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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2005

Vibration machine can aid workouts

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Holidays put on the pounds and now you're staring Valentine's Day right in the eye and hips? Sadly, just a cookie or a few chocolates can pile pounds on faster than you ever thought possible.

Honolulu Club personal trainer Jennifer Tema has Shawn Kelly combine a stability ball with the Power Plate to maximize his workouts.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

What to do if you have limited time to workout? One option is a new workout enhancer called the Power Plate.

It looks similar to the scales you see in a doctor's office. But turn it on and there's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on.

Although reminiscent of the vibrating belts worn by women in the 1950s who wanted to tone their bodies and trim their waists without putting forth any effort, the Power Plate offers an advanced approach to exercise.

It's based on whole-body vibration technology originally developed in the 1970s by Russian Olympic coaches. The Russian space program used the machine to counteract the damaging effects of zero gravity on bone and muscle tissue. In the United States it's being used at the Olympic training center, as well as by professional athletic teams such as the Oakland Raiders, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and universities such as Stanford, UCLA and University of Washington. In Honolulu, it's available at The Honolulu Club.

The machine can deliver 30 to 50 vibrations per minute. You can stand, sit, squat or lie on it and perform exercises such as lunges or push-ups or simply stand on it and let it do its job.

Its job is to vibrate the whole body, triggering a natural reflex to engage every muscle in a peak contraction in order to stabilize itself. According to several medical studies, the vibrations, and the effort required to remain stable while on the Power Plate, markedly increases muscle strength, stimulates blood flow, improves circulation and increases flexibility, bone density and production of endorphins, often referred to as "happy hormones."

Shawn Kelly of St. Louis Heights said the Power Plate was his answer to getting past a plateau and taking his workouts to the next level.

His personal trainer, Jennifer Tema, suggested he try "super sets," alternating free weights and the Power Plate. Kelly also uses the Power Plate to warm up, stretch and massage sore muscles. Now he's hooked. "This has been phenomenal for my flexibility. I couldn't touch my toes and now, after using the Power Plate, I've gained four inches of stretch," he said as he jiggled on the apparatus.

"It definitely brought him to another level," said Tema.

In Europe and on the Mainland, the Power Plate is being used in rehabilitation facilities for injured athletes, as well as those suffering from degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Rick Ahn, fitness director at The Honolulu Club, said the Power Plate should not be substituted for other workouts, but rather serves as a supplement to cardio and strength training. He cautioned that there may be risk factors for those who:

• Are pregnant

• Are suffering from serious cardiovascular disease

• Have had recent wounds, joint or hip replacements

• Have major issues with their spine

• Have severe migraines or epilepsy

• Have tumors, pacemakers or serious diabetes.

Check with your doctor before trying the Power Plate. It is also required you work with a personal trainer to determine vibration frequency and length appropriate for you.

The Power Plate is available to both members and non- members of The Honolulu Club at a cost of $30 per half-hour. Nonmembers are required to pay an additional guest fee of $17. If you want to buy a Power Plate for home use, better start saving; they cost around $10,000. For more information, click on info@powerplateusa.com.