Do Vibrating Platforms Really Work?

Not much, experts say

Power Plates are showing up in local gyms. But do they really work?

According to the New York Times, vibrating platforms are becoming more common in gyms, despite the fact that their claims of increased performance are based on unclear evidence. Basically, researchers believe the shake machines do something, they’re just not sure how they work. They also wager that any benefit they do provide is minimal at best.

The problem, though, is that there is little consensus on how fast the vibrations should be or in what direction platforms are supposed to vibrate. Some studies have failed to show any effects from vibrations. And then there is the question of what exactly vibrations are doing to muscles and nerves.

“It certainly is intriguing, and a large portion of the evidence would support that something is happening,” said Lee E. Brown, director of the Center for Sports Performance at California State University, Fullerton. But he added, “We are still trying to figure out exactly what the mechanism is.”

… if there is an effect, the researchers said, it seems to be short-lived. People seem to be slightly faster sprinters immediately after standing on a platform. They also seem to be able to jump a bit higher. Vibrations also seem to help people warm up before more strenuous exercise.

“The effect wears off very quickly,” Dr. Brown said. “We are not talking about using this to play a 90-minute soccer match. One sprint and the effect would be gone. You’d play for one minute and still have 89 minutes to go.”

If you’re interested in trying a vibrating platform, you can find them locally at Versa Fit (Center City and Voorhees) and Bala Cynwyd’s Aquatic and Fitness Center. But until further research is done, I wouldn’t  go out of your way to make these platforms part your regular routine.