If you've ever set foot inside a gym there's a likelihood you've spotted a Power Plate machine before. It's usually in the corner looking very sad and alone.
I'd heard about the supposed toning benefits of the machine, but I (like I suspect many others) daren't step on it for fear of ending up in a wobbling heap on the floor.
You see, Power Plates use vibrations to stimulate muscles causing them to contract and relax 30 - 50 times a second. If you don't know what you're doing you could look very silly.
However, according to a recent study, the vibrations mean you can lose 50% more weight than people using more conventional gym equipment. They are said to break down fat cells, improve circulation, flexibility and metabolism and reduce the time you need to spend exercising - meaning a total body workout can be done in a speedy 25 minutes.
But how do you use one without looking ridiculous? I went to GoodVibes studio in Covent Garden, London, to find out.
In a small studio with eight women, I undertook a Power Plate HIT (high intensity training) class, which promises to burn 300 calories in 25 minutes. Dispelling any rumours that Power Plates are a lazy person's workout, we were put to work squatting on the vibrating machine, lifting medicine balls and stretching with elasticated bands.
Then it was time to work our abs and arms. If you thought planks were hard enough, try doing them with your arms on the shaking Power Plates.
The workout was enjoyable and just the right amount of intense, but the best part was at the end when I got to massage my calves, thighs and shoulders by resting them on the vibrating machine.
I only went to one class and felt a little firmer the next day, but GoodVibes founder Nahid de Belgeonne - who set up the studio in October 2006, as the first independent Power Plate studio in the UK - told me: "My bottom lifted after one week of classes and most people see changes in their body after 3 sessions a week, over 3 weeks."
A week later I tried the Power Plate machine at my gym, but without being in the safe confines of a class with an instructor guiding the way I soon became self-conscious using it and forgot the 'moves'.
I asked Nahid if they would ever catch on in gyms and she said: "A class with a specialist instructor who is not only watching your alignment but also motivating you every week with new and exciting exercises keeps the experience fresh and challenging."
A single Power plate class is £22 or membership is £95 pcm for unlimited classes of Power Plates, Spincycle, Glow Yoga and Pilates at GoodVibes.
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