• Power on a plate

    Power Plate workout at Hidden Springs Wellness Center will challenge your stability
  • This will shake up your workout.
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  • This will shake up your workout.
    It's the Power Plate, a machine that vibrates in many directions while users do typical exercise motions and positions on it.
    The theory is that the vibrations make the body feel unstable, so it reacts by resisting the motion of the Power Plate, which demands a lot more performance, enabling you to accomplish 90 minutes of working out in 30 minutes.
    "You don't need any more than that, believe me," says personal trainer Mahalath Gordon, who leads Power Plate workouts at Hidden Springs Wellness Center in Ashland.
    The machine was invented by Russians to resolve the problem of bone-density loss for weightless astronauts, allowing them to remain in space longer, says Gordon. It since has been used for the Olympics and by professional sports leagues, including the NFL and NBA, she adds.
    Users cite a spectrum of benefits that come from "advanced vibrational technology," including speed, power, endurance, stamina, flexibility, balanced hormones, less stress, elevated serotonin and more rapid healing, she says.
    "It's strenuous and really gets your heart rate up," says Beverly Banner, 77, panting from doing a 100-count on the device in various positions, including lunges, squats, pushups, abdominal crunches, seated leg lifts, bridge and plank.
    It's a lot harder than it sounds, and it's a challenge to keep your balance, says Banner, but "I feel more erect, more energy, with more of a sense of security. It's definitely healing. Whatever ails you, it will improve that condition."
    Chiropractor Rod Newton, owner of Hidden Springs, says he got the machines because "they take intense concentration. They do things nothing else does — with circulation, lymph flow and making you stronger and faster.
    "It provides three times the muscle strength (for the same amount of workout time), with gains of 50 percent versus 17 percent," says Newton, adding that it has been documented to keep muscle mass and bone density at higher levels in older people.
    Gordon acknowledges the Power Plate has "intense vibration" and takes some getting used to. Newton adds that "the out-of-control feeling actually is good. You feel destabilized, and it alerts your brain. After, you feel good. You feel aliveness."
    The Power Plate moves side to side, back and forth and up and down, notes Gordon, "forcing the muscles involuntarily to contract and relax many times a second because the body wants to stabilize itself. The heart and respiratory system have to work harder. Even people in wheelchairs can use it, by putting their feet on it or sitting on it."
    Gordon trains two people at a time during Power Plate sessions, so workouts are semiprivate, she says.
    Sessions cost $30 for the general public and $25 for members of Hidden Springs and students. The first session is free, and when someone purchases a package, the per-session price drops, she says.
    Gordon says she's been using the machine for nine years and has seen it take away cellulite and spider veins, assist people getting off insulin, speed healing of nerve damage and help to tighten and tone skin.
    The workout can augment a normal routine, you can employ normal weights while on Power Plate and, says Gordon, "you'll be in the best shape of your life."
    For details, see www.hiddenspringswellness.com or call 541-488-8858.
    John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.
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