Work got you climbing the walls? For full body exercise, vertical treadmills (also called wall treadmills) are the latest technological craze to put a tread belt to use for purposes other than horizontal walking. But there’s more to a TreadWall than just a cool workout for fit climbers.
Wall or vertical treadmills can be used by people new to exercise as well. It’s a total workout that hits every area of the body — legs, trunk, core, arms, shoulders and back. You stay in one place, at a safe distance about a foot or two off the floor, while the revolving belt moves from top to bottom as you pull yourself up just like a rock climber.
The concept behind the vertical wall treadmill is very simple. You move from one toehold to the next on the wall using your hands and feet. It has an auto stop feature so you don’t have to worry about crashing into the floor as the weight of your body pulls the wall down.
The same drills can be made more difficult as these vertical treadmills allow the user to change the angle of the climb, including a challenging inversion climb to simulate a rocky overhang. Or, beginners can choose to tilt the wall forward to make it less vertical and easier to learn to climb.
This TreadWall has many other benefits since you don’t need a 20-foot vertical rock wall and safety harness, and the machine is completely human-powered; no motor needed here, just muscle.
Then there’s an elite kind of wall treadmill called a Zero Gravity Locomotion Simulator. If it sounds like something you’d find at NASA and not at your local health club — you got that right! Astronauts aren’t just rocket scientists and geeky brainiacs, they are also superb athletes.
They must stay in shape to endure living in a weightless environment, and one of their training devices is a simulator that looks like a wall treadmill, but they use safety harnesses for this device.
To use this unusual machine the astronaut is suspended horizontally by cables, then runs up the “wall” which is moving on upper and lower rollers similar to the design of vertical treadmills. Since they are supported by a soft trapeze cable, they feel weightless and must work harder to coordinate and balance their body, plus push the treadmill down the wall with their feet.
Muscles experience atrophy during long bouts of weightlessness in space flight, and the Zero Gravity Locomotion Simulator was designed to condition off-earth travelers to work at the orbiting space station as well as living at the planned lunar station by the year 2020.