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Rodger Kram
RE: Is Running On An Anti-Gravity Treadmill Running?
It is not an advertisement. It is an abstract from a presentation at the American Society of Biomechanics conference in 2007.

Our question was: can a runner attain the same metabolic rate, i.e. VO2 by running faster but at less weight and thus less biomechanical load. Some combinations did achieve that, but it depends on which biomechanical load variable is most important.

Regarding relevance to a runner trying to recover from an injury or prevent one:
An injured runner wants to maintain their aerobic fitness but minimize impacts. Our study showed that can be achieved by running faster but at a lower simulated weight. It could also be achieved with a stationary bicycle, but one might ask if a bicycle would maintain neuromuscular factors (hard to quantify).
The speeds studied were slow for an elite runner but we plan to extend the study to faster speeds but at more typical levels of simulated gravity. For example, the Gouchers run at something like 80-90% of normal weight but at a normal training pace.

What is new? Well, it is the first published study of the Alter-G device which measured VO2. It is the first study to look at both VO2 and biomechanics over such a range of speeds and gravities using any reduced gravity device.

Comparison to water running: we didn't directly make such a comparison, but the running motions are much more similar with Alter-G. With water running there are almost no forces that simulate ground forces. With water running there are unnatural viscous forces that resist leg swing. The ability to run fast in Alter-G may maintain neuromuscular patterns (no data on that yet).

Was our study independent? Well, Alter-G loaned us the device and donated funds that paid my grad student (Alena Grabowski) a stipend for a semester plus a summer. Hence, we disclosed in the abstract that the study was "supported by Alter-G", (no pun intended). We designed the experiment independently, Alter-G didn't see or ask to see the article before it was accepted for publication. I was not paid for my time or the use of our lab equipment. Alter-G did take me out for dinner once. That is about as independent as you'd likely see for an applied research study. We couldn't afford to just buy an Alter-G to do the study, one would never get a government grant to buy one.

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