Objective: To determine if water treadmill running with (WTR-S) or without water shoes (WTR-NS) could produce similar cardiorespiratory responses as land treadmill running (LTR). Design and Setting: A repeated measures design was used to assess the differences between LTR and WTR-S and WTR-NS. All testing was done in either a research laboratory or an athletic training hydro-therapy room. Subjects: Eighteen trained runners (9 men and 9 women) volunteered for this study. All 18 subjects participated in three running conditions. Measurements: Treadmill speed, HR, and SF were assessed at four exercise intensities representing 50%, 60%, 70%, and 80% of land VO2max for all three running conditions. Results: WTR with and without water shoes produces similar cardiorespiratory responses to LTR. The VO2/HR relationship showed that at a HR of 150 bpm, VO2 was significantly less (p < 0.0001) when running on a land treadmill (34.66 ml/kg/min) compared to a water treadmill with shoes (37.51 ml/kg/min) and without shoes (37.21 ml/kg/min) were nearly identical. At a HR 150 of bpm, the VO2 in males (40.52 ml/kg/min) was 8.12 ml/kg/min higher than that of their female (32.40 ml/kg/min) counterparts. At a treadmill speed of 6 mph, stride frequency during LTR was 23.6 steps/min greater (p < 0.0001) than WTR-S and 21.8 strides/min greater than WTR-NS. VO2 was on the average 4.12 ml/kg/min higher (p < 0.0001) during WTR-S compared to WTR-NS running condition at the same treadmill speed. Conclusion: Statistical analysis indicated that 50%, 60%, 70%, and 80% of land VO2max was achieved in the water. Therefore, WTR can be used during rehabilitation of athletes unable to fully weight bear to prevent deconditioning. Wearing the AQinc water running shoe increases the metabolic demand by 4.12 ml/kg/min at any given water treadmill speed. Gender differences existed in the absolute HR/VO2 relationship but not in the relative HR/VO2 relationship among the three running conditions.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





water shoe, VO2, water running, heart rate, water treadmill