Thursday, November 6, 2014

Running on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

Tuesday night, I got to run on a 60,000 dollar treadmill. No big deal. I had heard about the The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill before and was excited to try it out!
In September, I was contacted by Jess from OutsidePR to see if I would like to test the AlterG out. The machine is used by athletes and people with mobility issues all over North America and beyond; but, it's not just for injured athletes. It's also used during training by lots of athletes (including my personal favourite, Kara Goucher!)
Jess set me up with Bruce Stewart the owner of Fit Physiotherapy in Lethbridge and I met him after work Tuesday. I've actually been treated at Fit Physio before and have nothing but awesome things to say about the staff there!
The first thing Bruce did was give me a quick run down of the machine and how it works. He is an avid runner and read about this machine a few years ago and knew he had to have one. He's really passionate about all it has to offer. He's had a lot of athletes, injured and not, use it but also people with multiple sclerosis. He has lots of success stories to share!
The next step was to put on some really tight/compression shorts that had a flap on the top with a zipper. It almost looked like a tutu. They were surprisingly comfortable!
After I stepped on the treadmill, Bruce zipped my shorts to the chamber. Then, the treadmill weighed me so it could correctly adjust to what percent of body weight I set it to. The dashboard on the treadmill has the normal settings for incline and speed but also had a weight control setting. Basically, you can underweight 100-20% of your body weight in 1% increments.
In the picture below the treadmill was set 80 percent of my body weight (so we had under-weighted 20 percent of my weight) and the speed was set at 2.2 (a slow walk.)
Bruce had me start off with a slow walk, steadily increase to speed walking (or mall walking as he called it) and then run at my normal, comfortable, treadmill speed (for me around 6.6.) As I was running, he was constantly adjusting the amount of body weight I was running with. Unweighting is achieved in the AlterG by using air in a pressure-controlled chamber to gently life the user. At one point, he had me running with only 20 percent of my bodyweight and I felt like I was flying! Running felt effortless, and super easy, and I felt like I could go on forever! 

My only suggestion for people trying the Alter G is to wear tight-fitting shirts. I wore something loose, and comfortable, and the air from the chamber kept blowing it up. I was constantly trying to pull my shirt down, while running, which is never fun. You'll see what I mean in the photos below...

The only thing that felt a little weird, while running, was my arm swing. I didn't want to bump anything so I didn't feel like I was running as naturally as I normally do. It would just take some getting used to. 

I think this machine is awesome for all runners and those with mobility issues. I've dealt with injuries in the past and would loved to have known about the AlterG then. It's also something I plan on using while training for my 1st marathon, next year. As Bruce explainedm it can take some of the stress of your body while still helping you get the mileage in. 

The machine is available to use by any Fit Physiotherapy clients. All you have to do is making an appointment to get assessed and then, if you get the all clear, you can book the machine out and pay by the minute. You can then claim it through your insurance benefits. There are clinics, across North America, that offer the machine to their clients too!
Thank you Bruce and Jess for the awesome opportunity to try the AlterG! I LOVE IT!!! Both Bruce, and Jess, are the best people to ask if you have any more questions and I have their information if you need it :)
I'll be back to run on the moon soon :)
Have you ever tried an anti-gravity treadmill?
Do you normally take time off if you're injured or keep running and hope it goes away? (I've been there!)


  1. this thing looks pretty cool! I've never even heard of one before! :)

  2. This looks SO cool! I would love to find one and try it out :)

  3. This is so cool! Lets go halves on one! We can share custody. Yes?

  4. I've run on the Alter G when I had a calf injury and it was awesome! Wish I could afford to run on it more often!

  5. Cool! I had never heard of anything like this until I read Hungry Running Girl's blog about it and now yours. Glad you had a great experience.