The advantages of the odd running backwards method
Running backwards is absolutely nothing new, its benefits are backed by research, and there’s even a world championship in the running backwards, but recently it is making a serious comeback, probably due to the interest generated by the Tiktok videos. According to a recent study by PureGym, a chain of health clubs in the UK based on Google searches for new trends and fads in the fitness industry, it was found that running backwards is gaining huge popularity with a 50% increase and more than 100,000 views on TikTok that involve it. Here are six inherent benefits to running backwards, which may convince you to adopt this strange technique and incorporate it into your training routine
- Running backwards relieves the load on the knees
The less the load on the knee joints, the lower the risk of getting injured or suffering from knee pain. In a study published in the Journal of Biomechanics in 2012, researchers from Cardiff University's Center for Biomechanics and Bioengineering collected data from 20 exercisers who ran in both directions - forwards and backwards. They found that in 85% of the participants, forces exerted on the back of the kneecap were greater during traditional forward running compared to backward running, regardless of running speed.
- Contributes to improving posture
Running backwards forces you to run in a position where the torso is straight and the torso is held, thereby contributing to improving posture. In normal running the tendency is to lean forward and bend slightly, but in running backwards you have no choice but to keep your back straight.
- Helps in rehabilitation from injuries and reduces pain in ankles and knees
By running backwards, you put pressure on other areas of the feet, ankles and knees, allowing areas that have been working hard during traditional running to take time out to rest and recover.
- Contributes to the balance of the work on the leg muscles
Running backwards makes you use the hamstrings more and involves the quadriceps less, so if you also include running backwards in your training, you gain work on additional muscles. What's more, for long-distance runners, the ratio between the strength in the quadricep muscle and the hamstring muscle is very important, and running backwards helps to improve it. Also, more muscles and tendons are involved in training, which results in improved strength and function.
- Increases energy expenditure
A study published in 2005 to the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that female students who incorporated running backwards three times a week into their physical activity routine for six weeks were able to lose 2.4% of body fat and gain a 19.7% decrease in total skin folds, compared to the control group of female students who performed training Running in the traditional technique. According to the researchers, the findings indicate that walking or jogging backwards improves cardiorespiratory fitness and causes significant changes in body composition in young women.
- Adds interest and breaks the monotony
To generate interest and enjoyment from physical activity, it is important to surprise, diversify and introduce interest from time to time. Running backwards is another way that provides interest and variety and thus allows you to both exercise and enjoy it. Also, since with this technique you cannot see what is happening behind you, you are forced to involve other senses to navigate, which may also contribute indirectly to improving the sense of hearing and peripheral vision.
Giving up your shoes when running backwards may provide you with more stability and improve your balance, but it is important to do this on a soft surface such as sea sand or grass and make sure beforehand that there are no glass, nails or other debris on them that could lead to injuries.
Take reverses: how to run backwards without getting hurt.
The running back trend is not without its challenges. The main challenge is not being able to see what's going on behind your back. You may fall or bump into objects, and if you tend to tilt your head and body backwards while running to make sure there is no obstacle in the way, you are also putting your neck and spine at risk of injury. To enjoy the benefits of running backwards and reduce the risk of injuries, it is advisable to integrate it into traditional running and not make it an alternative. So how do you do it right?
For the purpose of training, choose a straight and flat surface without hidden dents and pits, preferably not in a place crowded with runners.
Start with small, slow steps with only the front of the foot in contact with the ground.
In the first stage, combined with the traditional running training several short sections (2-4) of running backwards, with the duration of each section not exceeding 30 seconds. Later, after you acquire the skill, you can extend the duration of each segment and increase the pace of the steps.
( Before performing this activity, check with Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) if this activity fits for you ).