MILLERSBURG, Ohio — The West Holmes (Ohio) High School athletic program has stumbled onto a training method that’s used by an incredible cross-section worldwide, from elite athletes and celebrities, to average everyday citizens and even people suffering from chronic health problems and senior citizens.
If you haven’t heard of whole body vibration training machines made by manufacturers such as Power Plate, 3G Cardio or BH Fitness yet, you’re about to be let in on the fastest growing genre of the specialty fitness industry since the elliptical machines around 2000.
Whole body vibration training is no late-night TV tummy jiggler fad.
“One of our former players, Lance Kandel, works for G&G Fitness and brought a vibration machine into our weight room for a demo,” said West Holmes coach Kevin Maltarich. “He told us how to use it and to let us know what we thought of it.”
Although many of the Knights’ athletes and coaches were understandably skeptical, it was practically love at first vibration.
“I used them a lot during track season to help get stretched out before running and I’ll probably use them during football, too,” said rising senior Luke Ogi. “We mainly do a lot of basic stretches on them, but it definitely helps more to stretch on the plates. I like them a lot.”
Best described as looking like an oversized, fancy doctor’s scale, a person stands on the vibration machine platform and sets the G-Force at the desired power. According to 3GCardio.com, the body adjusts to the instability caused by the vibrations as people perform static or compound exercises and it forces the muscles to fire faster than any other form of exercise.
The faster your muscles tire, the faster they fatigue. That means you can complete a total body workout in less than 15 minutes. The vibrations activate muscles much more efficiently and safely than traditional methods — up to 95 percent of muscle fibers are utilized compared to 20-40 percent, according to some studies.
“Our kids fell in love with it, and it wasn’t just our football players,” Maltarich said. “We had track athletes, wrestlers and kids from other sports telling us how much they liked it.
“They really like it for stretching, but it can be used for strength training and cardio. Our football players like to stretch on it before a workout and the wrestlers do circuit training with it. … The kids said they never felt better after using it and the coaches really felt the stretch, too, when we used them.”
Vibration training machines are anything but cheap, with the Power Plates typically selling for anywhere between $5,000-$8,000 depending on the model. 3G Cardio and Wave machines sell for less and join Power Plate on most Best Buy ranking lists.
Maltarich said he joked to several athletes that the Power Plate machines were going to have to go back to G&G and “the kids looked like they lost their puppy dogs. They really wanted to keep using them.”
After bringing in several West Holmes booster club members they were sold as well: the Knights’ purchased two Power Plate machines.
“The older you get, the harder it is to loosen up,” the 38-year-old Maltarich said. “After 3 or 4 minutes on it, I’m good to go for a run.”
Ogi said the vibration machines continue to get lots of use.
“I was pushing to get them because they help me out keeping my hamstrings and other muscles loose,” he said. “I’ve seen most everybody use them.”
PROS TURN TO VIBRATION TRAINING
Half the NFL teams use vibration training, including the final four in last year’s playoffs: the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, runner-up Denver Broncos, AFC runner-up New England Patriots and NFC runner-up San Francisco 49ers.
Basically, it increases the G-Force, rather than the MASS (weights) as in most traditional strength and resistance training. That makes it much easier and safer on joints and ligaments than free weights or even home gyms.
Roxana J., a well-known trainer in Arizona, told 3GCardio.com she was a huge skeptic when first introduced to vibration training.
“Any time I kind of questioned it I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for people like Peyton Manning, PGA golfers, and U.S. Olympians – people whose bodies are insured for millions of dollars – there has to be something to it,’” Roxana told 3GCardio.com. “I love that whatever you can do on the ground, or with a cable or weight machine, for the most part you can do on the 3G. I love opening that world up to my clients.
“It’s not just for massage, it’s not just to feel a low-impact kind of workout. It can help people in so many ways. I love that I can get people to that point of burning calories, feeling the muscle burn and feeling the fatigue set in without their joints going into total distress.”
Admittedly, Roxana said some clients look at her with great skepticism when she initially shows them a whole body vibration machine.
“They look at me at first and say, ‘This is dumb. How is it any different than exercising on the ground or floor?’” she said. “I make them do something like a pushup, or a squat on the ground and then I have them do it on the 3G and they are begging me to get off.
“I love the strength straining part of it — feeling the body react.”
Vibration training machines have been found to increase flexibility, strength and even overall health, including increased bone density, circulation, lymphatic drainage and much more.
Workout times vary for vibration training, but typically sets last only 30 seconds to 1 minute, 30 seconds and an entire workout can be completed in 10-20 minutes. Working out just three times a week on a vibration machine can provide exceptional results.
At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org