By Simon Gould
I’ve written many articles comparing different fitness equipment, including the difference between treadmills and spin bikes, as well as the difference between treadmills and stair steppers. But, I don’t think any can be more different than a treadmill and a vibration plate. The very nature of the exercises you do on them make them completely different. You do different things on them and they have different effects on the body. So let’s look at the treadmill and vibration machine in detail.
The exercise performed on a vibration plate are based around baring the body weight while the vibrating happens. You can squat for a certain amount of time and this builds the muscles in the legs, while the platform encourages the blood to circulate and your bone density to increase. Some platforms have handles so you can exercise the upper body too.
The vibration means you have to be careful to keep your balance. The exercises you do all help increase your flexibility and your range of motion also gets better. The exercises you do will take up less time than a treadmill. You will have less cardiovascular benefit with a power plate. But you will have an increase in muscle strength and toning.
Vibration plates are great for those who haven’t exercised much or before. It’s really not difficult to get on and go. The exercises can start small and slow at first and you can increase in time. For this reason they’ve very good for the elderly and you can adjust how much vibration occurs with good platforms. Anaerobic exercise is easy to begin with and doesn’t require much commitment.
In comparison to the plate, the treadmill is very much an aerobic and cardiovascular exercise. It really gets the heart and lungs going. While most will run, you can walk on a treadmill to begin with if you don’t have much fitness before you start. A treadmill does help balance and bone density but will not help you develop greater flexibility unlike a vibration platform.
With a vibration plate you would exercise 2 or 3 times per week. A treadmill and other similar exercises like an elliptical or bike require a greater commitment on time and effort. The World Health Organization recommend we get 2 and a half hours of cardio exercise per week. This could equate to 30 minutes, 5 days per week. They advise 2 strength days per week and this is what a vibration platform is for.
With both the treadmill and plate you can do a variety of exercises. For weight loss the treadmill wins. The plate can help but, for burning calories, you need aerobic exercise and the treadmill is king. There are all kinds of workouts you can do to burn calories like long distance or interval training. You can even get an accurate calculation of the amount of calories burned.
The cost of both fitness equipment can spiral if you want to get the best. This is the case if you want a plate or treadmill that has all the features you want. You generally get what you pay for and you can pay an awful lot. I’ve seen power plates on sale for just under $10,000! Although a very good treadmill can cost a similar amount.
If you want to pay less, then you can. A good treadmill can be bought for around $2,000 and the same goes for a vibration plate. It’s when you start paying less than this that you start getting sub standard products. You may have a short warranty. Or you may have less features like no speed control on the plate or a manual treadmill with no motor.
If you have a gym at home then I always advise you have a variety of equipment. You need to think about all the exercises you may need to do and which parts of the body they workout. A treadmill would cover the cardio part of a gym. Then you would need strength and balance, this can be obtained through a vibration plate. I would include weights and a bench as well to complete your gym.
Then more equipment you have, the more the cost. But you can’t put a price on your health. If you stay fit and healthy you’re likely to live longer and be active when you’re older. Rather than someone who suffers illnesses in their old age. The benefits go beyond than and the feeling after having a good workout is something that can’t be beaten.
As to which is better? Then it’s down to your personal preference. I personally prefer a cardio workout that my treadmill gives me. I don’t get the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment on a power plate. That doesn’t mean I should neglect that kind of exercise, I choose to do it using different means.
Time is a factor for me and although the vibration plate is far less time consuming, for the reasons stated before, I choose not to use one. They are becoming popular though and even health clubs and gyms have started having them. They wouldn’t do this if there was no demand. As with any advice I give, exercising at all is the important thing.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.