Buying A Vibration Platform -
What To Look For When Choosing A Power Plate
Buying a vibration plate can seem a little daunting at the start. You can spend anything from £120 right up to £8,500, so you can imagine the difference in quality, function and features in between.|
As with buying any piece of fitness equipment the more you spend the better the machine, with vibration plates this is probably even more the case. The cheaper models will have limited programmes, smaller motors and platforms but may still deliver some benefit.
At the higher end you'll obviously get much, much more and they invariably produce far better results.
We've listed below the things you should consider when deciding which
model to buy. You can also check our price table where you can compare the features of each model within your budget.
See the latest voucher codes here.
Vibration Plates: The Technical Stuff
When you start to look at the technical specifications you'll see things such as frequency, amplitude and horse power. So what do they mean? And what effect do they have on your training and results? Let's see if we can explain all this without it sounding too much like
a GCSE physics lesson:-
Size of motor (watts)
A powerful motor makes for a more reliable and versatile machine and most manufacturers will quote its size in horsepower (HP) or watts (W). A higher value means the motor is more capable of handling heavy usage and delivering the power to vibrate the plate at a higher amplitude - see below - even with a heavier user.
A bigger motor will invariably be quieter than a smaller one as they don't have to work so hard to deliver the necessary power. The noise level is important if you'll be using the machine in a small room, in a flat or if you want to watch TV or listen to music whilst you train.
Currently you'll see models with motors ranging from 120 to around 900 W (0.4 to 3 HP).
This is important and the wider the range the better. The frequency is how fast the plate can vibrate and is measured in impulses per second, for example, at 60 hz the plate will move up and down 60 times a second.
The higher the frequency the harder the workout as the force applied to your muscles and bones increases, a lower frequency is advisable to start with and for working with injuries. Lower frequencies can also be used for massage in place of a serious workout.
Look for a machine with a range of 30 - 50 hertz (most models cover this range) and with the ability to step up in small increments such as 5 hertz (or better still even 1 hertz steps). You may also see this referred to a RPM (revolutions per minute) - to compare it to other models as a rough guide you can divide the
RPM by 60 to convert it to hertz.
This is the distance the plate travels from the lowest to the highest position. It's measured in
mm so it the amplitude is 3 this means the plate moves a total distance of 3 millimetres in one vibration. The higher the amplitude the more intense the workout. Some of the higher priced models give you the option to change the amplitude level therefore increasing the variation of the workouts.
Note, there are two types of movement used for vibration plates, which means 'amplitude' can refer to slightly different things. These are oscillating and vertical, for a more detailed explanation, please click here.
If you're not sure what settings to use, please see our guide on how to use your power plate here.
The majority of plates come with their own programmes. These are specifically designed workouts that will control your machine and automatically alter the settings to save you having
to press the buttons yourself.
Size of plate:
Also look at the size of the vibration plate as the bigger the plate the more exercises you can do and in more comfort. A bigger plate requires a larger motor to operate properly, so a general rule is you'll have to spend more to get both.
If you're buying a compact model (one that has no column) we recommend you look for a model that comes with upper body straps. These will help you get more from your training as you'll be able to use more exercise positions.
Some plates have the option of adding mats to go on top of the plate to help reduce the intensity of a workout. These are useful for beginners but often after a few weeks you may find you're not using them.
Vibration dampening mats are also available to go underneath your machine - much like a treadmill mat. Some believe these are a waste of money, but we think they could save you money in the long-term - click here for our view.
When you're spending a substantial amount of cash, you want peace of mind with a good warranty. The lower priced models generally come with 12 months cover, and as you spend more this rises to 24 months. The warranty will come with conditions which include usage (domestic or commercial) and maximum user weight so do check you'll be within these before you buy. For example, a home use machine should not be used in a gym or commercial setting where it will be used by multiple users who may exceed the weight limit.
Content by Roy Palmer - find me on Google+
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