After the publication of his book, A Mysterious Something in The Light, a biography of Raymond Chandler, author, Tom Williams, is on a mission to get back in shape, here he sees how the Vibrogym can help!
I’ve always been suspicious of gym equipment that promises to take the work out of exercise. Let’s face it, anything that offers us something for nothing usually delivers just that, and vibrating exercise equipment has always seemed to fit into that category. I’ve seen those ads that arrive on television shortly after Christmas where chiseled, lithe limbed, athletic men and women claim they got their physique using a series of muscle flexing pads, as if that sort of gym honed look were achievable whilst doing something mundane like the ironing. So when Spabreaks.com suggested I meet with Michelle, aka ‘the vibrator lady’, at VILLAGE Hotel Elstree, for a session with her vibrating plates I accepted expecting to be disappointed.
Michelle turned out to be one of those chiseled, lithe limbed, athletic sorts who could easily appear in a television ad and this should have put pay to my skepticism from the off. It should have but, to my shame, it did not. In fact it wasn’t until she introduced me to the vibrating plates she works with that I began to shed my suspicions of the whole the thing. We started with simple acclimatization. This involved me standing still while Michelle cranked through the three vibrating speeds (more accurately, frequencies, another clue I should have picked up on perhaps). The first speed was a mild and rather pleasant hum; the second was more of a vigorous buzz, a bit like you get shortly after a plane takes off; but it was the third speed where I started to realize how wrong I had been. As Michelle switched the machine to the highest setting my world became a blur as every bone, cell and fiber in my body shook with real intensity. ‘Don’t worry’, she explained, ‘you get used to it soon enough.’ I felt rather like one of James Bond’s martinis as I climbed off the step of the machine.
The exercises that followed this initiation were not what I expected either. I had always been under the impression that you just sort of stood on the plates in various poses and let the machine do the work. Though this can be so – and for the unfit or if you’re carrying an injury, it’s a great way to start getting back into shape – under Michelle’s expert eye I was put through my paces. Firstly, a little bit of running up to the plate and off it again. Simple? Not so when it’s shaking fiercely. It really gets the heart going. Then came some bicep curls. This was one of those exercises that involved holding straps attached to the plate and letting the vibrations run up your arms to the bicep muscle. This was no easy task and required focus and concentration to keep everything in place and, after at 45 second burst of vibration, it you felt liked you’d lifted some serious weight.
Balance is a key part of vibration plate training and this means that your core gets a real workout almost as a sideline (though there are quite a few core specific exercises too if that’s an area you wish to focus on). Nowhere is this more apparent than in the leg exercises Michelle put me through. The first saw me balancing on a half-ball with one foot whilst the other was on the plate and I crouched into a lunge. Again maintaining position required focus but, as the vibration increased, the glutes and the hamstrings were really put through their paces. A second exercise saw me lie on my back with both legs on the vibrating plate and then, using a flat foot of one leg, I had to push my trunk off the floor. This was very like a single leg press and, with the vibrations at a high intensity, it certainly felt like one.
At the end I received a nice surprise of a gentle massage from the machine. It was a wonderful way to cool down and stretch after a sweaty and intensive session. After just 30 minutes of exercise with Michelle I was tired but exhilarated. The session had been nothing like what I expected and the appeal of these machines is clear. They are an excellent way to introduce gentle exercise to a routine but they are flexible enough to provide more than just that and, if you want a real test of strength and stamina Michelle will certainly work you hard. I can’t wait to have another go and I’ll never dismiss vibrating plates again.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.