Benefits of backward walking and jogging

Walking and running backwards benefits you physically and mentally. Let’s see the reasons why you should integrate this practice into your workouts.

Last update: January 06, 2022

Walk and run backwards, also known as reverse walking, backwards running or reverse running, is an increasingly fashionable training method. It consists of changing the career orientation, this in order to avoid monotony and favor the activation of other muscles. Today we teach you the benefits of walking and backward jogging to encourage you to give it a try.

Contrary to what is believed, this type of practice does not pose a greater danger to the runner. The risk of falls is low, and once you get used to it, you learn what to do if one occurs. If you are looking for a different way to practice running, stay and know the reasons why you should run backwards more often.

Why try reverse gear?

The first reason runners try to reverse is to vary the style of their training. Monotony can make you lose interest in any sport, so it is recommended that you include variations that motivate you to learn new techniques.

But this is not all. As we’ll see later, there are multiple benefits to backward walking and jogging. We have divided them into two: physical and mental. We anticipate you to march backwards gives you better balance, coordination, reduces injuries and activates new muscles in your lower trunk.

You don’t have to take very long drives to reap its benefits. You can even try what’s known as mixed race or mixed running. You can practice it on a running track, on a treadmill, or in open spaces. The possibilities are very varied.

Physical benefits

As would be expected, the level of difficulty of running and walking backwards is greater than walking forwards. Although the gait speed and intensity is lower, the benefits are equal to or even greater than those of conventional gait. Let’s see its main benefits on a physical level.

Improve your strength and power

Aerobic exercise is essential to improve body composition and enjoy better health.

An article published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2020 compared the values ​​of strength, speed and power in athletes who train forwards and backwards. After 8 weeks, the results suggest that the reverse variant is very helpful in improving concentric power and strength.

Increase metabolic cost

This is indicated by a study published in European Journal of Applied Physiology in 2020. The metabolic cost is the amount of energy that the body demands when doing an activity.

The results of the study suggest that running and walking backward require more energy than walking forward. Cost can be up to 35% higher, especially on steeper slopes.

Reduce running injuries

An investigation published in Sports medicine In 2018, it points out that runners who include reversing sessions have a lower risk of injury.

But this is not all, it also indicates that can be used as rehabilitation therapy after sports trauma to the lower trunk. Certainly one of the benefits of backward walking and jogging that athletes should not ignore.

Reduces the impact on the knees

Following the same previous line, it has been shown that the backwards running reduces compression of the patellofemoral joint. This is one of the main catalysts for patellofemoral injury, something common in athletes.

Improve your cardiorespiratory function

At the same time, and although it may not seem like it, the benefits of walking and jogging backwards are also perceived on the cardiorespiratory level. This is indicated by a study published in International Journar of Sports Medicine in 2005. It is also useful to improve body composition.

These are the main physical benefits of running backwards. Of course, you also receive improvements on the muscular plane. For example, if you do it on slopes active gluteal and biceps femoris muscles that do not play a leading role in conventional running.

Mental benefits

Aside from the physical benefits, there are other reasons to include backwards in your workouts as well. Those that you receive on the mental plane are the following:

  • Improve your balance and coordination.
  • Help regulate your sense of space.
  • Prepares you to anticipate the unexpected.
  • It takes you out of your comfort zone.
  • Sharpen all your senses, from touch to hearing.
  • It gives you greater knowledge of your body mass.
  • Improve your overall mood.
  • Help you discover other abilities and skills.

The more you train under this modality, the greater the benefits in this regard. Of course, the first steps are the most difficult, so these will not be as obvious in the first few weeks. To help you master it, here are some tips for beginners.

What to keep in mind to start practicing it?

A little stretching before starting any physical activity is essential to avoid injuries and make training a more serene process.

Although we mentioned at the beginning that the risk of falls is not so great, this is true to the extent that you are alert throughout the training. Also, as long as your training is progressive and you avoid exceeding your walking speed when you still don’t have enough experience. Follow these tips when practicing it:

  • Try it on a treadmill: it’s the best way to start, in part because you don’t hit any roadblocks. Try walking before you run and use the side rails if walking in the opposite direction destabilizes your sense of balance.
  • Do it at low speed: It is the most important trick for beginners to follow. You cannot pretend to march like an athlete who has been doing it for years. You must learn technique, acquire balance and sensory skills before wanting to increase your running speed.
  • Plan short trips: When you start practicing it outdoors, do it under short distances. You can start with 10-20 meters, which you will alternate with a forward march. Choose terrain with the fewest obstacles along the way.
  • Avoid the downs: Downhills are the toughest challenge for a reverse runner, even the pros. The risk of falls is very high, especially if you do not know the technique. Better stay on flat terrain or, better yet, with a certain degree of incline incline.

Keeping your back straight, adjusting the turn of the head to avoid tension in the neck, stretching before and after each workout, paying attention to the movement of your hands and planning how to land in the event of a fall is also part of your preparation.

Landing is not difficult, although it is something you should practice. You can use your hands and glutes to avoid blows to the back and head and, considering that the gait is slow, you should not have major problems. Perfection is in practice, so the more you train the more skilled you will be in this variant of the running.

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