To explain how Acceleration Training™ works, it is important to refer to the discipline of physics and the formula for “force”, the second law of Sir Isaac Newton: F = m * a In this formula, F stands for force, m stands for mass and a stands for Acceleration. In order to achieve greater physical strength, we need to subject our bodies to forces greater than those which we experience in daily life under the influence of normal gravity. Through the ages, people have enhanced gravitational forces by moving increased mass, in other words, by adding weights. But modern developments enable us to affect the other factor – it is now possible to increase ‘Acceleration’, which produces the same result as adding weights: an increase in muscle force. By actively absorbing this ‘Acceleration’, it is possible to stimulate muscles without putting undue stress on the ligaments and joints, thus minimizing the risk of injury.
The first implementations of vibration to improve human performance go back as far as ancient Greece, where physicians used saws covered in cotton to transfer vibrations to those body parts that needed stimulation. The most simple manufactured vibration tools were developed in Germany, delivering a highvariable frequency that resembled vibration, if cranked fast enough. Actual vibration delivered in more than one direction was not developed until the middle of the 19th century, when physicians began to use machines that produced both up-and-down and circular movements to treat disorders as diverse as neuralgia, atrophy, emaciation, and constipation.
In the late 19th century, several specialists began to develop steam-powered machines that could deliver either percussion or vibration to up to five people at the same time. One example was the device invented by John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which he incorporated in his holistic treatment methods. In Sweden, Gustav Zander, M.D., rose to fame at the end of the 19th century because of his applications of steam-powered massage machines.
Professor W. Biermann was one of the first modern scientists to realize the potential of vibration – he studied “cycloid vibrations” and the “Rhythmic Neuromuscular Stimulation Method,” the foundations of today’s acceleration technology. Acceleration Training™ was used and researched in the former Soviet Union during the 1960′s to enable cosmonauts to withstand the negative effects of microgravity while engaged in space flight, and this implantation of vibration may have been responsible for the cosmonauts staggering record of 420 days in space, compared to American astronauts returning home after 120 days.
After space missions, the cosmonauts had previously suffered severe loss of strength and bone density, and this training method appeared to mitigate the negative effects suffered, helping them to recover quickly.
In later years, vibration science was studied extensively and the results showed benefits for muscular strength, flexibility, power, bone density, circulation, and recovery. The West was still in the dark about this training method until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, when the Dutch Olympic coach Guus van der Meer was one of the first people to recognize the potential of this technology. The paradigm shift to this method of training offered the possibility of optimizing human function naturally, using the body’s own resources, while preserving joint health and maximizing power. The use of this technology stimulates the body’s reflex neuromuscular activation to promote strength benefits without requiring heavy loads. For the elite training and therapeutic community, vibration opened the potential for human performance and exercise physiology to reach new levels of accomplishment. Using his experience in training athletes and listening to the wants and needs of “average” people who are aware of the need to exercise, but are not willing to devote a lot of time and effort to training, Guus van der Meer then went on to develop Acceleration Training™ – to make it accessible to as many people as possible, resulting in the world-wide success of the Power Plate®
The physiological principle behind the stimulation of muscles is extremely complicated. A slightly simplified explanation follows: due to the mechanical vibration produced by the Power Plate® device, the body will react involuntarily. While standing on the Power Plate® machine, the natural balance in the human body is disturbed, thus numerous muscles are activated in order to recover the balance lost. By changing the angles of the joints and the position on the Power Plate® platform, the muscles around the joint involved will stretch. This stretching is registered by the muscle spindles. These spindles are specialized muscle structures that send information about the muscle to the central nervous system. The signals received by the brain react with signals through the spinal cord and cause a reflex contraction of the muscles involved.
The change of position is thus countered as soon as possible.
As with all sports or physical exercise, we are dealing with certain physiological principles in Acceleration Training™. One of these principles is the fact that, in time, you will have to train more and longer to get even a fraction of the result (because the body adapts to the stimulus and will be able to endure training with increased ease). Because of the high intensity of the stimulus provided by Power Plate® equipment, an enormous effect is achieved in the early stages of training, even with very few exercises. The higher the level of training, the more intensively you will have to exercise to reach tangible results. A training schedule has to be built up gradually – one step at a time – to be able to make use of the super compensation
phenomenon, which enables the body to undertake more rigorous exercise, when a training stimulus is received at the right moment of recovery. Practically speaking, this means that any stimulus should be repeated regularly in order to achieve the required results, decided by and depending on the nature and the intensity of the stimulus. However, these results are reversible. If you stop training, the results will disappear in time, as the body needs a constant stimulus in order prevent regression.
To use the Power Plate® equipment responsibly, first and foremost you have to ensure that the vibrations can be correctly transferred to the body – established contact between two hard surfaces causes friction.
Compared to soft tissue, hard tissue cannot absorb vibrations as well. The idea is to integrate with the plate so that there is no friction between the body and the vibrating surface. This will be easier to achieve while wearing shoes with flexible soles that are not too thick. The shoes need not be training shoes, although we do recommend it. If you would nevertheless rather train barefoot, or when you are performing exercises where another part of the body is in direct contact with the Power Plate® platform, please make use of the rubber mat supplied.
Even for a very well trained athlete, acceleration exercises are an unconventional form of training. As with any type of sports or physical exertion, you will have to allow your body to get used to a workout that will progressively intensify. It is very important to create a tailor-made training schedule by which you can increase the number of exercises, the duration and, of course, the intensity of the training quicker than an untrained person. However, the Power Plate® training can always be an exertion. You will have to stimulate your body constantly by increasing the intensity of the training or the efficiency of your workout will diminish in time.
As with all other kinds of training, the results achieved will disappear in time once you stop stimulating the body. This is caused by the biological law known as reversibility, meaning that the human body strives for a balance in all things. For example, if you break your arm, muscle strength will begin decrease within 24 hours after immobilization. This principle is applicable for many physiological processes. If you reduce or even stop using the Power Plate® machine after having trained intensively, the effects will slowly recede. However, the speed of this recession is highly individual, and depends on a number of other factors as well.
The effects of vibration on the human body have been researched for many years. No negative effects have been found at all, providing the Power Plate® is used according to our instructions and advice, and under proper supervision. Certain principles will have to be adhered to, such as responsible and safe use of the machine, and consultancy of a doctor prior to using the Power Plate® device, if any contra-indications are involved. However, a vast number of enthusiastic users of the Power Plate® equipment, many of whom are using Acceleration Training™ to combat the effects of different disorders or to speed up recovery after injury, can testify to the comprehensive range of positive effects.
Depending on how fit you are, the Power Plate® workout can contribute to a lesser or greater degree to a loss of fatty tissue in your body. The Power Plate® device has such an influence on some of the essential processes involved, it can, in fact, aid weight loss. As with any other activity, however, you will also have to pay attention to your calorie intake. Because the division between fatty tissue and muscles are positively influenced, training on the Power Plate® device will speed up the basic metabolism, leading to higher energy consumption. In short, if the energy intake is constant and its consumption rises, logically a negative
energy balance will be the result. In other words, you will decrease the amount of fatty tissue. However, this decrease does not correspond directly to your weight, as muscle tissue is heavier than fatty tissue.
Many of the processes in our body, among others burning calories, are regulated by hormones. These hormones are effectors, in other words, they can start a process in the body, speed it up or slow it down as necessary. If you train on Power Plate® equipment, your body will be stimulated to produce all kinds of hormones involved in the recuperation processes, which have a significant influence on reducing fatty tissues, such as the Human Growth Hormone. All of these factors can bring about a considerable reduction of fatty tissue, if combined with a program of the proper intensity.
Using Power Plate® machines increases flexibility in many different tissues, including the joints. To explain this phenomenon, the Janda Stretch method is helpful. In this method, the muscle is tensed and then stretched (contract-relax method). Training flexibility on the Power Plate® machine is based on this Janda method. All muscles and joints that are stretched during the training are fully mobilized. The vibration also loosens adhesions, which positively influences flexibility even more.
By using the Power Plate® machine in different positions (as shown on our training-poster), it is possible to stretch different muscles, which will relax after stepping off the plate. The Golgi apparatus is also activated during training, which promotes a high measure of relaxation (tendon-reflex). An extra advantage is that muscles are lengthened in a functional and active position, while not decreasing explosive muscle strength.
In all kinds of exercises we are dealing with the so-called super compensation phenomenon. The training stimulus should be strong enough to generate a physical effect. Therefore, if the exercises are not strenuous, you will need to adapt the circumstances and increase the stimulus by intensifying your training schedule. You should always try to achieve the maximum result and have feel some level of fatigue or exertion of the muscles after each training session.
A Power Plate® work out is intensive and quite taxing, and you will certainly perspire – albeit not as heavily as during an intensive cardiovascular program – especially when you expand the number of exercises or shorten the period of rest in between. You are physically exerting yourself, causing an increase in body temperature and metabolism, which will cause perspiration. The extent of exertion obviously depends on the program you perform – massage, relaxation or stretch exercises will most likely not make you perspire heavily.
If you use the machine according to our instructions and are not suffering from any type of migraine, headaches are normally caused by not having taken enough fluids containing glucose prior to the training. Scientific research has shown that almost 70 % of the population is suffering from dehydration, as a result of drinking coffee and alcohol, smoking, stress, and not drinking enough water. This means that a lot of people do not have enough fluids in their bodies. Over 50 % of our bodies consist of water, which is why the fluid balance is of the utmost importance. This is augmented by diets, where people are encouraged to eat less, which will decrease the amount of fluids taken in even further. This group should in fact drink a lot more water. Training on the Power Plate® device, which causes an enormous activation of the lymphatic system, will result in a loss of body fluids. Therefore, we advise people to consume at least 300 ml of fluids before training. Acceleration Training™ also causes the blood glucose level to drop. Because many people have bad eating habits and skip meals, they often already have a low blood glucose level. This may lead to hypoglycemia (an abnormal diminished concentration of blood glucose). However, we do point out that
identical complaints will occur while undertaking any kind of intensive training, and not a problem specifically related to Acceleration Training™.
In principle, you could exchange your cardio training for the Power Plate® schedule, but only if you were to
perform all of the exercises dynamically and have little or no rest in between. Acceleration Training™ will
attain many of the effects you are developing in cardio-training. If you are an athlete using the Power Plate®
workout as a part of, or in preparation for your regular training, it is advisable to integrate cardio-respiratory
training in a complete program. In that way, the Power Plate® work out will work as a catalyst and enhance
the effect of the cardio-respiratory stimulation enormously.
You can integrate Power Plate® training anywhere in your exercise schedule. Some people prefer to start with weight training, followed by cardio-training, and then on to the massage-exercises on the Power Plate® machine. However, you can adapt the schedule according to your own preferences. Perform the most demanding and fatiguing training component first. Normally this is your Power Plate® component. If you are doing high intensity intervals in your cardio component, then do that before you do your Power Plate® training.
After having trained on the Power Plate® for some time, one option for progressing your program is to work alternating (opposing) movements. For example, a Push-up with a Bent Row, or Biceps with Triceps. This can also be done with alternating upper and lower body movements. Later on, you can perform the exercises without breaks, increasing workout efficiency. A big advantage of performing the exercises without pause is that the heart rate remains elevated during the entire schedule, intensifying your training and providing cardiovascular stimulus as well. However if your goals are more strength and power based, then maintaining breaks and increasing the intensity of work would be a better option.
Traditional exercise schedules recommend dividing the different muscle groups into 2 or even 3 training sessions, to enable the body to recuperate after exertion. Training on the Power Plate® equipment has an enormous advantage over more traditional training, as it causes considerably less damage to the muscles (the session is shorter, no excessive strain). However, the speed of recuperation depends on physical fitness and the specific exercises that you perform on the Power Plate® device. Training your entire body in one day is absolutely no problem if your physical ability and fitness level allows you to.
If you will be training with a physiotherapist or a certified Power Plate® instructor, the minimum recommended age to commence the work out is 12 years. Obviously, frequency, position and duration of the training will have to be adapted to the specific person concerned. All exercises should be performed in “low” mode/frequency. Young people can profit from the numerous benefits of Acceleration Training™ as much as any other age group.
One of the first applications of the Power Plate® device was in combat of the effects of Osteoporosis. The vibrations and different forces affecting the body during a Power Plate® session stimulate the bone tissue, mainly because of the greater force that stronger muscles exert on the bones. In published studies performed by several universities, research has shown that the vibrations themselves cause the increase in bone mineral density. When muscles are reinforced, the bone structure is adjusted and the production of bone cells is stimulated. It follows that for elderly people, the Power Plate® workout is a great aid for
keeping their muscles active in an easy, safe, and simple manner, without having to use external weights, dumbbells, or dynabands. There is also a lot less strain put on the joints, ligatures, and tendons during Acceleration Training™ than with conventional weight training. All of the visible results achieved by young people are attainable for the elderly as well.
POWER PLATE INTERNATIONAL organizes practical and theoretical presentations and demonstrations of Power Plate® equipment, where doctors, physiotherapists and other specialists are very welcome.
Internationally, Acceleration Training™ is gaining vast acceptance and familiarity within the medical sphere due to ever emerging scientific backup and research studies. The knowledge on the many applications of Acceleration Training™ is growing rapidly, not only in the world of fitness and health, but also in the area of medical and paramedical care. If your doctor, specialist or physical therapist would like to know more about the Power Plate® technology and its possible applications, please ask him or her to check our website, www.powerplate.com.
These days there is a lot of media attention and a lot of scientific research aimed at the effects of Acceleration Training™ on the human body. Our body was made for movement and agility. We have been perfectly equipped to absorb all of the vibrations we are confronted with in our daily lives. The amount of mechanical vibrations we are exposed to has increased enormously over the last few centuries. However, compared to the Power Plate® technique there are some fundamental differences.
While training on the Power Plate® machine, you are actively using the positive effect of vibrations, which are being absorbed by the muscles, instead of the joints. The duration is also very important. The total amount of time of a training session has no relation to the time people are exposed to vibrations in a working environment. In short, if you are healthy and train according to our instructions and under certified supervision, Acceleration Training™ is a very safe and comfortable way of exercising.
During massage applications, the circulation will mainly improve locally, with a very positive effect as it counteracts cellulite. During exercises involving contraction of the muscles, circulation usually diminishes temporarily – this phenomenon is known as vasoconstriction. While standing on the Power Plate® platform however, circulation in both muscle and skin tissue increases due to the alternating constriction and relaxation of the muscles – lasting up to several hours upon completion of the workout.
Yes, this is a perfectly normal phenomenon. Using the Power Plate® device enormously stimulates circulation. People with complaints connected to circulation can greatly benefit from using the Power Plate® machine because it is very effective in improving the transport of waste products. In some cases, erythemia may occur, (severe reddening of the skin, usually on the legs) which can be extremely unpleasant. For many people this is just a temporary phenomenon. However, if erythemia persists, we advise you to cease exercising on Power Plate® equipment.