My name is Alex and I am an avid exerciser and fitness enthusiast. The purpose of this article is to give a thorough and honest review of the most popular whole body vibration machines out there so you can decide which one is best for you. I have now tried the commercial model Power Plate , the Power Plate my3, the Power Plate my5, and the Noblerex K1 . Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to see the final recommendation AND to listen to a comment from a Doctor Lenny Coco on the Power Plate.
Being really into fitness and personal training myself, I decided to try out the Power Plate at my gym. It definitely looked impressive with its slick, silver, space-aged design. It is certainly massive and looks powerful. I did not know anyone who tried it before so I had no idea what to expect.
A Pounding Power Plate Experience...
I got a free 25 personal training minute session on it. My trainer seemed pretty knowledgeable about the benefits of whole body vibration. (I had already done some research on whole body vibration myself so I knew quite a bit by then). She talked a lot about whole body vibration training for fitness, weight loss, and bone health. When I asked her if she’d ever heard of the Noblerex K1 or if she’d ever tried but any oscillating/pivotal machines she said something like “no, but I really like the vertical vibration.” It was clear to me that she had nothing else to compare to the Power Plate.
When I first got on the machine, I remember she said, “Let me know if you feel nauseous.” It seemed odd to me that she would have to say that but I realized why in a second. I didn’t feel nauseous but I did feel uncomfortable in my head and eyes - especially if I stood straight up! If I stood up straight, suddenly I would have blurred vision. I had to keep my knees bent at all times in order to avoid the vibrations from going straight to my head. I tried to get used to the feeling of being jolted up and down as we started the workout. The noise the Power Plate made reminded me of the sound my father's air compressor made when I was a kid.
We did about a dozen moves you would normally do on the floor or on a step. Those vibrations could get intense! I noticed she had to keep resetting the machine each time I got into a different position too. When I asked why the only settings were only for 15, 30, 45, or 60 seconds at a time she said because it was "unsafe to be in any one position for longer than a minute." Hmmm...
It was a pretty challenging workout, I’ll admit. Not exactly enjoyable, but a
challenging 25 minute workout. As soon as the workout was over, I immediately felt sore and almost "beat up." No headaches, thank goodness, but I had really taken a pounding from this machine. My legs hurt for three days straight and I was actually upset that I couldn’t run or workout for that time.
Problems with Simplicity & Ease of Use...
It's hard for me to say whether this machine's vibrations are what made gave me the workout or the personal trainer. I was expecting to do a simpler, and more fun, workout and to let the machine do more of the work. Instead, we did a workout that I feel would have been intense on its own, without a PowerPlate. You really have to push yourself to move in and out of various positions the entire time on the Power Plate just like you’d have to on your own without a machine. It's not the feel-good workout you'd think it would be.
Don’t get me wrong, the Power Plate definitely added to the workout, but I also would have liked to just stand on it and enjoy the vibrations, reap all the amazing benefits of whole body vibration, and get a full body workout.
It would be quite difficult for older, heavier, or out of shape people to use a Power Plate on their own, especially for a full 25 minute Power Plate workout session, because:
1. You can’t just stand on it because it feels so uncomfortable for your head and eyes. It lacks the ease of just being able to stand on it while watching TV or talking on the phone, unlike pivotal vibration machines like the Noblerex .
2. You have to hold some static or dynamic poses the entire time on the Power Plate, and that can be very challenging to do, even for just 10 minutes. You'd have to have to have supervision or a personal trainer to make sure you do this correctly and don't hurt yourself too, for sure.
3. You have to reset the machine at least every minute so your exercise routine is broken up into very short segments. You can’t just “set it and forget it" on the Power Plate.
I thought the whole point of these whole body vibration machines was that it made exercise easier and more efficient--so workouts could be shorter, and more effective for people with limited mobility due to injury and disability. They're supposed to help people who have back, joint and neck problems too. After my workout session on it, I just don’t see how the Power Plate can do this.
Power Plate is still by far the biggest and most well-known whole body vibration machine company out there. Not necessarily because it's the best, but because it has the best marketing. Since that Power Plate workout, I’ve read and heard about some about the dubious history of the company too. For example, the machines were initially made of stainless steal and manufactured in Europe. Now they're made in China because they could be made cheaper (with cheaper materials) and in larger quantities there. There has been no difference in retail price since that change, of course. I've also heard that their "tri-planar" vibration system is based on a manufacturing defect; the vibration was originally supposed to be a lot different and more controlled.
Also, since that initial workout, I’ve also personally tried the my3 and my5 Power Plate models at a home fitness equipment store in Chicago. The my3 model was a disappointment with a $2,500 price tag for and a fraction of the power, size, and sturdiness of the commercial model. The platform is so small you can only stand on it with your feet about a foot apart. The my5 is a better but still tiny in size and power in comparison to the model at the gym. The my5 will cost you $4,500 or more. The sales guy was a pretty big guy and when he got on it, it seemed like a toy! He could have easily toppled over on it. He told me that he personally can't use the my5 because he's too big and that someone his size would get the most benefit from the commercial model. Unfortunately, the commercial model you see at the gym costs over $10,000!
Like I said before, Power Plate has great marketing: I left that store with three gorgeous full color tri fold brochures that really told me nothing about these machines except how pretty they would look in three different colors in my home! Haha.