African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Sprint performance effects after traditional downhill-running and anti-gravity supra-maximal speed interval training in female runners

Maryna L. Baard, Tim Ellerbeck, Mark Kramer, Daniel J.L. Venter


A four-week supra-maximal speed interval intervention using traditional downhill running and partially weighted running on the AlterG® anti-gravity treadmill was undertaken. Performance was determined by 40m standing-start-sprint and 3000m timed-run performance. A pre-post-test design with ranked stratification was used. Based on 3000m timed-run performance at baseline, ranked pairs of female runners were randomly assigned to either an experimental (AlterG® training) or comparison (downhill running) group. The experimental group (n=10) trained on an anti-gravity treadmill at 75% of body weight with1° incline, performed at 125% of average speed. The comparison group (n=7) trained on a 5.8° downhill tarmac at 110% of average speed performed at pre-test. The supra-maximal speed interval intervention was performed twice weekly as part of a 10 000m training programme for moderately trained 30- to 45-year-old female club level runners. Performance gains were similar in both groups. Mean post-intervention difference in 40m sprint performance for the AlterG® and the downhill group were 0.31±0.2s and 0.27±0.3s (U=31.5; p=0.770; Cohen’s d=0.14), respectively. Mean post-intervention difference in 3000m performance for AlterG® was 0.68±0.5s and 0.60±0.3s for the downhill group. None of these differences were significant (p>0.05).

Keywords: AlterG® anti-gravity treadmill running, female (30-45 years) club level runners, supramaximal speed training, traditional downhill-running.

AJOL African Journals Online