How to Start Walking Backward on a Treadmill?

There are many benefits in walking backward on a treadmill, and if you have the capacity of running backward, it’s all well and good. You will have the opportunity of toning various muscles of your body and boosting balance. Also, your heart rate gets a boost, hence, it is a perfect interval exercise variation.

Researchers have been able to prove that backward running is very helpful in reducing your exposure to injury and boosting your performance. It boosts your lower body’s strength and power making it easier for you to change directions without being exposed to danger.

How You Can Start Walking Backward on a Treadmill

How You Can Start Walking Backward on a Treadmill

As a novice in treadmill backward walking, you should begin with a low speed. With time, you can add to the speed, especially when you start feeling more comfortable. This will prevent injury, and enable you to master the process properly for maximum effectiveness.

The majority of treadmills come with a starting speed that is as low as 0.5 mph. Starting at the lowest speed will make it possible for you to get your walking posture as well as rhythm right. As soon as you can master that pace without much hassle, you should add to the speed by 0.5 mph at regular intervals.

Before increasing the speed to the next level, stay at a minimum of one minute at each speed. This will help with the full adjustment of your body before changing intensity and speed.

When the speed increases, you will discover that your muscles are working at a level that is not noticeable when walking in the forward direction. Also, the muscle on your upper leg’s front (quads), and the one at your lower legs’ back (calves), will get worked up more noticeably.

When walking backwards on treadmill muscles worked, ensure that the backward intervals remain short initially. Also, you should not change time and speed at the same time initially. If you want to increase the intensity, you can walk longer or faster, but changing time and speed at once is not advisable. This will allow you to get used to one changing variable at a time.

Should You Use Handrails When Walking Backward

Should You Use Handrails When Walking Backward

You should use handrails backward walking. Before you can go ahead to hand off the handrails, you must be sure that you have the capacity of maintaining your balance. Backward movement is highly demanding on your postural muscles, which helps in keeping your body upright. You may fall if your postural muscles are not strong enough.

Besides, during backward walking, your hips, legs, and muscles controlling your ankles need to operate properly for the maintenance of a coordinated motion. Hence, if you discover that there is a weakness in any of these organs, you should use the handrails so that you won’t fall.

If you cannot use the treadmill without the handrails when walking forward, you may have issues walking backward without them. Hence, you should perfect forward walking without handrails before trying to walk backward. You can begin the withdrawal process by walking with one hand on the handrail before removing the second one.

Once you no longer depend on your hands for stability during forward walking, you can then start working on the reverse motion. You should begin with the handrails before moving to one hand, and then to no handrail.

Adding Backward Walking Intervals

You don’t need to spend too much time on backward walking to get all its benefits. What you need to do is to add backward intervals to the present program once or twice for the whole workout session. Besides, backward walking should not last for more than two minutes at a time.

If you are not agile enough, you can switch off the treadmill before walking backward, and when you want to start walking forward. When you are repositioning yourself, you should not hesitate to use the handrails so that your balance will not be compromised.

Backward Walking With Inclines

Another angle to walking backward on a treadmill is to change your incline. You should start with the lowest level of incline, just as in the case of speed. Your thighs will be worked up for maximum effectiveness.

When you discover that you are more comfortable with the current incline, you can increase it as well as your speed. You should avoid increasing incline and speed at the same time so that you won’t lose your balance, which is one of the disadvantages of reverse walking.

Besides, you can add inclines to your backward walking interval exercise. You can also alter the position of your body. You can go on a partial squat position to lower your center of gravity. Your back should be in a straight position and forward pitching is not the best. Make sure that you don’t exceed 60 seconds, and if you have problems with your knee, avoid backward walking.

Running Backward on the Treadmill

As soon as you master backward walking on the treadmill, you can upgrade to backward running. As usual, start with a low speed and increase it as you master the process.

If you increase the speed and discover that you have issues staying balanced, you should revert to the previous lower speed. When your body adjusts fully, you can add to the speed so that the intensity will go up. You can then add some inclines when your comfort is not in doubt.

You can include backward jogging or running to your routine on the treadmill. This can only be possible if you have mastered backward walking properly.

Final Word

Walking backward, running backward, or walking sideways on the treadmill has many benefits for your fitness program, just like walking downstairs backward exercise. It helps you to burn calories that threaten your overall well-being. Walking backwards on a treadmill for knee pain or walking backward for hip pain are popular statements on people’s mouths, but this requires proper confirmation with your doctor.


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  • Updated March 16, 2023
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