Low-Tech Alternative to AlterG on Market

By Michelle Hamilton

Minnesota physical therapist has invented a treadmill device that reduces a runner’s body weight by 20 to 30 pounds, decreasing the impact on the body and enabling faster workouts.

Lightspeed Lift is a low-tech simulation of the AlterG treadmill, used by a wide range of athletes, from Alberto Salazar’s squad  in Oregon to NFL players. The purported benefits of these reduced-body-weight systems include less injury risk (because of a lower amount of repetitive stress), speedier recovery from injury, and faster times. Lightspeed Lift’s price—$1,800 to the AlterG’s minimum of $25,000—should make it available to a wider audience than that of the AlterG.

Unlike the AlterG, which uses a high-tech air pressure-controlled chamber to lift runners, Lightspeed Lift looks like a relic of the 1970s (remember the shaker?). A metal frame fits around a treadmill, and bike shorts are attached by Velcro to bungee cords clipped to the frame. The shorts act like a harness, suspending the runner over the treadmill. Adjusting the frame height lets you control how much weight is eased off your stride.

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Duluth physical therapist develops running aid

By Kevin Pates

The lighter you are the faster you can run. That’s the enticing premise for a piece of equipment developed by Duluth physical therapist Malcolm Macaulay as an aid to treadmill exercise.

The Lightspeed Lift Body Weight Support System lifts approximately 15 percent of a runner’s body weight off the ground, producing a less-impactful and speedier workout.

Nine pieces weighing a total of 75 pounds bolt together and fit around a treadmill. Two 30-inch bungee cords are attached by Velcro to compression shorts and clip to uprights as the suspension system elevates from mid-hip. It went on the market this year and costs $1,800.

Running never felt so easy.

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