Break Barriers and Repeat

by David Howatson-Begg

Man using Power Plate in a gym

Denver Broncos using Power Plate in their gym

People can sometimes react to Power Plate with a fight or flight response to vibration. New movements coupled with a new environment can be tricky to adjust to. In certain settings people are used to certain movements. What’s normal in the gym isn’t normal in the supermarket and vice versa. Opening a program with complex or unfamiliar movements can amplify the uncertainty around this new environment. In previous articles we've highlighted the need for beginners to start slowly to help them get over any daunting feelings. That same approach applies to the trainer.

Regarding starting point movements we'd want to cover the fundamentals such as squat, push, pull, bend, rotate, lunge and locomotion. Progressive movements are always dependent on the client. The exercise choice, order, and how they develop must be a reflection of the needs of that person. Past experience and expectation must also be thrown into the mix of considerations as any underlying bias or trepidation will kick in. Confidence takes a knock if we slip up or find a movement too difficult so bringing it back to where we were successful may mean stepping back three or four weeks. If it's necessary then that's ok.


From experience we know that those starting point movements can go one of two ways. A trainer can become frustrated by the fundamentals, as they might be deemed too simple. Likewise the client’s own frustration can come to a head if those movements are viewed as being too simple or too easy. Bear in mind that successful movement is built through repetition. Neuroplasticity is only achieved through repetition. A significant benefit of using Power Plate is the improved motor learning and recruitment of muscular tissue to help the user move better or gain strength. In the absence of repetition these benefits can be diminished. Therefore our homework becomes highly valuable in the quest for success. With limited time afforded to face-to-face trainer-client interaction (maybe 60 minutes per week, the work done by the client alone during the other 167 hours in the week becomes vital in building movement or motor memory.

Power Plate will only enable an increase in motor memory if the participant's brain is supported through repetition. A poor squat cannot be instantly cured by 30 seconds of exposure to vibration. Granted there will be an increase in mobility and the body will be warmer but only through repeat action can vibration truly take effect. Beware of the temptation to progress too quickly, spend time in the movements where the body feels successful. Variation is often added for variation’s sake. Progression should be mapped out based on the response of the client. Vibration can undoubtedly get us moving more efficiently in a relatively short period of time, however those fundamental movements should never be completely forgotten.

"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
-Bruce Lee