The Power Zone

Welcome to the Power Zone! Here to work out your mind not just your body, every month we’ll be sharing our views on health, wellbeing, fitness and nutrition, to help you work towards a healthy lifestyle for life. We hope you’ll find it an interesting and informative read!

    Prepare to Rotate and Rotate to Prepare

    A great Article written by one of the Power Plate Master Trainers, David Howatson.

    Prepare to Rotate and Rotate to Prepare

    When thinking of a list of things I loved for an icebreaker on a training day, I came up with a pretty extensive catalogue of activities, types of music and sports, all of which could be utilized to drive engagement through the roof. Naturally, at the top of my list was food (specifically a certain American brand of double stuffed cookie…but only as a treat). There are very few things in our world that the human body enjoys more than food, in fact, we can’t live without it. When it comes to creating movement in our physical world, the body has another necessity - functional feeding in the form of rotation…again, we can’t live without it. We are built in spirals that are apparent in everything we do, from how we move to the very structure of our DNA. If every fiber of our being involves coils, curves and corkscrews, it’s no surprise that our greatest efficiency in movement lies in the rotational or transverse plane of motion. Despite this knowledge, we often see a limited amount of rotational movement during warm-ups, stretches or preparatory activities in standard exercise programs. If I asked you to perform a twisting motion through your ankle, knee or hip you might cringe at the mere thought of it!

    Neglecting to move the body through transverse plane spiral movements at the start of your training session could restrict the body’s ability to perform most efficiently. Let’s take running for example; one of the most natural, innate functional exercises we can execute, where vital transverse plane motion occurs, even though we may think typically think of only the sagittal (forward and backward) plane. As the foot strikes the ground, the legs and pelvis rotate in all three planes of motion at the same time, with the transverse plane being critical to allow the body to accommodate the ground and then prepare for flight. If I’m going to get rotation in my hip, it stands to reason that I’ll get some movement in the transverse plane at my knee and ankle, as well as up in the shoulder region. Without preparation in the transverse plane, dysfunction becomes inevitable leading to discomfort and eventually breakdown. At best, I’ll struggle to beat my lap time, but either way, my mind and body won’t be completely happy.

    Everything Moves That Way…

    From skin to bone, muscle to fascia all of our tissues move in three planes of motion. Some parts of our bodies, such as joints, like a little more of a certain plane than others, but in the spirit of authentic function, they’ll all give you at least a few degrees of rotation. An ideal way of integrating the transverse plane into your pre-workout program is to start with a stretch or a movement that is familiar to you. Put yourself into a standard position to stretch the front of your hip or hip-flexors, a split stance, commonly shown in a lunge pose with one knee posterior or behind you, elevated on Power Plate®. A recognizable stance for most of us, but not one we see being made dynamic, and even more rare to see with rotation added into the mix. From that position, you can drive the hips forward and back lifting the chest driving the whole body, side to side (in adduction and abduction), and in what we are most interested in here, rotation of the hips and trunk from left and right (internal and external). Hitting each of these planes means you’ve prepared the hips for a bit of everything, and most importantly, for how movement really occurs throughout the body, in everyday life.

    The beauty of doing a simple task such as opening up the hip with Power Plate is that the body is allowed to move through its own range, and you are in control. Should you take the movement a little farther, or drive the hips into a different plane of motion, the vibration will be very accommodating. Due to the increased activity in the nervous system, the subconscious excitation, and increased circulation, the hip has been authentically prepared for the rotation it needs to perform the upcoming exercises you have planned.

    Power Plate stimulates/loads the body from the bottom up as opposed to top down like a barbell or a free weight, giving you the freedom to move in any way you choose. As long as it’s safe, and you have a rationale or reason for doing it, then go for it! Add some gentle twists and turns to the patterns you’d normally use to mobilize the body. A sound strategy for achieving this is to choose a range of movement in which you feel that you move comfortably and with success. If you normally mobilize the hips or hip flexors in that split stance mentioned earlier, start there and think about adding a simple tweak such as positioning a leg more to the left or right. How does that change the sensation? What about turning the foot in or out? Can you change the distance of the split stance?

    Every single time you adjust your pose the muscular and connective tissues will adapt, changing where the tension or ‘stretch’ is felt. This, in turn, will change where the vibration is transferred and how the body absorbs it as the vibration will follow the lines of tension. By adding a little dynamic movement in the transverse plane on Power Plate we are rapidly stimulating the system to improve the motion and enhance the motor learning involved. Once we can wrap our heads around the concept and appreciate the presence of rotation in all of our daily movements, it is then, and only then, can we truly get the best out of our movement preparation.

    If you want to test the importance of the transverse plane, try getting out of the bathtub or your car without rotating and see how far you get. Good luck!


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    Is your routine working for you?

    Running safe

    Routine is good. Routine is safe. We are introduced to routine at an early age, as babies, the repetition is soothing and makes us feel secure.  It’s a useful way to manage what could otherwise be an overwhelming amount of choices and options thrown at us in life: stick to a routine and you tune out the distractions, and calmly proceed along your known path, with its known outcome, and that is reassuring. It keeps stress levels down. It can also make you more effective, help you be more organised, as it’s tried and tested, and you’re spending less time exploring different options which may or may not end up as mistakes that you’d have to correct and start again. Put it like that, and it sounds rather robotic though, doesn’t it?

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    Giving up sugar - is this my daughter?!

    Last week's post on cutting out sugar seems to have caused quite a stir! A few of you have tried it and found it hard to keep going. Emma herself has been through it first-hand with her daughter, and while it was tough at first, the results were quite remarkable, so we thought it might be helpful to share their experience with you:

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    Cutting out sugar - yes or no?

    Now that January is over, many of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief as you pour yourselves that long awaited glass of wine or reach for the packet of biscuits you’ve been denying yourself while you’ve been detoxing…

    But, before you do, take a moment to think about how you felt with less sugar in your diet. More energy? Less tired? Skin looking better? Fewer mood swings? Weight loss? Cutting out sugar can make a big difference to some people.

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    Tis the season to be dancing!

    Dads dancing. Gangnam Style. Twerking. Everyone loves a bit of a boogie! And with the season of goodwill and Christmas parties well and truly upon us, now’s the time to throw some shapes on the dance floor.

    Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it

    Since the beginning of man (and woman!), dancing has been part of our social rituals, as a form of communication, an expression of feelings, a way of attracting a mate. It can be highly symbolic, such as a couple’s first dance at a wedding. And it’s not only humans who do it.

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    An antioxidant a day will keep the doctor away!

    It’s that time of year where everyone seems to be sniffing and coughing and spluttering and sneezing everywhere! Good levels of fitness maintained by regular exercise like Power Plate classes will go a long way to keeping the sniffles at bay, but sometimes our immune systems need an extra boost, so here are our top recipes for cold-busting home remedies.

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    Remember to breathe!

    “Don’t forget to breathe!” is a common refrain in instructor-led fitness classes – we all do it, puffing and panting as we begin to feel the burn, gritting our teeth and holding on for dear life until we are told we can stop. Tense up the core and you automatically restrict your breath, so it takes conscious training to be able to breathe freely as you exercise.

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    Fitness facts about running

    According to a recent sports marketing survey, the UK’s running population has reached 10.5 million people. That’s 10.5 million lycra clad people who recognise that regular exercise can have lasting benefits, from increasing fitness levels and weight loss, to reducing stress by releasing mood boosting endorphins.

    Is running better than for you than other forms of exercise?

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    All about the balance!

    We know that the magic formula for keeping fit and keeping weight under control is 20% exercise and 80% diet. How to find the right balance can sometimes be a bit of a challenge though! Drop the exercise, and the body won’t be as effective at burning the fat; exercise more and the body will need more fuel to feed the muscles.

    Eat less, move more?

    Unless you are a trained fitness or nutritionist specialist, it can be hard to know what’s the best food to eat to boost your training, and recovery, potential, while giving you the right balance of all the vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrate that you need. And our busy lifestyles mean that we don’t always have the time to shop for or make everything from scratch. So we often end up eating the wrong thing, because it’s quick, and having to work out twice as hard to make up for it – which makes us hungry again…and there we are again, battling to find the right balance of exercise with the right food!

    Are meal replacements the answer?

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    Prevention is better than cure

    Most people sign up to our Power Plate classes because they know that vibration training gets you fit and helps you burn fat and lose weight, but did you know about the health and rehabilitation benefits of vibration training too? It’s not just exercise and fitness that it’s good for.

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