The world seemed to be in the grip of Quarantine, and I was putting myself through some gruelling weight training at my home gym. However, I have always had a problem with my muscles tightening, knots appearing all over my back and muscles getting so tight, to the point that they pull on my pelvis and create back ache and at one point I even experienced Sciatica! Not one to sit idly and just live with it, I am always in the search of remedies to fix this inherent ‘design fault’ with my body, and as a result I have researched, read, tried and experienced a multitude of techniques, remedies and therapies. Over time, through the Crossfit fraternity I discovered the best ways to solve my musculature problems was through various DIY techniques using foam rollers, lacrosse balls supplemented with periodic massage alongside changing various parts of my lifestyle from standing desks to better body position. This mix seems to do well to release tight muscles and deal with that ubiquitous fascia tissue that can stick the mechanics of the body together and bring you to a grinding halt. This DIY ‘Mobility’ work as I like to call it can take some time to perform and often takes many sessions to really penetrate into the depth of the muscles and convince them that they really should relax. Also, come the quarantine of 2020, getting a professional massage was out of the question. Enter left of stage Power Plate.
I have been aware of Power Plate for some time with their Whole Body Vibration products, having seen them in gyms and I seem to remember Madonna and Sting were big advocates for training with these machines. However, it seems that Power Plate also has a range of handheld products known as the ‘Power Plate Targeted Vibration Products’ so one can target those musculature problems anywhere. There are currently three products in the range, with a list of benefits such as:
Help relax and rejuvenate tight and sore muscles
Promotes blood flow and fascia release
Accelerates exercise warm up and recovery
Enhances range of motion
The Power Plate DualSphere is a very handy little device to concentrate the massage specifically where you need it. This is particularly useful in the region of the back and neck. I use this regularly up and down the spine, with the contoured shape perfectly hitting the muscles either side of the spine whilst avoiding pressure on the spine. I find it great to flex, curl and stretch out the back over the Dual Sphere, looking for tension, knots or sore points in the muscle as I go, stopping to work those points for a minute or two. The Power Plate Vibration Roller is great to include in my warm up and recovery to prepare the muscles and tendons, waking them up and making them malleable for heavy lifting. This is great for a general rolling of the entire back, but really comes into its own on the limbs extending up and down the side of the torso to hit various muscles such as the sides of the Lats and the external Obliques. Oh so painful, but oh so gratifying to roll the huge numbers of muscles throughout the legs from the various tight calf muscles to the wince inducing Quadricep muscles and the Gluteal muscles. I found it also worked really well on a roll of the Latissimus Dorsi through the Teres Major and on up to the Triceps.
The Power Plate Pulse has become an integral part of the self mobility massage tools. This ‘Massage Gun’ really can pinpoint the problems throughout my body. Surprisingly quiet for what it does and accompanied by various different heads to alter how it deals with the muscles and fascia. This can be used anywhere on the body, though I have required a little help when hitting some of the areas of the back- they need to design a wall holster for self back massage. This machine has been amazing at dealing with my tight upper Trapezius and various underlying muscles in the neck where other methods have not really been able to penetrate and solve the issues. The Pulse works in the range of 22-55HZ and it has been shown that vibration massage in the range of 20-60HZ increases blood flow with 50HZ delivering a rapid and longer lasting effect, it goes without saying that this increased blood flow brings many benefits from oxygenation of tissues, healing, delivery of nutrients and can apparently help slow or prevent muscle atrophy. One technique that produced great results was to push the Pulse against a painful point whilst tensing the targeted muscle for 5 seconds, followed by a quick release of the muscle over several repetitions. It is important to constantly take full deep breaths to help persuade the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the dysfunctional contracting tissues. It is also important to work above and below painful joints, for instance loosening the muscles above and below the knee can stop various muscles pulling on the bones of the knee thus causing pain and discomfort.
These Power Plate Tools have now become part of my everyday routine in keeping healthy, mobile and injury free. I have to live with the fact that If I train hard, my muscles will tighten up and cause pain. These tools can fix problems as well as work in a preventative way too. I find working on the muscles when they are elongated and stretched also produced great results, try the Supine cross-leg spinal twist whilst using the Pulse on the Gluteus muscles or sit on the floor with one foot on the other knee and roll the Glutes of the foot up leg on the Vibration Roller. These will now travel with me, especially when skiing and as for during this quarantine period they have been imperative in managing my muscles and being able to push forward with my training. Power Plate just needs to bring out a powerful vibrating lacrosse ball, then my tool box will be complete.
For more information on Power Plate and their products see online.