What is an Anti-Gravity Treadmill?

Natalie Cecconi
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How Does It Work?

So how do anti-gravity treadmills work? It is based on the same principle as the an earthbound treadmill part: A track with wheels or some other means of moving the belt. The difference is in the friction.

The belt itself is made up of a special surface that is akin to a low profile carpet. This is a softer material than the plastic, rubber, or other surfaces typical of treadmills. It is not as slippery as plastic, but the dampening effect is similar.

The user steps on the tread belt and it moves due to their weight. It is accelerated by the constant friction of the contact between the belt and the wheel system. The belt creates drag and friction and slows down as it is moving.

These gravitationally-activated anti-gravity treadmills work the opposite way. They are often used as medical rehabilitation tools. On the earthbound version, walking is the ultimate goal. The tension on the belt simulates the effort required to get somewhere via walking. Anyone who goes up an escalator or drives a car has experienced the drag of an inclined surface. This is the basis for an anti-gravity treadmill.

The inertia of the person moving up the incline makes the belt move forward, without the need for friction or the input of force. After you step onto the belt, you don’t need to exert any effort to keep moving.

Running on an Anti-Gravity Treadmill

These are treadmills for your walking, running or jogging workout. Thanks to gravity, the treadmill belt moves in a downwards direction, which is considered against the natural direction. This is how your body is held in place while exercising. Thanks to the weightless effect, your body feels as if it’s going along for a light jog on the Earth's surface.

What Are Some Benefits?

Anti-gravity treadmills have been around for years, but they haven’t been widely adopted as a mainstream fitness tool. However, this might be changing because of the increasing interest in the benefits of these treadmill-like machines.

Anti-gravity treadmills are designed to minimize the pressure athletes exert on their joints. Weight bearing joints like the knees can experience a lot of wear and tear during endurance training because of the compression that the body puts on this area. Anti-gravity treadmills relieve most of this compression.

The pressure placed on the knees while running is reduced by 30% when compared to standard treadmills. Anti-gravity treadmills compensate for this difference in pressure by adjusting the area of the body that is pressed against the treadmill. This allows athletes to run just as hard and fast while reducing the amount of stress that is placed on their knees.

Is It For Me?

Anti-gravity treadmills are basically treadmills that are essentially just like standard running treadmills except that they don’t operate on the same system as normal treadmills. They operate completely differently and offer an additional benefit that is amazingly isolating. Running on an anti-gravity treadmill feels like walking or running in water. No impact pressure on your joints is the primary benefit but also the reason that they are used for rehab and as part of exercise programs like Insanity or at the same time as toning and fitness programs like Zap.

The feel of them is that they are almost like running on air. This isn’t only the way they feel but also the way they work. An anti-gravity treadmill is almost like running on air because there is no impact on your joints from running. The lack of impact means that there is no way for damage to occur to your legs, ankles, knees, hips or any other joints in your body. This is great for athletics because it means that you can comfortably use an anti-gravity treadmill to continue training your body above a certain age or to help repair damage that has already occurred.