Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Last week I had the chance to try out the ALTER G....anti gravity treadmill and since I was still sore and recovering from Kansas with sore lead legs and blisters; I jumped at my invitation to come check it out.

I treat many injured runners and triathletes as a physical therapist, as well as coach many athletes to get faster I couldn't wait to see what this was all about and the potential it has for keeping athletes in action...but had to experience it myself first hand.

Lucky for those of us in the far western suburbs this is right in our back yard. Apparently there are only 2 others in all of Chicagoland, both being downtown in the city. I learned that NASA developed this treadmill technology and it has been tested by Nike headquarters.

To begin you have to pull on some tight spandex -like biking shorts that "zip " you into the liner on the treadmill. These fancy shorts alone felt good on sore quads. Tight and supportive. Once zipped in, the treadmill calibrates your weight then you are ready to roll. I started out running at 50% of my body weight at a good clip much faster than any warm up pace I would normally hold especially with post race legs. The first thing I noticed is how quick my cadence was ...without even having to focus on it. This is because with less "ground time" your stride rate increases. After warming up at bit, I decided to take it down to 25% of my body weight and increase the speed some more. As I did this my turnover increased, my legs were firing quickly, and I felt like I was running with very close to normal run form...just at a very fast cadence. I felt like I was getting a good workout, and was sweating, but my heart rate stayed as if I was working in zone 2, and my breathing was normal as if I was out for an easy jog. I was able to hold a conversation running at 5:15 pace LOL!

As a physical therapist treating injured runners this is a fabulous way to keep an athlete training and running through and injury. Imagine finding out you have a stress fx 6 weeks out from an Ironman you paid nearly 500$ for 1 yr prior and couldn't run. Now there at least are some options other than pool running which....lets face it is boring and really doesn't feel like running at all. From stress fractures, other overuse injuries such as ITB syndrome or plantar fascities athletes could keep running.....while addressing the the source of injury of course via rehab. And it is an absolute must that any athlete suffering from and injury would have to have physician clearance in order use use the G-trainer.

As a coach, and athlete myself, there is great potential even for the uninjured. This forces you to run with a quick cadence and turnover. It also forces a good foot strike and placement. So for an athlete needing better efficiency and run form this is a fabulous training tool. Alter G also trains the neuromuscular system to fire quickly. Have you ever had that feeling on the track or a hard run where your fitness and engine felt great like you could run faster but your legs were wobbly, and uncoordinated ...like they just couldn't make you go any faster. That is the connection between your brain and muscles being murky; or not understanding how to really get it going. Running on the Alt-G allows those connections between the brain and muscles to happen and your running muscles can fire quickly. Even from a volume standpoint, someone who really wanted to ramp up some run volume without risking injury from pounding out too many miles on the road could do so by incorporating some mileage on the G-Trainer.

Thanks to Physical Therapy Advantage for inviting me to experience the alter G! For more information go to www.ptadvantagepc.com

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