Fast Track Physical Therapy where I’m doing my PT just got a new Alter G anti-gravity treadmill that I’ve gotten to run on as part of my last two sessions. I’ve only put in five to 10 minutes each session at 60 – 75 percent of my body weight, but it’s got me even more excited to get running again after having a little taste.
Anti-gravity running…Tell me more!
I had only recently learned about an anti-gravity treadmill so I was very excited to get to test one out, but for those that aren’t familiar, here’s how it works: You put on some pretty cool (read with sarcasm!) neoprene shorts that allow you to zip into the machine at hip height. Check out the link above for a pic. The machine calibrates to your weight and pressurizes the compartment so you can adjust it to feel like you’re not running on your full body weight.
My boyfriend keeps asking me to try it on the moonwalk setting (about 17 percent of your body weight), but that seems a bit counter productive to trying to get better and run on more weight! You can bring the Alter G down to 20 percent of your body weight. I started out in the 60 percent range and have already bumped it up to running on 75 percent of my weight – completely pain free!
This is such a great tool for injured runners. Yes you can do the elliptical or aqua running, but except for the amount of weight you’re putting on your legs, the Alter G is exactly like running. You can work on your form and get back to running earlier than you would be able to on a regular treadmill or on the road.
You can also use it for recovery runs when you’re looking to give your legs a bit of a break or for adding mileage without all the impact. According to Inside Triathlon, elite athletes will use it to practice at a pace unmanageable at full body weight so their bodies experience neuromuscular firing patterns they couldn’t otherwise. One warning – your legs seriously feel like they weigh 500 pounds as they bring you back to full body weight. I can imagine your first run back on the road after running on this would seem pretty difficult.
If you live in the D.C./NoVa area, Fast Track is having an open house with free trials on December 1 if you want to try it out. You can also rent out 30-60 minute running sessions on it.
With this being the only form of running I can get in right now, I’m looking forward to another go at it in my session tonight, and maybe will work my way up to running on 80 percent of my weight this time. Getting closer to being back on the road!