Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Easy To Get Lazy When A Machine Can Get You Fit

“Fitness fads come and go, but there's one that is rapidly gaining credibility in elite sporting circles - vibration training machines. You've probably heard of the Powerplate, which Madonna, Claudia Schiffer and Kylie Minogue swear by but the more widely available brand in Australia is Vibrogym - a vertical vibration platform. Though skeptical of the promised benefits, which included increased strength and toning, flexibility and balance and reduced body fat and cellulite, I was curious to track one down in Brisbane and see what all the fuss was about. I signed up to a trial of nine, 30-minute sessions and started noticing a difference by the sixth session. My flexibility has improved (before I could just touch my toes, but I can now almost put my hands flat on the floor - in fact measurements taken during my first and last sessions showed I could stretch my hamstrings a further 5cm). I look more toned (particularly in my legs and stomach area) and my strength has improved (I can hold the plank position for twice as long as I used to be able to and do twice as many push-ups). Contrary to popular belief, you can't lose inches off your waistline by just standing on the machine and doing nothing. You do actually have to move your butt and perform exercises on it, which I was initially quite peeved about. In fact, I didn't actually lose much weight while using the machine because while vibration training does burn calories and increase metabolism, it is primarily for strengthening, firming and toning, so you can still expect to go down a dress size even though the scales might not say so. According to the Vibrogym website, the machine ‘induces a Tonic Vibration Reflex (TVR) which recruits up to 95 per cent of your muscle fibres, whereas in conventional resistance training only 40 to 50 per cent of your muscle fibres are recruited’. In other words, it builds muscle without you having to pump iron. Perhaps the best thing about this new exercise phenomenon is its time-saving benefits. It allows you to do a workout in your lunch break and still have time to eat lunch.”,23739,24379504-23272,00.html

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