Injury-prone or just plain bored? A new means of keeping fit is here

Many runners are injury-prone and need an alternative training ethos to attempt to compete at the level they desire. Others may need an impetus which relieves the monotony of mile upon mile over the same laborious routes. Some turn to cross-training in their local gyms from time to time and, although this fitness medium does help, it isn’t specific enough in terms of running benefits.

Enter the “Bionic Runner” which has been developed over a four-year period and rigorously tested. It has also been independently peer-reviewed in the Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, which described it as being more effective and a closer sensation to running than an Elliptigo. Available at a retail price of £790, this puts it on the pricing level of an entry-level road bike, but with the custom-engineered benefits specifically for runners.

What is it?

The Bionic Runner is the world’s only high-intensity, running-specific trainer. It enables the athlete to do the tough training sessions needed while protecting the body from the two main causes of injury – impact fatigue and over-extension.

Runners who are susceptible to injury, this may offer the opportunity to mix normal training with some or alternate days on the Bionic Runner. The benefit is that you can still train hard outdoors in an enjoyable environment and away from the mundaneness of a gym and exercise the muscles that you use in normal running.

Specific machine

Elliptical machines are based on a symmetrical motion path (the ellipse) where the swing-stance phase timing – the amount of time your foot is in the air as opposed to on the ground – is 50:50. This is neither walking (40:60) nor running (60:40).

The Bionic Runner is the only running fitness trainer to utilise a 60:40 swing-stance phase timing, which not only feels like running but engages the same muscles as you would out on the road without the impact. Also, unlike elliptical machines, it has a high kick-up at the back with your foot landing under your hips. It also engages a 2.5 gravitational force at toe-off, which helps build running strength and speed.

Key benefits

Unlike running, there is no impact and the fixed footpath prevents your lower limbs from over-extension. This eliminates the most common causes of running injuries, which are impact loading of joints, muscle strains and ligament tears.

The compact midfoot stride of the footpath will also help to retrain your running gait to be more energy-efficient, which, along with the gears, allows you to safely add strength and resistance training into your schedule. This combination means that you can train harder and more effectively than before and, importantly, with a lower risk of injury.

The Bionic Runner offers the same intensity as running, unlike cycling or cross-training. You can use it as you would a normal training session to perform fartlek, intervals, tempo, resistance and high-intensity sessions.

The testers and reviewers claim it will be a worthwhile purchase and it may be just the thing needed to keep you going when injured or suffering from sore limbs while at the same time enhancing fitness.