10 Sep '12

Backwards Treadmill Walking

Ever seen the guy walking backwards on a treadmill and thought he was crazy? Turns out, he may have just known something you didn’t. Walking backwards on a treadmill is an innovative way to exercise that offers several benefits you can’t get from your standard treadmill workout.

Muscle Confusion

As an exercise is repeated your muscles become more and more efficient at completing the motion. This means that fewer calories are burned because less energy is needed to accomplish the task. This phenomenon is responsible for the plateau experienced by many people after they have been working out for an extended period of time. Since walking is a task that is done quite frequently, it’s one our muscles are already well equipped to handle. Walking backwards, however, is unfamiliar to our muscles. It causes them to work harder than normal, and it burns more calories.

Different Muscles Targeted

Walking forward targets the glutes and the hamstrings. Walking backwards, on the other hand, focuses on the quadriceps and calves. This helps you strengthen a new set of muscles that aren’t normally targeted in a cardiovascular workout. Since this also forces the tendons to work in a different way, it can help to prevent injuries associated with overuse.

Improved Balance

This unfamiliar movement forces muscles to adopt new ways to balance. Muscles in the knees and hips that control the ankle have to adjust to a new distribution of body weight. This strengthens these muscles and increases balance in everyday tasks.

Relieves Back Pain

Many cases of back pain can be contributed to tightened hamstrings. This can be cause by many things, including sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day. Walking backwards on your treadmill can help to stretch the hamstring out and relieve some of the pain.

More Exciting

Running on a treadmill can get boring if you don’t change up your workout. Walking backwards provides a new and exciting way to use your treadmill and provides wonderful results.


When first attempting to do this exercise have someone nearby to make sure you’re safe. Start out slowly, around 1 mph, with no incline. Keep your hand on the handrails, but make sure not to bend over. After you get comfortable, you may increase the speed or incline. Remember to take it slow.


Don’t attempt this exercise if you have poor balance, and make sure to use a safety key. Keep your hands on the handrails at all times.

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