The Alter-G Treadmill is a cutting edge treadmill which makes walking and running with minimal impact possible. Originally designed for Astronauts returning from Space, the treadmill utilizes differential atmospheric pressure to lower the percent of body weight, allowing walking/running from anywhere between 20% to 100% body weight. This can be utilized for athletes rehabilitating from an injury, overweight individuals who are trying to improve fitness or elite endurance athletes who want to improve cardiovascular fitness while reducing stressful loading on the soft tissues and joints. The Alter-G can additionally be made use of to enhance efficiency with high-intensity training that would otherwise be impossible for someone on a normal treadmill because of pain or injury. We’ve put together a list of some of the potential uses and benefits of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill for you below, with all the references and citations that come along with it.
Recover After Surgery Faster
Because some injuries require medical treatment, injured athletes usually endure a long, sluggish recuperation as well as time with weight-bearing limitations. For individuals wanting to optimise recovery after an operation, early mobilisation and safe loading are essential. From athletes who have had to have their ACL repaired to those with broken bones, early loading and mobilisation can ensure that muscle fibres heal and orient themselves properly (and therefore reducing scar tissue) and just as importantly, decrease muscle atrophy, where your muscle wastes away from disuse (1,2,3,4). The Alter-G has been regularly utilised to assist athletes and general population with early mobilisation after surgery, where loading can be carefully managed without the danger of re-injury or damage to the surgical repair. As your rehabilitation progresses, so can the amount of weight bearing you endure through the Alter-G; allowing you to safely return to normal activity. For example, while some athletes have to wait months after an ACL surgery to return to light jogging, this can be accelerated anywhere between 4-8 weeks earlier with use of the AlterG (5). Here is a list of some common surgeries that can utilise the AlterG for accelerated rehabilitation.
- Knee Arthroscopies
- Knee Replacements
- ACL & Medial Meniscus ruptures
- High-Ankle Sprain (Syndesmosis)
- Ankle Replacements
- Lateral Ankle Sprain & Repair
- Hip FAI Arthroscopy
- Hip Labral Tears & Repairs
- Hip Replacements
- Lower-Limb Fractures
- Lumbar Disc surgery
Faster Return To Running
The AlterG anti-gravity treadmill is best known for rehabilitating lower-limb injuries, including overuse injuries of the spine. It can play a pivotal role in athletic rehabilitation by reducing lower limb forces that would naturally occur during running, allowing athletes that would normally be in pain, to run pain-free. There is strong evidence that it can reduce vertical ground reaction forces (GRF) while maintaining horizontal GRF (3), which suggests normal gait and running mechanics can be maintained even at lower percentages of bodyweight. Because of this insight, reducing loads of the lower-limbs doesn’t negatively affect running mechanics, making it a vital part of a recovery for an athlete interested in performance and accelerated rehabilitation. Below is a list of suitable injuries that the AlterG can offset:
- Stress fractures of the foot
- Patella-Femoral pain
- Stress fractures of the shin
- Shin splints
- Disc herniations
- Quad, Hamstring & Calf strains
- Plantar Fasciitis & Plantar Fascia Tears
Improved Running Speed
No athlete ever said no to more speed. By reducing body weight by 10-15%, the Alter-G helps athletes reach max speed and, achieve maximal cardio-respiratory demands that might not be possible at full bodyweight on land (6). For elite athletes who want to extract just a little bit more out of their training that would otherwise not be possible, the Alter-G facilitates those elite improvements to running performance and top speed.
Improve Fitness & Performance
Even if you’re uninjured, the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill can improve cardiorespiratory fitness and running performance. For athletes looking to increase training loads leading up to an event, but don’t want to risk getting injured with the extra load, the Alter-G provides the perfect training compromise. The same can be said for athletes in a building or accumulating training block — An Alter-G treadmill helps add km’s to the legs without extra fatigue that might hamper recovery or repeat effort training days. There has been a lot of research exploring these domains, with several studies indicating that high-intensity training on the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill can improve VO2max, field performance, all while reducing impact forces on the lower limb that might send athletes over the edge (7, 8, 9, 10).
Whether you want to recover from surgery faster, improve your running speed, or increase training loads, fitness, or performance, the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill is a valuable weapon in your training arsenal. To book in a session and try the experience for Free (for first-time users), click through here and make a booking at a time that suits you. Happy running.
- Patil S, Steklov N, Bugbee WD, Goldberg T, Colwell CW Jr, D’Lima DD. Anti-gravity treadmills are effective in reducing knee forces. J Orthop Res. 2013 May; 31(5):672-9
- Raffalt PC, Hovgaard-Hansen L, Jensen BR Running on a lower-body positive pressure treadmill: VO2max, respiratory response, and vertical ground reaction force. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2013 Jun; 84(2):213-22
- Jensen, B.R., Hovgaard-Hansen, L., Cappelen, K.L.: Effects of Lower Body Positive Pressure on Muscle Activity and Joint Loads. (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) Presented at The International Society of Biomechanics meeting, South Africa, July 2009
- Quillen WS, Magee DJ, Zachazewski JE: The Process of Athletic Injury and Rehabilitation. In Zachazewski, JE, Magee DJ, Quillen WS (eds): Athletic Injuries and Rehabilitation. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1996, pp 4-8.
- Saxena, A., Granot, A.: Use of an Anti-Gravity Treadmill in the Rehabilitation of the Operated Achilles Tendon: A Pilot Study Presented at American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2010
- Gojanovic, B., Cutti, P., Shultz, R., & Matheson, G. O. (2012). Maximal physiological parameters during partial body-weight support treadmill testing.Med Sci Sports Exerc, 44(10), 1935-1941.
- Gojanovic B, Shultz R, Feihl F, Matheson G. Overspeed HIIT in lower body positive pressure treadmill improves running performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Dec;47(12):2571-8.
- Grabowski A. Metabolic and biomechanical effects of velocity and weight support using a lower body positive pressure device during walking. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jun;91(6):951-7.
- Raffalt P, Hovgaard-Hansen L, Jensen B. Running on a lower-body positive pressure treadmill: VO2max, respiratory response, and vertical ground reaction force. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2013 Jun;84(2):213-22.
- Figueroa M, Manning J, Escamilla P. Physiological responses to the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill [PDF]. Int J Appl Sci Technol. 2011 Nov;1(6):92-97.) making it a viable addition to an athlete’s training regime.