Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Research Sponsor

Laura Richardson

First Reader

Judith Juvancic-Heltzel

Second Reader

Rachele Kappler


Underwater treadmill running can be used as a means of reducing musculoskeletal loading while maintaining a training intensity equal to that of land running. A variety of cardiovascular benefits are seen in water running, such as greater increases in stroke volume and cardiac output than on land. Additionally, increased drag while water running can significantly improve force production. PURPOSE: To investigate if differences exist between underwater treadmill and land treadmill running on leg strength and cardiovascular endurance through a case study of two 22 year old sedentary males. METHODS: An 8-week aerobic training program was designed incorporating water and land running. Participant A was assigned to a water-based program, and Participant B was assigned to a land-based program. Weeks 1 and 8 consisted of pre- and post-testing of body fat percentage, low body flexibility, maximum, thigh and calf circumference, wellness rating, and left leg force output. Weeks 2-7 consisted of aerobic training. Participant A completed 6 weeks of a water-based program, with two days per week on the underwater treadmill. Participant B completed 6 weeks of a land-based program, with two days per week on the land treadmill. RESULTS: Improvements were seen in left leg force output, estimated maximum, percent body fat, thigh and calf circumference, and wellness rating in both individuals. CONCLUSION: A water-based exercise program can be safely recommended to an individual beginning an exercise prescription which will elicit similar or greater physiological benefits to that of a land-based exercise program. This case study was a good pilot study, as physiological changes were seen in both participants; therefore, more research should be completed with a larger sample size and a longer duration in order to achieve more substantial statistical analysis.