When it comes to trying out the latest in health and fitness, I'll give anything a whirl. While the power plate craze is no new thing (it's been going strong for at least ten years), I was still yet to try a class or fully get my head around the concept. A vibrating machine that promises to sculpt and shape in less time than a hefty gym session? This I had to investigate.
I met with Emma Cope of Synchroncity - a power plate personal trainer - to get the low down on the benefits, the dos and don'ts and to take a class myself.
The three dimensional machine (it moves side to side, up and down, forwards and backwards at a minimum speed of 30 Hertz a second) works by contracting and releasing muscle tissue at an increased rate which intensifies a work out. Also known as acceleration training.
It's a class suitable for all ages, all body types and all fitness levels because it's low impact. That said, the postures combined with the vibrations (think 2 G force) mean that classes are 25 minutes max because it's such an internal work out. Be prepared to really feel that core.
Between 2-3 classes a week will see definite results, and what's great about the power plate is its versatility. Emma explains that along with conventional training exercises you can bring yoga, pilates, ballet and even zumba to the power plate to really up your fitness game. Whilst I was all for the idea zumba on the plate, I thought it best to ease myself in.
What's key is being shown exactly how to use the machine by a professional because you SO don't want to be messing with vibrations at the wrong pace, on the wrong body part. Head, neck, spine and belly are a big no, no. You've got to put a bend into the body to deflect the vibration from travelling directly to your head.
Emma started class by getting me to step one foot (I wore grip socks rather than trainers) at a time onto the plate so my body and brain could take on board the vibrations and warm up. It's an odd sensation, buzzy but in no way uncomfortable.
After stretching, we moved on to a series of balances, bending both knees slightly, then raising and lowering one side repeatedly for a minute, straight back, eyes forward with hands on my hips. It's not as easy as it sounds. Really. Then it was the superman posture - hard enough on the floor but try holding it on vibrating plates for a minute. Yowza. It takes focus, balance and serious core.
We continued to work on major muscle groups completing cardiovascular postures and Emma even has me using a space ball and straps to intensify the work out. Each posture is 60 seconds so it's fast enough that you don't feel too much like you're dying.
By the end of class Emma had me doing the plank and variations of, which again with the vibrations of the plate is really hardcore. Class is rounded up with a couple of massage/ relaxtion postures on the plate.
Power plate classes are perfect for those looking for a short session that guarantees a full body work out. You leave feeling fresh and there's still that virtuous feeling of having exercised good and proper.
Emma Cope has a private space in Twickenham and is available for one-to-one classes, for all details see here.