The Difference between linear and tri-planar vibration: Why Power Plate is best in class for Whole Body Vibration

Yesterday, I asked Scott Hopson of the Power Plate Education and Training Advisory Board, "How does the Power Plate compare to other vibration machines?"  

And after I read his answer, I had to share (and now I know why I love my MOVE).

When it comes to whole body vibration training (WBVT) not all vibrations are equal, nor are all platforms and products. The two most common forms of WBVT platforms are Vertical Vibration (VV) and Rotational Vibration (RV).

The former moves up and down and the later tilts left to right (like a see saw). Without doubt research and science shows both are safe and effective and possess many of the same uses and benefits. Yet there are some distinct differences in experience and application.

Power Plate is indeed a VV platform yet that is not the complete picture. Because of its unique (patented) 3D motion it actually moves up / down, side / side, and front / back with every oscillation.

Indeed it is the only one in the world that does. Why is this important?

Three critical reasons:

  • Gravity is vertical. This is the most important load (force) on our bodies and we must move with, and against it, all day long whether we are exercising, playing sport, or simply living life. The other side of this coin is that every time we hit the ground - such as our foot hitting the ground when walking or running - the ground hits us back! This is called ground reaction force. Our bodies must be able to tolerate these forces, and impact, or injuries and dysfunction will occur. With Power Plate (VV) the platform lives us and comes back 30-50 x per second. This means our bodies are getting 30-50  ‘micro hits’ of gravity and ground reaction forces when we exercise on it (push up, lunge, plank, squat, etc). This is why Power Plate is one of the most authentic training tools around as it prepares the body for what we have to do naturally every day. 
  • Our entire body’s architecture is made in 3D. There are no straight lines in the body! Books conveniently make it look that way but underneath the skin every tissue is simply designed in 3D. Our nerves, muscles, bones, joints, connective tissues and yes even our organs crave motion in 3D. New tissue models along the line of stress so if we want health new bones, muscles, etc then we need to stimulate them (stress) in alignment with how there are made. That would be in 3D. Our habits literally become our anatomy - how we move (or don’t) will become your new body.  In life and sport we move up and down, side to side to side, and front and back thus Power Plate stimulates the body authentically to function! 
  • Frequency, amplitude, and g-forces. WBV traditionally uses these 3 terms to define how much work we are doing on a platform and therefore how much stress is being applied to our body. Science shows that optimal ranges seem to be 25-50 Hz, 2-6mm, 1-8 G’s. Indeed these are Power Plates ranges. One of the key things to VV is that once you set your frequency and amplitude (and therefore forces) it will stay precise no matter how you move during the exercise. So for example if you select 40 Hz / High (5 G’s) and decide to do push and squats it doesn’t matter whether you have a wide squat and push up or a narrow one, you are working against the same load. However with RV this is not the case. As you change your hand and foot position, wider or narrower, the forces change. A wider stance would equal more forces and a narrower less. This means that if a small, but strong person, squats with a narrow stance and a larger less conditioned person squats with a wider stance (which they have too being bigger), the deconditioned larger person is squatting against greater force. It should be the other way around. This would be analogous to saying that a treadmill moves faster for taller people than short. Also with some RV platforms they can go in excess of 16G, which is extremely high to say the least with no apparent aded benefit yet greater potential risk. 

So in short both forms of WBVT are safe and effective. Both have science and proven results.

But when you consider how we, as human beings, are designed to move Power Plate ticks many more boxes of authentic function as well as delivering what is proven to be safe and effective vibrational levels.