Utah State Study Indicates Running on HydroWorx Aquatic Treadmill with Resistance Jets Produces Land Treadmill Incline Intensities

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A new Utah State University research study focused on land versus HydroWorx aquatic treadmill metabolic outcomes in an athletic population indicates that runners can exceed incline rates and decrease their chances of overuse injuries and joint pounding, by using the high-powered underwater resistance jets to simulate inclined land treadmill intensities.

Underwater Treadmill
This added resistance would meet the training requirements of virtually all athletes seeking optimal training conditions, such as high intensity coupled with reduced joint stress.

One of the most common concerns among athletes of all levels when considering supplementing their workouts by running underwater is that they will not be able to achieve sufficient metabolic results. On land-based treadmills, athletes can continuously increase the incline of the treadmill to increase heart rate, perceived effort and oxygen consumption. Underwater treadmills embedded in the floor of a specialized pool, by comparison, have no similar incline option. However, a new study from Utah State University, “Metabolic Cost Comparison of Running on an Aquatic Treadmill with Water Jets and Land Treadmill with Incline,” has shown that when athletes run on a HydroWorx underwater treadmill with high-powered resistance jets, the jets can be used to simulate and actually out-perform land treadmill incline physical responses.

The recently released findings of the Utah State University research indicate that athletes who wish to gain the benefits of cross-training by running underwater, such as lowered incidence of overtraining injuries and improved lean muscle mass, can expect a greater return on metabolic rates than they would gain on a land-based treadmill when they continuously increase resistance jet levels. The study evaluated the responses of 18 participants as they underwent trials on both land-based and HydroWorx aquatic treadmills. As the speed and incline increased on the land treadmill, so did their metabolic cost (VO2 max) and heart rate in a predictable, linear fashion. When the same methods were applied to the aquatic treadmill by increasing the power of the resistance jets, participants’ metabolic cost and heart rate jumped by unexpected, cubic amounts. By the time the resistance jets were performing at 100 percent capacity, participants were exhibiting physical effects that exceeded those that they exhibited when running on a land treadmill at a 10 percent incline.

Utah State University’s Dr. Dennis G. Dolny, PhD and Department Head of HPER, one of the study’s authors, has spent many years evaluating the responses of individuals on land-based versus aquatic treadmills. As he notes, this new research will open the door to persuade and encourage individuals who may have avoided underwater treadmill workouts, assuming they would be unable to provide enough intensity and return:

“A common concern practitioners may express regarding water versus land treadmills is that there isn’t an incline to simulate running uphill. With the resistance provided by the HydroWorx water jets, at any given speed, one can simulate the metabolic requirement of running up a one percent incline to in excess of a 10 percent incline. This added resistance would meet the training requirements of virtually all athletes seeking optimal training conditions, such as high intensity coupled with reduced joint stress.”

The study in which Dr. Dolny participated has echoed the subjective experiences as reported by such top coaches and athletes as Alberto Salazar and Galen Rupp. Indeed, HydroWorx underwater treadmills are utilized for cross-training, as well as therapeutic, purposes by dozens of national and collegiate sports teams throughout the world.

Anson Flake, CEO and Co-Founder of HydroWorx, has long believed in the power that underwater treadmills have to provide options for athletes at all levels; consequently, he is not shocked, but is buoyed, by the results of the latest Utah State findings. “We know from what our customers have told us for more than a decade that the resistance jets are the key to simulating running uphill and elicit extreme physical responses while running underwater. However, Dr. Dolny’s team has been able to scientifically prove what we’ve been hearing since we brought the first HydroWorx unit to the market in the late 1990s. It’s wonderful to be able to put numbers behind the years and years of stories we’ve collected from athletes who have used the HydroWorx to get faster and stronger without risking injury while training or rehabbing from an injury."

The Utah State University research team is continuing to evaluate the relationship between physical responses on land-based and aquatic treadmills by engaging in more experimentation with both elite and average athletes. To learn more about the study discussed in this article, please click here.

About HydroWorx
HydroWorx, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania, offers a wide range of underwater treadmill therapy pools, and peripheral products and services. Every day, more than 23,000 athletes and patients use HydroWorx technology to recover from injuries and health conditions.

More information about research done in HydroWorx pools can be found by visiting http://www.hydroworx.com/research%2Deducation/research%2Dstudies/

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Nicole Biesecker
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