Dumb fitness equipment: The anti gravity running machine

This machine was developed in the 90's and it is touted as something that the astronauts would use in space in order to stay in shape. I have no idea if that is true or not and I know very little - ok, nothing - about exercise in space. I DO know that this is a completely absurd piece of fitness equipment here on Earth. I suppose it would have some sort of physical therapy application, but outside of that, this was - and still is a very gimmicky piece of very expensive fitness equipment.


Advertising for this machine was and is sparse, but these days it is known as the AlterG and of course they always feature the wrong people in the advertisements because someone as fit as the woman pictured above definitely does not need this machine. Someone with severe leg injuries or spinal problems might find some use for this machine but the rest of us, the promises that the manufacturer makes are just crazy.

The way it works is to social distance the bottom part of your body from the top part, and this bubble somehow manages to suspend half of your body weight and makes running easier. I think we all know that people that weigh less are going to be able to run faster, so it should come as no surprise that the few people who use this machine state that they "never knew they could run that fast!" Well of course you never knew that you could do that and you still can't once you get off this extremely expensive and mostly useless piece of equipment.

If you are reasonably fit, your muscles build in accordance with your overall body weight so that you are actually capable of moving your big butt around. There is a friend of mine that we call "Big John" and the name is no ironic. Big John is absolutely massive. He is 6 foot 8 and weighs more than 350 lbs. He is not in good shape but one day for a laugh we brought John to the gym to see how much weight he could do on a leg press. He easily did ALL OF THE WEIGHT that the machine could offer. This is because every single time that Big John stands up or takes a step, he is lifting 60% more weight than the rest of us. Of course his legs are stronger.


Like I said, there is some therapeutic application for this, and even Gordon Ramsay, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury while playing soccer, could actually benefit from using this machine for recovery while the rest of us would probably just stay off our feet until our injury was healed.

The way it works is that you get strapped in, and adjust the amount of air inside the area below you in order to levitate you so that less of your own body weight is actually making contact with the treadmill below. This is all fine and dandy if you are injured and can afford physio, but the idea that this machine was marketed to people for home use is completely crazy. For one thing, the machine costs a whopping $40,000 and the claims that it can make you faster is totally bogus.

I don't know anyone wealthy enough to drop that sort of cash on their own version of this and even if I did I would presume that my rich friend was suffering from an injury of the head if I saw this in their house.

This machine will NOT make you faster any more than swimming downstream in a river will make you a faster swimmer. Sure you will be moving faster at that particular point in time but the increased ease of the exercise is probably having the opposite affect that the machine promised. It is not making you faster, it is faking that you are smaller than you are.

This machine is basically running without running and if that is what you are looking for just turn on your Strava, set it to run, and then ride around in a city bus. Your numbers will be amazing! A friend of mine got a GPS signal on a flight once and his per km times were incredible!

Dumb fitness equipment like this preys on the people who want to be fit without putting in the work necessary to actually be fit. Thankfully for the public, the Alter-G is so expensive that I don't think many people ever have been or ever will be duped into using this thing.

Comments 2

That's hilarious. A $30k running machine that lets you cheat on the running part. If a friend of mine owned one of these I would definitely laugh at them.... well, provided they weren't handicapped or something.

06.05.2021 06:56

I can see the therapeutic purpose of this machine but the fact that it is marketed to the general public at all with claims of increasing your per km / mile speed is just insane. I would like to think that someone that has 30k to shell out on something like this would have the good sense to know better, but there are a lot of gullible people out there.

08.05.2021 03:59