What disability types can benefit from using the Spartan?
At its core, the Spartan is a means of facilitating and controlling an individual’s gait kinematics in their lower extremities. So, it can really benefit anyone whose ability to walk normally has been impaired. However, its design was inspired and informed by the neurological rehab space. The characteristics of Spartan gait training – intensity, task specificity, repetition, patterned movements – really work wonders for neuromuscular re-education. Taking well-formed steps over and over again is a powerful form of therapy for individuals with (but not limited to): spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, transverse myelitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and motor neuron disease.
What support system is best for me so that I use the Spartan safely and without the risk of falling?
  • Ask yourself: While I am in the middle of gait training with the Spartan, what would happen if the device vanished into midair? If the answer is “I would fall” or “I would get hurt,” then you need to bolster your support system.
  • The support system used with the Spartan serves two purposes: (1) it stabilizes your trunk and hips, and (2) it is your safety net, and should prevent you from falling during gait training. You should see the support system as your upper-body control platform. The Spartan and a skilled trainer will take care of your legs, and you along with the support system need to take care of your hips and trunk (unless you lack sufficient arm function, in which case a bodyweight harness or third person may be needed to help). Make sure your support system is sturdy, so you can push and pull as much as needed to shift your weight around and keep your shoulders, hips, and legs all aligned.
  • For some people, a cane or two will suffice. These will be the high-functioning individuals who need minimal assistance for trunk and hip control.
  • One step up we have standard walkers. Use one of these if you are able to push the walker forward on your own between steps, and have sufficient arm strength to keep doing this for multiple steps.
  • For most Spartan users, the best support system will be a platform walker on wheels. These walkers provide a sturdy base, wide opening for the Spartan, and have wheels to make advancing the walker easy. But what about safety? Go back to the first bullet-point, and imagine the Spartan vanishing while you’re in a platform walker. If you are able to “hang” in the walker for a few seconds with your arms, supporting your entire bodyweight while your trainer moves to support you, then a platform walker may just be your whole support system. If you cannot do that, you will need a mechanism to support your weight for added protection. Many platform walkers have the ad-on option of a pelvic harness that can do this. If you don’t have a harness or other bodyweight support mechanism, you may require a second trainer to provide contact-guard support alongside you during training.
How does the operator calibrate the Spartan to the user’s height?
Perhaps the simplest way is to refer to the height chart in your User Manual, and set the Slide-Hinge to the appropriate marking. If you notice the trainee is taking stiff-legged steps, or that their swing-through is happening too soon in the gait cycle, the Slide-Hinge needs to be moved closer toward the Thigh Cuff. If you notice you are having to rotate the Spartan handle upward really high before the trainee begins swing-through, move the Slide-Hinge toward the handle.
Alternatively, there is a little trick you can do to get the Slide-Hinge position just right before even standing up.
1. Have the trainee seated in their chair or on a mat, with the Spartan fully attached. Straighten one of their legs, and then bolster their knee so that it has a slight bend (think ‘mid-swing’).
2. Now, start rotating the Spartan handle ‘upward’ like you would during training to initiate swing-through. When you feel resistance, and the trainee’s foot gets a tug, take note of the Spartan’s position. Is it pointed straight up toward the ceiling? That is where you want it. That means that during stepping, when you rotate up on the handle for swing-through, the trainee’s foot will begin to swing right when the Spartan is roughly parallel with the floor. If the Spartan position is not straight up, adjust the Slide-Hinge until it is.
How tight should the straps be?
The thigh straps need to be tighter than the ankle straps, because the thigh straps have the potential to slip down over the knee. Make the straps quite snug. You don’t want to pinch skin or cause discoloration, but if the straps are loose the device will not function as expected and the cuffs may shift around and irritate the skin.
What is the right way to use the elastic bands and shoe sleeve?
[Under Construction]
Something broke, how can I get it fixed?
If your device is still covered by the warranty, send it in and we will repair or replace it. Otherwise, parts and peripherals may be purchased.
Am I doing it right? Gait training seems like a complicated activity and I am not sure if what I am doing is correct.
It can be difficult to gait train with good form, and to tell whether you are making progress. Spartan gait training can be a very smooth activity. You should strive to take steps at a ‘normal’ pace, with good form, and without taxing your arms or upper body too much. If you feel like you need a hand with achieving that, we are here to help.
A good starting point for troubleshooting is our video library. Go over the fundamentals of Spartan use, and see if we have addressed your issue already.
You are also welcome to call or email our support team at any time, and let us know what you are struggling with. If you can send us a video clip of you training with the Spartan, that will be the best way to find solutions. We will respond with an analysis of your technique, and any tips or advice which may help. (Note: if the video file is large, it may be a good idea to upload it to YouTube and send us a link. Links to videos on Dropbox, Vimeo, Google Drive, etc. are all acceptable.)
If I have been neurologically disabled for a long time, and don’t anticipate recovering any time soon, is it still beneficial to use the Spartan?
Absolutely. As long as it is safe for you to gait train with the Spartan, it is massively beneficial for many reasons. Gait training with the Spartan is an excellent way to reduce the physiological and psychological risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Countless studies suggest that even moderate amounts of exercise can vastly decrease one’s chances of a myriad of metabolic and cardiac disease states. But using the Spartan offers more than just an elevated heart rate. It is more than exercise. It is weight bearing and cyclical movement in someone who doesn’t normally get it. Regular gait training has been proven to benefit:

  • Bone-mineral density
  • Systemic circulation
  • Digestive health
  • Skin integrity
  • Range of motion and strength
  • Trunk stability and strength
  • Spasticity management
  • Bowel and bladder regularity
  • Subjective feeling of wellbeing

Never under-estimate the power of a little whole-body exercise. You will feel the effects right away.
I have a degenerative disease (MS, ALS, CP, Parkinson’s). Is gait training still useful?
Yes. As long as it is safe for you to gait train with the Spartan, it can be very beneficial. Among these neurological conditions research shows that physical therapy, specifically gait training in many such studies, may slow down the progression of one’s loss of ability. It will help you stay healthy and moving for longer.
It will also help you for the same reasons it is useful to anyone with a sedentary lifestyle (see the FAQ “If I have been neurologically disabled for a long time and don’t anticipate recovering any time soon, is it still beneficial to use the Spartan?”).
The straps irritate my skin. How can I fix this?
Use gel or fabric pads between your skin and the straps. Loosen them a bit, and stop if the thigh cuff begins slipping down over your knee or if the cuffs begin moving and rotating too much during use.
The thigh cuff keeps slipping down over my knee. How can I stop this from happening?
Be sure to keep the thigh straps very tight. If it is still an issue, you may place gel pads underneath the thigh cuff to offer a more pliable material for the straps to “squeeze.” Also consider placing a high-friction rubbery material underneath the cuff to prevent slip. Dycem non-slip self-adhesive material (50-1530B) works very well for this.
Will my shoes fit into the “universal” shoe sleeve?
Almost definitely. Check out the sizing chart [get link] for the shoe sleeve to be sure.
My foot drags on the floor during the swing-through phase. How can I prevent this?
First, try and determine if the foot drag is due to your ankle and foot – are your toes being pulled up during swing through to clear the ground? If not, look into using the ankle cables more effectively; See the FAQ “What is the right way to use the elastic bands and shoe sleeve (collectively the foot and ankle components)?”
If you are dorsiflexing properly and still experiencing foot-drag during swing phase, it is likely due to improper body mechanics and/or weight shifting. When the dragging foot is about to swing through, take stock of your upper body and overall form:
Your hips should be extended forward, over the stance leg. If you have a bend at the waist, your hips slumped back, this may be causing the foot to drag.
You should have your weight shifted laterally over the stance leg. If your weight is centered, or leaning over the swing leg, this may cause foot drag.
My foot swings through at the same time my knee is pulled forward. I step with nearly straight legs. What am I doing wrong?
First, try and determine if the foot drag is due to your ankle and foot – are your toes being pulled up during swing through to clear the ground? If not, look into using the ankle cables more effectively; See the FAQ “What is the right way to use the elastic bands and shoe sleeve (collectively the foot and ankle components)?”

If you are dorsiflexing properly and still experiencing foot-drag during swing phase, it is likely due to improper body mechanics and/or weight shifting. When the dragging foot is about to swing through, take stock of your upper body and overall form:

  • Your hips should be extended forward, over the stance leg. If you have a bend at the waist, your hips slumped back, this may be causing the foot to drag.
  • You should have your weight shifted laterally over the stance leg. If your weight is centered, or leaning over the swing leg, this may cause foot drag.
Where can I get a platform walker on wheels?
Rifton and Wenzelite both make excellent platform walkers. Look for one with wheels and any necessary accessories (forearm straps, pelvic support pad, etc.). You may need to search for “gait trainers,” “safety rollers,” or “posture walkers” to find what you’re looking for. Feel free to contact our support team for additional guidance.