, increasing workout efficiency. A big advantage of performing the exercises without pause is that the heart rate remains elevated during the entire schedule, intensifying your training and providing cardiovascular stimulus as well. However, if your goals are more strength and power based, then maintaining breaks and increasing the intensity of work would be a better option.
- Q: If I want to train my entire body on the Power Plate® machine, can I do all the exercises in one session?
A: Traditional exercise schedules recommend dividing the different muscle groups into 2 or even 3 training sessions, to enable the body to recuperate after exertion. Training on the Power Plate® equipment has an enormous advantage over more traditional training, as it causes considerably less damage to the muscles (the session is shorter, no excessive strain). However, the speed of recuperation depends on physical fitness and the specific exercises that you perform on the Power Plate® device. Training your entire body in one day is absolutely no problem if your physical ability and fitness level allows you to.
- Q: How old should I be to start training on the Power Plate® machines?
A: If you will be training with a physiotherapist or a certified Power Plate® instructor, the minimum recommended age to work out is 12 years. Obviously, frequency, position and duration of the training will have to be adapted to the specific person concerned. All exercises should be performed in "low" mode/frequency. Young people should profit from the numerous benefits of Whole Body Vibration Training as much as any other age group.
- Q: Is there a maximum age for training on the Power Plate® machine?
A: : For elderly people, the Power Plate® workout is a great aid for keeping their muscles active in an easy, safe, and simple manner, without having to use external weights, dumbbells, or Dynabands. There is also a lost less strain put on the joints, ligatures, and tendons during Whole Body Vibration Training than with conventional weight training. All of the visible results achieved by young people should be attainable for the elderly as well.
- Q: My doctor/specialist is not familiar with Power Plate® machines – what should I do?
A: Power Plate® organizes practical and theoretical presentations and demonstrations of Power Plate® equipment, where doctors, physiotherapists and other specialists are very welcome. Internationally, Whole Body Vibration Training is gaining vast acceptance and familiarity within the medical sphere due to ever emerging scientific backup and research studies. The knowledge on the many applications of Whole Body Vibration Training is growing rapidly, not only in the world of fitness and health, but also in the area of medical and paramedical care. If your doctor, specialist or physical therapist would like to know more about the Power Plate® technology and its possible applications, please ask him or her to check http://powerplate.mercola.com.
- Q: When can vibrations be harmful?
A: These days there is a lot of media attention and a lot of scientific research aimed at the effects of Whole Body Vibration Training on the human body. Our body was made for movement and agility. We have been perfectly equipped to absorb all of the vibrations we are confronted with in our daily lives. The amount of mechanical vibrations we are exposed to has increase enormously over the last few centuries. However, compared to the Power Plate® technique, there are some fundamental differences. While training in the Power Plate® machine, you are actively using positive effect of vibrations, which are being absorbed by the muscles, instead of the joints. The duration is also very important. The total amount of time of a training session has no relation to the time people are exposed to vibrations in a working environment. In short, if you are healthy and train according to our instructions and under certified supervision, Whole Body Vibration Training is a very safe and comfortable way of exercising
- Q: I get itches during and after training, is that normal?
A: Yes, this is a perfectly normal phenomenon. Using the Power Plate® device enormously stimulates circulation. People with complaints connected to circulation can greatly benefit from using the Power Plate® machine because it is very effective in improving the transport of waste products. In some cases, erythema may occur, (severe reddening of the skin, usually on the legs) which can be extremely unpleasant. For many people this is just a temporary phenomenon. However, if erythema persists, we advise you to cease exercising on the Power Plate® equipment and see a physician.
- Q: How long is a typical workout?
A: We like to encourage a 30-minute stand-alone workout only. If you incorporate other modes of training during the workout, you would be able to lengthen the workout time.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I have any metal items inside of me?
A: Yes, the vibrations have no effect on metal in your body.
- Q: Is any vibration travel to my head bad?
A: No, it's more of a discomfort more than a hazard. We have coaching tips to help localize the vibration travel to the targeted muscle. The vibration travel is more of an acclamation thing than anything else. Stay in the pretense position, minimize any pressure in the hells, knees and elbow and you should have very limited travel.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I have a pacemaker?
A: Have you talked to your doctor? Are you cleared to perform strength and cardiovascular training? Are you cleared by your doctor to engage in recreational sport activities that absorb shock; skiing, horseback riding, boating, biking, etc.? If yes to all, then yes. If not, then we don't recommend it.
- Q: Is there any exercise that I should stay away from if I do have a pacemaker?
A: If your pacemaker is in your chest, we recommend doing front planks and push-ups in reverse, where your hands are on the floor and your lower body is on the plate – just a training modification. If your pacemaker is in your abdomen, then no exercise modifications are necessary.
- Q: Are there magnet or electrical signals being discharged from the machine?
A: Vibrations are mechanically generated by motors which can generate some electrical or magnetic energy. Due to the shorter exposure time, more distance from the head, and the mechanical nature of the vibrations, these effects will be minimal.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I have a heart condition?
A: We recommend that you discuss all new forms of exercise with your doctor, and if he has cleared you for cardiovascular training, then you would be fine to begin a program.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I have ear or eye issues?
A: This is the main cause of non-use for individuals due to their sensitive of the vibration. We can't say yes or no because everyone's tolerance to vibration is different, but we recommend trying the machine first to determine what sensitivity level works for you.
- Q: How many times per week can I train on the machine?
A: We recommend full body workouts 2 to 3 times a week with proper rest and recovery time in between workouts. You can stretch and massage on the machine every day.
- Q: When can my child start using the machine?
A: We recommend when they are old enough to begin a typical mass based routine, 12 years old and with proper supervision.
- Q: Can I do my cardiovascular training on the same day as my Power Plate workout?
A: You can, if you training goals are strength, balance, core, etc. Do your workout on the machine first. If your training goal is cardiovascular conditioning, then do that training routine first. Keep hydrated and sugar levels up especially for dual forms of training.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I have a back, hip or knee issue?
A: If you are cleared by your doctor to perform strength and cardiovascular training then you are ready to begin a program on the machine.
- Q: Can I use the machine if I'm pregnant?
A: We don't recommend starting any new modes of training while they are pregnant and whole body vibration falls under that category.
- Q: Is Whole Body Vibration the same as occupational/workplace vibration?
A: It's not. Whole body vibration is a harmonic controlled form of exercise that is performed 2 to 3 times a week.
- Q: Where is my serial number located on my Power Plate?
A: On the back of the column at the bottom (the white sticker with bar code).
- Q: Does my Power Plate have an On/Off Switch?
A: On the back of the column, near the bottom, you will find an On/Off rocker type switch. "0" = Off, "l" = On
- Q: Where can I register my Power Plate for warranty?
A: Please contact our customer service department:
Inside the United States: 1 (877) 985-2695 (Toll-Free)
Outside the United States: 1 (847) 252-4355
or use our live chat option.
- Q: I have misplaced my power cord for my Power Plate, what type of cord is it?
A: A 6-foot 18 AWG Universal Power Cord (IEC320 C13 to NEMA 5-15P). This is the same power cord used on desktop computers.
- Q: The battery in my remote control for the my5 does not work, what type of battery does it require?
A: 1 amp 6 volt battery, the 11A or MN11 is a popular small battery. The 11A or MN11 is commonly used to power remote controls (such as remote car alarm controls, garage door openers, etc.).
- Q: My Power Plate does not turn on. There is no power. What could be the cause?
A: The power cord over time can vibrate loose from the power inlet receptacle. Please check that the power cord is fully seated inside of the power inlet, just below the On/Off switch. Also check that power is available at the outlet.
- Q: I am having a problem with my Power Plate, how do I obtain warranty service or technical assistance?
A: Please contact our customer service department:
Inside the United States: 1 (877) 985-2695 (Toll-Free)
Outside the United States: 1 (847) 252-4355
or use our live chat option.
- Q: What information will I need when I call about my Power Plate product?
A: We will need the Power Plate product model and serial number, the nature of the problem (error message, symptoms, description of what is not working, etc.), address, contact name, and phone number.
- Q: Can the pro5 vibrate longer than 60 seconds?
A: Yes, up to 9 minutes. Select start button, select your frequency (30, 35, 40, 50 Hz), select any time; 30, 45, 60 seconds; then select the "+" button to increase the time in increments of 15 seconds.
- Q: Can I clean the anti-skid surface and mat(s) from my power Plate?
A: Yes, spray warm water on to the surface and use a soft bristle brush, such as a back brush, to loosen any dirt on the surface. Then use an absorbent towel, such as a chamois, and blot dry the surface of the anti-skid surface or wipe dry the mat(s). Wait for surfaces to completely air dry before next usage to prevent any possible injury from slipping.
- Q: Where can I download a user manual for my Power Plate?
A: On the shop.mercola.com website, visit http://powerplate.mercola.com/user-guide.aspx and you will find your specific model there.
- Q: What is the warranty on my Power Plate?
A: Only offered through Mercola.com, we've extended the normal parts and labor warranty by an extra year.
Now you can enjoy even MORE added value with our extended warranty on all five Power Plate models:
- pro5 (added value of $500)
- 4 years parts
- 2 years labor
- my3, my5, and my7 (added value of $300)
- 4 years parts
- 2 years labor
- Personal Power Plate (added value of $100)
- 2 years parts
- 2 years labor
- Q: Can I get a service manual for my Power Plate equipment?
A: The service manuals are available only to Power Plate certified technicians and would not be available to end users.