In case you haven’t yet cottoned on, I am a big fan of my food. As a baby I was apparently as quiet as a mouse until I was hungry then I would scream until I was fed, even in between spoonfuls. 26 years later and not much has changed. Thus I am constantly on a search for new exercise ideas that will keep me entertained and counteract the effects of the amount I eat. The new one that peaked my interest is a new Vibration Studio that literally just opened today (2nd February) near Portishead Quays Marina.
Tucked away in Kestrel Court along Harbour Road, Jonathan Hughes has set up a room of four vibrating plates (or “power plates”) and gym equipment to support the intense classes. With over 15 years experience in the fitness industry, and particular experience using the vibrating plates within his personal training sessions, he is spreading the trend that is already very popular in London.
I had few preconceptions on what would be in store when I agreed to trying it out. In my head I did however have an image of simply standing on a plate that vibrates and that does all the work for you. It turns out that it’s quite a bit harder than that. Instead we were taken through a series of exercises that were made all the more difficult by the fact that what you are standing on is moving very quickly in three different directions, putting your body out of balance.
As a technology that has evolved from development beginnings in the Russian Space Programme, there is unsurprisingly a science to this exercise (in the words of Jennifer Aniston: “Here comes the science bit”). With the vibrations putting you off balance your muscles are unconsciously make very rapid contractions. As your muscles are contracting more, you can workout in significantly less time. Consequently, classes at Vibration Studio are only 20 minutes long!!! I did not initially believe that 20 minutes would be enough UNTIL I tried it out. Where I can usually do lots of squats, 60 seconds worth of squats with a kettle bell on the power plate was burning my thighs. Hours later, I am also still feeling the results of the bums, legs and tums focused class.
I will warn you – it’s an odd sensation when you first try it out, particularly if you stand up too straight, but even in one 20 minute session you start to get used to it and see the benefits, of which there are many. The vibration plate has been shown to improve general fitness, sports performance, body shaping and overall health. Where we could immediately see the effects was in our flexibility. Firstly touching our toes off the plate, then on the plate, and finally attempting it back on the floor I had my hands flat on the ground by the end of it. 🙂
Jonathan’s aim with the studio was to create a female friendly (although the classes are open to everyone) atmosphere where women can feel they can attempt the more intense exercises. I love this idea as I am sure I am not the only who avoids what I have termed the “scary man-weight area” in the gym. With only four plates the classes are also limited to this number so you practically get a personal training session for a fraction of what you would usually pay. You can firstly sign up to 11 sessions to get used to the new exercise before signing yourself up to a monthly direct debit. All the price information can be found on the Vibration Studio website.
There will only be a maximum of 100 clients signed up at one time to ensure they can give a more personal experience, particularly compared to the larger corporate gyms you may be more used to. Classes run every half hour Monday to Saturday (although closes earlier on a Saturday as very few people would like to give up their Saturday afternoon to exercise) and can be booked 7 days in advance. With a maximum of three sessions a week recommended and only 20 minutes it would be a really easy routine to fit into our busy lives! They will also be introducing nutritional advice with a range of ‘Herbalife’ products and events that will build up a social element to your health routine. Oh and above all, they are lovely people! 🙂 You can see this from the testimonials on the website.
Unfortunately Portishead is a bit too much of a trek for me, but as this starts to take off and Vibration Studios expands, there had better be one opening up near Clifton. If it does, I will be the first one to sign up!