The Beginners Guide To Anti-Gravity Treadmills

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

Curious about anti-gravity treadmills?

Then you have come to the right place.

One of the latest, cutting-edge forms of prehab in the fitness market, the antigravity treadmill may help protect your body from injury and save you a lot of money on treatment bills.

Typically used to rehabilitate an injury, anti-gravity treadmills have been gathering lots of steam as they offer various benefits in a variety of ways.

So what’s the technology all about? Keep on reading.

In today’s post, I’ll explain the function of anti-gravity treadmills, what do they have to offer as well as how to make the most out of one.

Sound great?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

What Is it?

Also known as the space treadmill, the antigravity treadmill can allow the user to walk or run at a lower percentage of their body weight, therefore, lowering the pounding impact on the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

The Story Behind The Design – A NASA Invention

Wait, what does NASA have to do with the fitness market.

Not much, really. The space agency cared about the health of its awesome astronauts.

Let me explain.

Anti-gravity treadmills were first designed by NASA scientists to simulate “earth-like” training conditions but in space.

The primary goal of the technology was to increase the astronaut apparent weight, which is key for their muscles and bones mass.

anti gravity treadmills

Image credit – From Master Clinic Physiotherapy

The Exact Process

The technology uses air pressure to decrease your body weight and, in turn, take some of the load off your muscles and joints.

More specifically, the technology employs a variance in air pressure between the user’s upper body—atmospheric pressure—and their lower body—the higher pressure—to unload their weight.

The research has reported it can lower impact by roughly 80 percent. That’s. Quite. A. Lot.

Easy To Use – The Step By Step

To use an anti-gravity treadmill, you’ll have to get a pair of special shorts, which you can wear over your clothing. The garment is made from neoprene and feature either a single zipper or a double zip.

Next, you simply step inside the chamber of the machine, which looks like a large bubble, and you’re zipped into an inflatable chamber. When you do so, your body is compressed in the sealed chamber, with a skirt around your waist.

Next, you can choose your own gravitational resistance levels, changing how intense—or easy—the workout will be,

As this takes place, you might feel like you’re being lifted up thanks to the differential air pressure technique.

Thanks to this technique, you can walk or run at 20 percent or 80 percent of your body weight. This can be attuned in small percentages until you find the sweet spot.

Additional Source – Check this treadmill pace chart

So how does this help the rehabilitation?

Nowadays, the technology is used by medical facilities around the globe,  the military, and professional athletes and sports teams.

The technology works well for a wide range of people—neurologic and orthopedic patients, world-class athletes, and those seeking to improve their fitness without the added impact.

How come?

Simple. By reducing the impact stresses on the body, the patients can perform rehabilitation with less pain.

That’s why the technology is often used with patients seeking to gain strength, mobility, full range of movement, and fitness while also reducing the impact on injury or on the body.

Additional Resource – Your guide to treadmill running form

As a runner, the anti-gravity treadmill may help a lot if you have any of the following injuries:

  • Shin splints
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Runners’ knee
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Patellar tendinopathy

The Application

Here are some useful applications of anti-gravity treadmill for runners:


The technology helps patients recover faster by allowing to walk with a normal gait as soon as possible. It can help prevent the formation of improper movement patterns stemming from pain and injury.


Antigravity treadmills can help injured runners keep on training without making their injury worse. When you train at 20 percent of your body weight, you can keep on training with injuries like shin splints or runner’s knees.

Athletic performance

You can perform intervals, hill reps as well as plyometric exercises, lateral training, and agility drills. Again, with a portion of your body weight.

Balance training

The technology works well for patients with neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, cerebral palsy, incomplete spinal cord injury, etc.

Additional Resource- Your guide to curved treadmills

Low impact

It always comes back to this.  If you have a history of overuse injuries or cannot perform high-impact exercises for some reason, the anti-gravity treadmill gives your chance to train a little bit more without the stress on your muscles and joints.


The technology allows for therapy, re-training, and neuromuscular re-education in a safe setting.

Lose weight

For the extremely obese, excessive weight can put a lot of strain on their muscles and joints, which can make running painful. Again, an anti-gravity treadmill can help an obese person to take up running with little to no risk of problems related to high impact.

The Cost of Anti-Gravity Treadmills

By far, antigravity treadmills are the most expensive treadmills on the market.

The price of an anti-gravity treadmill varies depending on the features of a certain model.

At roughly $35,000 to $70,000, an anti-gravity treadmill isn’t much of a home option. This is one reason these machines are usually hard to find. Even if you find a faculty that has one, there can be a long wait time to get in on one.

Can’t afford to buy one? It’s okay

The “cheapest”  way to get on one is to find a clinic or physiotherapy practice near you that has the machine. Expect to pay around $25 to $30  for a 30-minute session.

Additional resource – Here’s your guide to buying a used treadmill.

Are Anti-Gravity Treadmills For You?

As previously explained, anti-gravity treadmills have a lot to offer. They can be used for elite athletes, military personnel, injured patients, or those recovering from surgery.

Many applications.

Here’s the truth. Even if you don’t fit in any of these categories, you can still benefit from an anti-gravity treadmill.

The machine can help you improve endurance, strength, and mobility without extra stress on your body.

In fact, you might find yourself able to reach your VO2 max and maximum heart rate on an anti-gravity treadmill, according to a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Additional Resource  – When to replace a treadmill belt

Featured image credit – from Toronto Physiotherapy

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