How The Powerplate Works - All You Need To Know And More

 How The Powerplate Works – All You Need To Know And More

How The Powerplate Works – Local vibration training gives older people some more power according to recent research by the Catholic University of Leuven. In This article, We would like to go deeper into the principle of vibration training and the research into its effectiveness. 


Frankly, I’ve always looked skeptical, even condescending to the so-called Powerplates (vibration platforms / vibrating plates) and the people who use it. Without gaining a second, I had already set the phenomenon as the second means of commerce, making use of the nature of many to want everything but to do as little as possible. A bit like so-called fat burners who produce millions every year thanks to people who are unwilling to feed or feed enough, but want that dream figure.

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Yes, I was biased and saw it quite black. Perhaps unjustified, as it appears, because in theory there is something to say for the vibrating plates. Also, read the other parts:

Part 2: Vibration training and strength

Part 3: Vibration training and weight loss


Vibration training has not been in recent years. During the period 1880-1900 John Harvey Kellog (yes, of the cornflakes) already worked with vibrating chairs and platforms in his sanatorium in Michigan, USA. From the sixties of the last century, developments came mainly from East Germany and Russia. In Russia, research was conducted on practical applications for athletes and was experimented with astronauts (or actually “cosmonauts”) who are affected by muscle weakness due to lack of gravity.

This muscle atrophy limits the length of time people can stay in space. Also, the current German Space Center and the ESA (European Space Agency) experiment with different types of vibration training alongside other forms of training. These are literally rocket scientists. Apparently, there is something in those vibration training. In practice, it has never been in vibration training space because the equipment is too heavy.

On Wiki, incidentally, NASA added vibrations to the treadmill and bike in the ISS space station to test for its effect. The NASA site itself, however, shows that the reverse is true: NASA just minimized the vibrations caused by the treadmill and bicycle and its use to minimize vibrations at the station.


I’ll be back to the question “Works vibration training?”, But go into the theory of operation first.

FormulaThink of the astronauts again. Due to the lack of gravity, they do not need their leg muscles to remain upright. Muscles in the arms, back, chest and shoulders need to work much less hard to get the arms in motion. By chance, I watched a documentary called “Human Universe, Apeman-Spaceman” last week. Astronauts told them about their return to Earth in the Soyuz capsule. Therein you saw how the astronauts had to be taken out of the capsule and then transported to the helicopter, unable to stand on their own legs.

If the lack of gravity causes muscle mass to break down, would extra gravity then cause more muscle mass? Well, according to science fiction. Think of the bad guy in Buck Rogers who is super strong because he comes from a planet where gravity is much stronger. If you say nothing (not everyone is a nerd grown up in the 80’s), think of Superman who is grateful to the fact that gravity on his home planet is much bigger than on earth.

Vibration training is based on the same concept, although no one assumes you can eventually fly, lasers can shoot out of the eyes or make any beautiful woman in your area with cancer because you dress them daily with your x-ray eyes.


Gravity is actually acceleration caused by the mass of an object, they are at least same experienced. The “standard gravity” (full “Standard acceleration caused by gravity”) is the acceleration of an object in a vacuum near earth by gravity. This standard gravity is 9.80665 m / s 2. Without going into the term “second squad” (long-term explanation of physics) I will show what this means for vibration training.

The “gravity” exists in the case of vibrating plates from the so-called G forces that are caused by the acceleration that makes your body continuous due to the vibrations. After all, at every move, your body is moving upwards, to break it back to accelerate down and down. Also, sideways, forwards and backward, this gear depends on the type of vibrating plate. Using the formula to the right, these g forces are calculated (d = maximum displacement from peak to peak, f = frequency, g = gravity). The letter “a” in the formula indicates the ratio between the normal gravity and the force generated by the acceleration. For example, if “a” results in “2”, then this means that you are experiencing gravity at the time twice as hard.

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Very interesting and of course you have already searched your high school calculator, but I will give a simple example so that we can count on what it is. If you have a vibrating disc that bridges up and down a distance of 6 millimeters with a frequency of 30hz (goes 30 times up and down in a second) then this increases the gravity by a factor of 7.7. So it will be almost 8 times so hard to stay. At least, do not you think the tissues in your body dampen some of the vibrations [8 to 11]. This shows, at least, the weight with which people can execute squats higher than when it would actually be 8 times as severe as normal. Moreover, the frequencies given by manufacturers are often lowered as the person in question is heavier [12].

One problem with the vibration training is that it is often unknown how the frequency is measured. This may misrepresent the exact effect of a vibrating plate, but more about it in the next part.

The simple thought behind vibration training is that the (experienced) gravity is increased which increases the intensity of an exercise. The muscles need to work harder and respond by growing more, making you stronger (10.13).


However, there would be a second, more complicated way of vibration training for positive effects: the so-called Tonic Vibration Reflex [14]. In the article about stretching, we have already covered the stretch reflex: A system that ensures that when a muscle is suddenly stretched it automatically shields for protection (not to be stretched). The so-called sensory nerve cells (or “efferent” nerve cells) work together with the “muscle pools” that measure the stretching of muscle fibers (which means, among other things, whether you have stretched your arms or not without looking). These nerve cells are extra sensitive to muscle stretching by vibration. As a result, the alpha motor neurons are further activated and these are directly responsible for triggering muscle fibers.

If you have read this three times, you probably think: So?

When you tighten a muscle, you never span all muscle fibers in the muscle. How many muscle fibers you use depends on the number of “motor neurons” that are activated. “Motor units” consist of motor neurons and the muscle fibers that they activate. One motor neuron directs various muscle fibers spread across the muscle. When we see that (an increase in) force cannot be explained by the size of the muscle, the response often results in the ability to activate many motor units at the same time and thereby increase the number of muscle fibers. As a result, we first see the strength increase and then muscle mass due to the improved muscular control. In this way, you make better use of the ability of your muscles like European sports cars to learn more about the ability of the engine than American cars.

The result of the tonic vibration reflex and the activation of motor neurons could, according to research, make it possible to make better use of the muscle’s ability [15,16,17]. These studies will be discussed in the next part.


There may be a third way that vibrating plates could be effective. There are a few researchers who have looked at the effects of vibration training on your hormone condition, especially testosterone and growth hormone [18,19,20].

In one of these studies, ten subjects were 15 minutes long without doing anything on a vibrating plate [19]. This had no (significant) effect on testosterone or growth hormone levels. In an investigation in which they did isometric squats (thus standing in “sitting position”) was seen an effect [18]. In that study, growth hormone increased by 300% and testosterone showed a slight increase of 7%. In this research, you can think: “Lay it on the isometric squat or did the vibrating plate itself have an effect?”. That is why the investigation of Kvorning and colleagues is interesting [20]. She compared three situations.

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Squat without weight on a vibrating plate, squats with weight (8-10RM) without vibrating plate and finally, squats with weight (8-10RM) on the vibrating plate. Especially the last two compare each other, Must show the value of the vibrating plate. They measure immediately after the exercise and 15 minutes later. Squat with weight on the vibrating plate yielded the largest growth hormone growth (20% immediately after exercise and 23% after 15 min). The vibrating plate + squats thus caused a greater growth hormone growth than squats alone (4% and 5%). However, what is also noticeable is that squats without weight on the vibrating plate caused a greater growth hormone growth (7% and 12%) than squats with weight without vibrating plate.


We have read that there is enough theory for the use of vibrating and vibration training in general. Vibration acceleration causes higher G forces, the tonic vibration effect makes muscles more effective and can positively affect testosterone and growth hormone when trained on a vibrating plate.


In the next part of vibration training, we look at what this now means in practice. This potential increase in testosterone and growth hormone also results in more muscle growth or fat burning. Are you actually stronger and muscular due to the tonic vibration effect and the higher G forces? You will read it soon on Bikini Popping Girls!



Tankisheva, Ekaterina MD; Bogaerts, An PhD; Boonen, Steven MD, PhD; Delecluse, Christophe PhD; Jansen, Paul; Verschueren, Sabine MP PhD. Effects of a 6-month local vibration training on bone density, muscle strength, muscle mass and physical performance in postmenopausal women. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: May 16, 2015

Issurin, VB, Liebermann, DG, and Tenenbaum, G. Effect of vibratory stimulation training on maximum force and flexibility. J Sports Sci 12: 561-566, 1994.

Biermann, W. "Influence of cycloid vibration massage on trunk flexion". American Journal of Physical Medicine1960 (39): 219-224.

Kunnemeyer J, Schmidtbleicher D .: The neuromuscular stimulation RNS , Leistungssport 2: 39-42, 1997.

"Mars 500 Scientific Protocols". European Space Agency . Retrieved 31 January 2013 .

Crewther, B, Cronin, J, and Keogh, J. Gravitational forces and whole body vibration implications for prescription of vibratory stimulation. Phys Ther Sport 5: 37-43, 2004

Owen, GJ. The influence of whole body vibration on knee extensor stiffness and functional performance. Master's thesis, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 2004.

Roelants, M, Verschueren, SMP, Delelecluse, C, Levin, O. and Stijnen, V. Whole-body-vibration-induced increase in muscle activity during different squat exercises. J Strength Cond Res 20: 124-129, 2006.

Yue, Z, Kleinoder, H, and Mester, J. A model analysis of the effects of wobbling mass on whole-body vibration. Eur J Sport Sci 1: 1-19, 2001.

Donaldson, C and Ross, A. Whole body vibration: useful or useless for athletes. Presented at: New Zealand Academy of Sport (South) Strength and Conditioning Forum, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2006.

Cardinal, M and Lim, J. Electromyography activity of fixed lateral muscle during whole-body vibrations or different frequencies. J Strength Cond Res 17: 621-624, 2003.

Martin, BJ and Park, H. Analysis of the tonic vibration reflex: influence of vibration variables on motor unit synchronization and fatigue. Eur J Appl Physiol 75: 504-511, 1997.

Bosco, C, Cardinal, M, Tsarpela, O, Colli, R, Tihanyi, J, Von Duvillard, S, and Viru, A. The influence of whole body vibration on jumping performance. Biol Sport 15: 157-164, 1998.

Bosco, C, Colli, R, Introini, E, Cardinal, M, Iacovelli, M, Tihanyi, J, Von Duvillard, S, and Viru, A. Adaptive responses of human skeletal muscle to vibration exposure. Clin Physiol 19: 183-187, 1999.

McBride, JM, Porcari, JP, and Scheunke, MD. Effect of vibration during fatiguing resistance exercise on subsequent muscle activity during maximum voluntary isometric contractions. J Strength Cond Res 18: 777, 2004

Bosco, C, Iacovelli, M, Tsarpela, O, Cardinal, M, Bonifazi, M, Tihanyi, J, Viru, M, De Lorenzo, A. and Viru, A. Hormonal responses to whole body vibration in men. Eur J Appl Physiol 81: 449-454, 2000

Di Loreto, C, Ranchelli, A, Lucidi, P, Murdolo, G, Parlanti, N, The Cicco, A, Tsarpela, O, Bosco, C, Sauteusanio, F, Bolli, GB, and The Feo, P. Effects of Whole-body vibration exercise on the endocrine system of healthy men. J Endocrinol Invest 27: 323-327, 2004.

Kvorning, T, Bagger, M, Caserotti, P, and Madsen, K. Effects of vibration and resistance training on neuromuscular and hormonal measures. Eur J Appl Physiol 96: 615-625, 2006.