Research Compares Lactate Threshold on Land vs Underwater Treadmill
Recent research from the Utah State University has focused on identifying whether the intensity where lactate threshold occurs is similar in water vs. land treadmill exercise. The study, “Land Versus Water Treadmill Running: Lactate Threshold,” performed by Ron Garner, Dale Wagner, Eadric Bressel, and Dennis G. Dolny, was designed to identify if the lactic acid that builds up in your blood stream (lactate threshold (LT)) occurs at different intensities (energy expenditure and treadmill running speeds) when running on land versus an aquatic treadmill. Fifteen males and females free of injury and active runners participated in this study. Each participant was tested for VO2 max, treadmill speed and blood lactate concentration on both the land treadmill and underwater treadmill.
It was found that the lactate threshold occurred at similar perceived effort, and running speed on the underwater as the land treadmill. Additionally, participants experienced the lactate threshold at a lower HR and VO2 response in water. Results concluded that aquatic therapy is beneficial to achieve threshold-intensity training while lowering the stress on the joints that is caused by land running.
This proves valuable for those looking to achieve high intensity training or exercise but without the impact on joints. Aging adults, injured athletes, individuals with arthritis, those that are overweight or healthy athletes can reap the benefits of high intensity training without the impact on their joints. Using an underwater treadmill allows those with injuries or chronic pain to move more freely. For healthy athletes that have an intense training schedule, overuse injuries can be avoided using an underwater treadmill to maintain intensity, without the pounding of land training.
Download our Research Studies Book for a comprehensive overview of studies that have been done on underwater treadmills.