Perform Better: Chain Reaction

by David Howatson-Begg


The complexity of our bodies is mind blowing. Internally we have a universe full of cellular activity, miles of interconnected tissues and pathways that are working non-stop to keep us breathing. How we use all of the plumbing and electricity within our bodies to move our mass is equally impressive. At Power Plate we have a healthy obsession for movement. That dedication to understanding how we walk, run, jump, lift and land is the thread that runs through our education. The biggest question we look to answer is how do we get the most out of our movement on Power Plate?

Eye Contact

Stand comfortably in the middle of the room with your feet around hip-width apart. Make sure you have a little space to move and extend your right arm out in front at chest level. With your thumb pointed to the roof, take your right arm as far to the right as you can, all the way behind you while keeping the arm extended and eyes looking straight ahead. Note how far the arm traveled and any tightness or discomfort you feel then bring that arm back home. Repeat the process but this time keep the eyes fixed on the right thumb as you rotate. Notice the difference?

Now try it a third time and note what happens to the feet as you watch that thumb. What you are seeing is a chain reaction. The second time you should see that the hand and thumb travel further with the body feeling more comfortable than before. The third time you'll note that the right foot rolls out to the right with the left foot rolling inward to the right. All of this tells us that the eyes are connected to the thumb, which is connected to the feet. Nothing works in isolation. Bingo. Now you know that subtle changes such as moving the hands, reaching and looking north/south/east/west will make more things happen in your body.

A shift in our center of gravity will also stimulate a whole chain reaction. Lean forward onto the balls of your feet and you'll feel the major muscles in your back/butt switch on if you stay there long enough. Likewise if you lean back onto your heels those anterior tissues such as abdominals and thighs will turn on.

The interconnected nature of the body you just experienced first hand is important in vibration training. Rapid stimulation brought on by the speed of Power Plate means that the nervous system must recruit as much of the body as possible to stabilise, maintain posture and move. Adding that knowledge and a small shift of the legs or rotation of the hips to something common such as a triceps dip suddenly wakes up and works the whole body.

Once our students try the thumb trick then they move and explore their movement options a whole heap more than they thought they would! More movement builds more muscle, strips more fat and above all, is way more fun.