Spa Junkie at… Good Vibes

A workout that claims to burn the calories of an hour-long aerobics class in half the time? Our covert reporter can’t sign up fast enough

Impressed by Good Vibes’ infrared yoga class, Spa Junkie is back to try its vibrating workout…

Keen for a quick exercise blast before catching a flight, I make a return trip to Good Vibes to try its high-speed, fast-results Power Plate workout. Its vibrations stimulate the muscles, causing them to contract and relax 30 to 50 times a second and I have been seduced by the studio’s claim that regular users of the Power Plate lose 50 per cent more weight than those who follow more conventional training (including running and aerobics).

7.00am

I enter the fitness centre and ascend the stairs to meet my Power Plate instructor. The room appears more like a children’s play area than a grown-up exercise studio. On the orange floor are six bright-blue mats, which sit beneath the Power Plate machines. The strip lights, multicoloured medicine balls stacked in the corner and the bright-orange shirt that my instructor, Joe, is sporting combine in an eye-popping colour clash.

I step on to the Power Plate Pro 5 machine. Joe shows me the interface where he explains that the three settings refer to frequency level (ranging from 30 to 50 hertz), time (ranging from 25 to 60 seconds) and amplitude, in other words the strength of the vibration (which can be set to low or high).

He sets the plate to a low frequency of 30 hertz for 30 seconds on the low amplitude setting. I instantly feel the vibrations flood into my body from my legs up to my face – producing a rather unpleasant ringing sensation in my ears. Joe explains that I need to keep my knees slightly bent to direct the vibrations towards my legs – where I want them to be.

I stand with my feet shoulder-width apart and hold on to the bars at the top of the machine and move the balls of my feet up and down for 30 seconds. Next up, squats – a 12 repetition sequence lasting 30 seconds. I feel a magnificently intense burning sensation across my quads.

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Stepping off the machine, legs quivering slighty, I’m immediately on my knees, facing the plate, with my hands on its edges, ready for a rapid-fire, 30-second, 12-rep set of push-ups. Here the vibrations penetrate my tricep muscles.

Standing up, it’s straight on to a speedy set of step-ups, alternating between legs, which works my quad muscles. Without so much as a breath, I then put my hands on the plate and hold a plank position for 30 seconds.

A set of lunges is swiftly followed by another set of squats – this time in a slightly wider stance than the normal kind, with my toes turned out. My quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves tingle, but my inner thighs and glutes burn. The pace is fast alright.

One beat between exercises and it’s on to a set of “mountain climb” poses – step-ups where I swing my leg up and out to the side and then into my body. I feel ridiculous, but apparently it helps to open up the hip adductors and tones the legs.

Joe then asks me to sit on the plate, facing outwards with my hands at the sides, before rolling my lower back onto the plate and spreading my legs into a V shape. I am told to hold this sprawling position for 30 seconds. My core muscles burn. Seconds later, Joe hands me a medicine ball, and I stretch out to the left, right and above, working my stomach muscles.

Sets of triceps dips, press-ups and wide squats finish the session. I am pouring with sweat and my body is physically buzzing. I stretch out my quads and hamstrings, and step off the plate. I have lots of energy and my limbs feel light, lithe and incredibly toned. Joe tells me that the session will have burnt off around 300 to 350 calories – not bad for 25 minutes. He warns me that the after-effect will be quite noticeable; I may feel very stiff for the next day or two.

The Bottom Line

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My Power Plate session gave me a full-body workout in an incredibly short time frame. It has a great reputation for building muscle but this fast-paced routine also gets the heart racing. It’s definitely something I would do again if I was on a deadline or pushed for time.

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