Great Bones Gym | Strength, Balance and Bone Density

I entered the Great Bones gym, sat down to wait for my session, and observed an older gentleman who reminded me greatly of my father, working with the trainer on a large vibrating machine. A few minutes later, after he finished his session, he sat down next to me to change his shoes. We began chatting and he shared how much he loves the workouts on these machines and how they made him feel so good afterwards — like he has done something with his body for the day, but doesn’t feel worn out or in pain. He also noted how much better he has been feeling and how much progress he’s made after just a dozen or so sessions.

The gym has just two pieces equipment. The PowerPlate™ machine and the bioDensity™ machines. Both of which have different, but complimentary functions. These machines are not like the typical machines you see any gym; the technology they boast is especially intriguing.


Based on an idea first developed by the Russian space program, the PowerPlate platform “uses a consistent, safe and controlled level of vibration that moves in three directions (up and down, front and back, and side to side).” (1)  This “Acceleration Training” creates force by accelerating your body, so instead of adding weights, your body is moved to create forces up to an equivalent of six G’s. The workouts can be very short because whole body vibration triggers more muscle fibers to engage during every exercises. At 30 Hz and 30 seconds, the muscles of the body are contracting and relaxing approximately 900 times. The PowerPlate™ machine also helps you lose weight and gain flexibility and balance.

I stepped on the PowerPlate machine and my first task was to learn how to keep it from shaking my face off. The trick is to put your weight forward and raise your heels off the platform so your body absorbs the vibrations, rather than sending them straight through your bones. Then he had me perform a few exercises, just to get a feel for the types of things one could do on the machine. I could feel that it added a certain level of intensity, and I could feel my muscles getting fatigued a little bit faster than normal, but not in a bad overused way — just in an increasingly stimulated way.


“The bioDensity system safely aids in increasing bone density by stimulating the body’s natural bone generation process. Based on existing science of bone compression, bioDensity applies optimal bio-mechanics for the self-compression of bone, stimulating adaptations of density in bone, tendons, and ligaments.”(2)  To begin, the user is placed in a position to produce optimal power output. Then they are asked to perform a push or pull with as much force as they can (without hurting themselves). A screen displays the force produced during the exercise as an average and a maximum.

I, apparently, can nearly push a small baby elephant at the maximal point of my leg press. Now, not to say I could actually move a baby elephant, but at the most advantageous point in my leg press I exerted 657 lbs of force. Co-Owner and trainer at Great Bones, Martin Rasmussen, also anecdotaly claims that using this machine just a few times can help push through lifting plateaus. I’m eager to come back and try.

His clients and workouts range from older men and women looking to improve general strength and bone density, to a 14 year old girl looking to improve her sports performance, and younger men looking for a differentiating but sweaty workout.

While one workout isn’t enough to notice any appreciable difference, it was intriguing and something that I would be interested in trying for a few months and/or adding to my workout routine. There is a lot I didn’t say in the post about bone density and the deeper technology behind these machines. I encourage you to check out the Great Bones, BioDensity, and PowerPlate websites for more information.

Great Bones offers two free sessions to everyone. I also encourage you to go and try it out for yourself, whether you’re looking to help build or maintain bone mass, or looking to for an edge in your current workout routine — the Great Bones gym is beneficial to everyone.

So basically:
Space-age technologies allow for fast and efficient workouts targeted at building bone and muscle mass and increasing flexibility and balance in ways that traditional exercises cannot.

Work it:
These two machines will work all your major muscle groups, as well as any exercise that can be completed on the PowerPlate machine.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls…
The equipment at Great Bones is appropriate for everyone, with the guidance of the personal trainers.

Standard “check with your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough for exercise” disclaimer.

Gear up:
Wear your typical workout clothes — though exercises on the BioDensity machine are so short and sweet you can wear your street or work clothes.

Get into it:
Great Bones Gym

(503) 575-9261

485 NW Saltzman Road
Portland, Oregon 97229

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