First, I need to say thank you to my good friend MC for setting me up to try out an Alter G by using her Roanoke connections. Secondly, I need to thank RunAbout Sports and University Physical Therapy (both in Roanoke, right next door to each other) for allowing a free trial use.
I first learned about the Alter G when I got injured and started doing some research. Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles back in 2013 and there’s a TON of information on his injury and his rehab available with a simple Google search. The Alter G was part of his rehab process.
The Alter G is really pretty cool. You basically put on some special shorts and step into a hole at the top of a chamber and zip it up to seal the chamber around you. The chamber pressurizes and “lifts you up” and can reduce your effective body weight to 20%.
I started out by walking with my full weight and then slowly reduced the body weight while increasing the speed. To me, anything less than 40% felt TOO light and I found the sweet spot to be 55% (for now). That’s 5% more than my PTs wanted me to do, but I can trust you all to keep a secret, right?
It REALLY felt like natural running! I think there were endorphins involved. I ran for a mile and then took a little walk break with the body weight back up to normal. My legs felt heavy after having the luxury of a 50% weight loss. There’s a little transition for the walking to feel normal again. After the break, I sped back up and lowered the body weight back down to 55% for another mile. I started to get braver at the end and got up to a pace of about 7:55/mile. It was wonderful, really.
I meant to take video and explain everything as I went and talk about how it felt and whatnot, but I was alone and didn’t really get a chance. I hopped right in and got going.
I did manage to get a picture of me on the Alter G though.
I think that Alter G could be a great tool for runners that are beat up or battling injury. I talked to someone that said he used to use it fairly often and would just knock the body weight down to 95% or so. That was just enough to give his ailing limbs a break (or ensure that they wouldn’t break).
I’m hoping to not need the Alter G for very long at all, but it’s nice to know that such a tool is available. It was a fun and interesting experience.
Anybody else have any Alter G experiences or opinions to share? Feel free to chime in.