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The LEVER Body Weight Support System: Not Just For Injured Athletes

If you’ve been paying attention to our Newsletter and Instagram, then you already know that we recently opened the Precision Recovery Room in the clinic. The room features two sets of Normatec compression boots, Hyperice massage guns, Sidekick tools, various foam rollers, and the LEVER body weight support treadmill system. I am so excited about having this resource available to our patients and community, because I think it can be really impactful in how people in ATL train and recover from training. 

I wanted to highlight the LEVER system, because this is something that is not offered anywhere else and therefore people might not know about it! 

I first connected with the LEVER team last year at the Bolder Boulder 10k. They had a booth out on Pearl Street for the expo, and I was eager to try the system out. This has been on my radar for years, but I’d never gotten to try it for myself. I talked with the guys at the booth (Hi Brian and Sid!), and was immediately impressed by the product, most notably because it was so much more economical than the anti gravity treadmills that dominate this market. 

The guys had me put on a pair of compression shorts, which were similar to long spandex or bike shorts with a pulley system on each side at the mid-thigh level. I stepped on the treadmill and looped a large bungee through one side of the shorts, two pulleys behind me, and then the other side of the shorts. The bungee then went through an apparatus on the front arm of the system, which included a mechanism with which to measure the percentage of body weight removed with each tug of the cord. There was an app connected to it, and it was so easy to adjust and set. 

Running in the system felt really nice - all the movement of running but with less impact. It was somewhat nostalgic, as it reminded me of those bungee trampolines at the fair - of course, on a MUCH smaller scale. I felt like I could maintain my running form and wasn’t very restricted in terms of arm or leg movement. I could tell where my legs were in space as I ran, something I find difficult on similar devices. 

As I ran, I thought, “Why the heck aren’t more people using this!?” It is portable, easy to set up/use, and is a fraction of what it costs to offload bodyweight in other ways. At Precision we are frequently writing return to run programs after injury, and we love to include body weight support as part of that - but so few patients have access. This seemed like a perfect solution and could be feasible for us to both have in the clinic and to recommend. 

In addition to injury recovery and injury management, the LEVER can be used to increase training miles/volume with less impact. Some athletes may complete entire runs or workouts on it, while others use it for some or all of their double runs. Studies have shown that similar VO2 values and HR can be achieved using body weight support, utilizing the variables of speed and incline to achieve the correct intensity.  

Late last year we had one of the founders of LEVER, Brad Miles, on our Podcast, More Than Miles. He told us the story of how he won his target trail race despite sustaining a knee injury 6 weeks prior to race day. He used LEVER runs and workouts to build fitness without irritating his knee, and clearly, he did something right! This was a great way to demonstrate the utility of the system, both in times of health and with injury. 

So, we worked with Brad and his team to get our very own LEVER system, located on a brand new treadmill in the recovery room. You can rent out time on the treadmill, at a very economical $25 per 30 minute session. This gets you access to the LEVER and the other recovery tools, as suits your needs. 

Come recover with us!

Dr. Kacy Seynders, PT, DPT


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