Saturday, 21 November 2009

FITNESS - My First Power Plate Session

Power plate at virgin active gymPhoto credit: banjaxx on Flickr.com

Last week I managed to talk myself into trialling a Power Plate machine at the lovely Virgin Active gym in Mayfair. All in the name of research and helping my readers find a fast way to fit into their Christmas party dress of course.

It didn't start that well, there was a mix-up and I turned up a day late... luckily my personal trainer was still on hand to put me through my paces. Before going I'd asked around and most people said Power Plate workouts easy so I went in thinking it was going to be quite laid-back.However, I was proved wrong by my trainer. Generally a Power Plate doesn't offer many options for cardio, but you can use it to really increase the heart rate by incorporating movement like jumps and dynamic lunges. And that is exactly what the trainer had me doing.

We worked on a number of moves. Deep squats, followed by side jumps on and off the machine. I then worked on some reverse lunges. I found these quite difficult, I think because of the height of the Power Plate. Short people may find the step up quite high. We also worked my abs using a medicine ball and did other combined exercises to give my whole body a mini workout including press ups to work my arms too.

The Power Plate works using vibration training, which I must say does feel really strange when you first step on. By doing exercises on the Power Plate, the muscles are contracting at very high frequencies which is why you feel muscle fatigue far sooner than with your usual exercises.

I left the gym with wobbly legs and very, very rosy cheeks. All achieved in a 20 minute workout. People aren't exaggerating when they say you can cut your workout time in half. I left feeling as if I had done 3 sets of each exercise, not 1 set of each. For anyone who struggles to find the time to workout, I'd definitely suggest that the Power Plate is a good option.

Reasons to try Power Plate
  1. Studies have been done that link Power Plate to better weight loss than standard exercise (in conjunction with a healthy diet of course).
  2. A long list of celebrities and sportsmen/women swear by Power Plate including: Kylie Minogue, Elle MacPherson, Hilary Swank, Natalie Imbruglia and the football players of Chealsea, Everton and Man Utd.
  3. The concept was designed to keep Russian cosmonauts in peak physical condition - and if it's good enough for them...

Virgin Active in Mayfair also run lunchtime sessions. Three 20 min workout slots from 1-2pm. I thought this was a fab idea because it helps you fit exercise into your day effortlessly. Time can be a real barrier to exercising as much as we should, so anything that works to combat that problem is a good thing in my books. Membership of the Virgin Active gym does not come cheap, but it is a top class gym. Everything is clean, tidy and spacious. You'll never have to worry about broken air-con or having to squeeze past someone just to get to the last free stationary bike.

The Mayfair Virgin Active also has a really good class timetable and a Dove Spa. I reviewed treatments at the Dove Spa a while ago. Read about my Dove Spa experience.

Power Plate pros
  • Quick results
  • Easy to fit into your day
Power Plate cons
  • Not good for people who get queasy on moving surfaces
  • There are better cardio machines available
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