Under the microscope: Power Plate yoga (from £20 per session)
In theory: The Power Plate (a machine that vibrates at high speed while the user stands on top to exercise, forcing muscles to contract and relax at a much higher rate) has become known as the "microwave" of fitness, with fast, dramatic results. Now yoga instructors are introducing Power Plate classes that maximise the physical benefits of yoga while creating a more relaxing, holistic work-out for Plate users.
In practice: For those unused to working out on a Power Plate, the vibrations initially feel pretty odd and standing too straight can give your teeth a worrying rattle (the trick is to keep knees bent). As for the yoga, if you thought balancing on one leg was difficult, welcome to a new world of wobbling. Once Dr F found her Power Plate legs, however, things improved – the vibrations provided an immediate challenge and focus that she lacks in normal yoga classes, but the class retained the same relaxing atmosphere, with a meditative wind-down at the end.
Observations: The day after her first "Yoga Vibes" session (www.fitnessfor everybody.co.uk), Dr F's muscles – particularly the backs of her legs – ached far more than after a good hour at the gym, which, from a no-pain no-gain perspective, would seem to be a good sign. And for someone who usually goes to the gym in the evening, which can leave one too wired to sleep for hours afterwards, it was good to find a work-out that left her feeling tired but calm.
Analysis: As an old cynic who always thought yoga was not proper exercise, Dr F was impressed by the obvious physical impact of this regime. And while standard Power Plate sessions alone will help you tone up, adding yoga to the mix will also help with flexibility and posture. And if the holistic aspect of yoga appeals to you too, so much the better.
Prescription: Paying for regular sessions doesn't come cheap, but if you are cash-rich, time-poor and want a toned, yoga body by the quickest means possible, this is the way to do it.
Further experiments For all Power Plate facilities in your area, check out www.powerplate.com