Katie Wolfe Baker (in blue) and Jamie Bumgarner demonstrate a Power Plate workout

The regulars at the Pilates and Personal Training Studio of Bexley are no couch potatoes. So when the studio doubled its size earlier this year and introduced a new vibrating piece of workout equipment to its clients, most were game to try it at least once.

Those who stuck with the Power Plate discovered a killer workout. "We've had people say, 'I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get through the class,' " said Katie Wolfe Baker, the studio's manager. "A lot of people feel they need that boost."

What separates the Power Plate from traditional gym gear is its gentle vibrations, which transmit waves of energy throughout the body. On the lowest setting, the plate pulsates 30 times per second and triggers muscles to rapidly contract. But users can't expect to simply turn on the machine and stand still while it does all the work; results come weeks after performing a combination of strength and cardio moves atop the plate.

"Instead of using dumbbells or barbells to apply force, we use vibration and basically apply more gravitational force," explained Tony Swain, training and education manager for Power Plate North America, a California-based company.
"When that plate drops, your body thinks the earth just fell."

As a result, muscles work overtime without your brain controlling the reaction, Swain said. "It's much more of a neurological workout than a conscious training."

The Power Plate's intensity is appealing to those with limited time, or those who have difficulty motivating themselves, Swain said. There are therapeutic benefits, too, because the vibrations help increase blood flow and can be used b before or after workouts to massage sore muscles.

"People are like, 'It can't be a workout. I don't see the movement,'" Swain said. "That's a misconception until you get on it.

Anne Adair, owner of Urban Moves in Bexley, uses the machines to help clients build strength.

"I've had them for long enough to really see benefits," she said. "What I've seen is, people who are coming back from an injury get better and recover stronger."

Body Benefits
Builds muscle strength and endurance Increases blood circulation Tones and sculpts Improves balance and flexibility Decreases cellulite