60% of runners get injured every year

(if you are always injury free then pass on by)

I fully endorse barefoot and reverse running.  Barefoot running has removed all my chronic niggles - ITBS, PTS and shin splints.  Reverse running has given me extra speed in my legs.  Don't take my word for it - try it.  The best barefoot running guide is by a guy called Ken bob.  Read it!  As for reverse running....here's a few benefits i got from an article in Running and Fitness.

Running backwards gives you a fabulous cardiovascular workout.  The exercise brings into play more muscle groups, especially the quadriceps and because the feet hit the ground more quickly than in forward running more energy is expended to propel the body.  Research by the University of Oregon showed that you have to maintain only 80 percent of your forward-running speed for the same amount of effort.  Whilst other studies have shown that VO2 (oxygen consumption) and heart rate significantly increase during backward running.  It is therefore unsurprising when people claim that running backwards for just one lap could be equivalent to up to six laps of forward running.  Think of the time you could save!  There is more good news for runners struggling to lose weight – backward running apparently burns a third more calories.

Backward running restores a balance to the lower leg muscles.  Performing the same action repeatedly i.e. running forwards, without some effort to oppose it, means we are stressing the same area of the body and building up a dangerous imbalance, until it inevitably breaks down.  Bear in mind that many runners with chronic knee problems demonstrate over tight hamstrings and weak quadriceps.  Therefore, by reversing the action and running backward we are in effect performing a much needed counteraction.  In other words, “Running backwards works the calves, shins and muscles of the front thigh (quadriceps) harder than running forwards, which places more emphasis on the back of the thigh (hamstrings).  When used in combination with forward running this helps to balance the muscular strength of the legs.”  Heidi Mills, BSc (Hons) GSR (www.sportsinjuryclinic.net)

Restoring a balance partly explains why running backwards could reduce the risk of injury.  Further reasons are a change in the lower extremity kinetics and the introduction of a toe to heel foot strike.  For the majority of forward runners, the heel hits the ground first and the knees act as the reluctant shock absorbers.  However, going backwards the force related trauma is minimised.  Sort out the imbalance and integrate into our running a more favourable running style and we could be on our way to a less injury prone life. 

Backwards running is the perfect knee rehabilitative exercise because it can maintain an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness levels whilst minimising the impact at the knee joint (see above).  Furthermore, backward running develops muscles along the sides of the knee and this actually strengthens the knees over time.  Other conditions that could respond well to backward running include shin splints and muscle sprains to the lower back, groin and hamstrings

You run with a more erect posture, your shoulders will draw back and your back will be straight.  Compare this to the slightly slumped posture and protruding abdomen often observed in runners.  Studies have also shown that over time backward running can lead to realigned vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves.




  • Forgot to say - choose somewhere safe to try reverse running and do it with others.  Grass field or beach perfect. 

    AND why not head to the UK Backward Run and walk in Manchester to get a taster.

  • Personally, I think someone needs to set up some kind of face-off between you and Ricky Bennison. 

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Keep hydrated at all times. That will avoid more injuries than you can imagine.

  • 59% of running injuries are caused by running backwards into obstacles (University of Commonsense study 2013) 

  • did anyone else read that guys name as Ken Knobimage

  • 10 yrs ago you were recommending orthotics......now its backwards running.........whats your next thing

  • Monkey Glands ? 

  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)

    59% of running injuries are caused by running backwards into obstacles (University of Commonsense study 2013) 


  • Ron Mountain wrote (see)


    Oh, he's a legend round these here parts...

  • "60% of runners get injured every year

    Solution - add some barefoot running and reverse running into your training"


    is this an attempt to increase that figure?

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    i will meet you half way and run sideways on.

  • I don't think anyone would argue that cross training is a Good Thing™ for injury prevention, is there any evidence that backwards running is better than cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, etc, etc?

  • Backwards downhill  skiing ? Now I might pay to watch that 

  • It works 60% of the time, all the time.


    Surely I'm not the only one who thought of Anchorman?

  • Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)

    Backwards downhill  skiing ? Now I might pay to watch that 

    I've done that!  image

    Not on purpose, though image

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    I see the snake oil merchants are in again

    so - 60% of runners get injured every year.  guess what - 100% of dead people no longer breath.

    there are degrees of injury but I am damn sure that of the 60% many have injuries which quickly recover without the need for extreme action.



  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    It also doesn't specify if the injury was caused by running.

    I've been injured this year but that was playing rugby. Does that count?
  • That's what i like to see - a good rounded debate. anyway for those willing to at least learn something here's some bedtime reading....


    next week the merits of nude running. 

  • I much prefer Readers Wives for bedtime reading thanks 

  • shame because page 45 talks about enhancing quality of your life

  • Have you seen this months centrefold ? 

  • No - is it a picture of a reverse runner?   

    "Backwards running, by vastly improving your physical condition, allows
    you to better achieve your full athletic potential. It also provides you with
    more energy and pep, which boosts your morale as well as freeing up more
    time for enjoyable living. On top of all this, backwards running restores
    balance to your body. Athletes who only rely on forwards running to get in
    condition invariably pay the price; they overdevelop certain sets of muscles,
    especially the hamstring (the muscle located on the backside of the leg
    between the knee and hip). An overdeveloped hamstring throws the body
    out of balance, and often leads to serious knee injuries, muscle pulls,
    swayback condition, persistent lower back pain and stiffness, and other
    physical problems. Backwards running, though, exercises complementary
    muscles to the hamstring; this promotes stronger muscle connections,
    increased stamina, quickness, improved posture — in short, all facets of your
    physical condition achieve greater perfection and a more harmonious state
    of balance.''

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Of the 60% of injured runners how many of the injuries are actually caused by running?
  • Yes but what does all this backwards running do to the neck muscles Ron?

    You can't run backwards very far without needing to see where you are going. Having to screw your neck round to do that is completely unnatural and seems like an invitation to injury - unless you have eyes in the back of your head. Do you?

  • I injured myself running some while ago, and was basically off it for months. Then I started running barefoot - literally barefoot - and can now quite easily run off road for a good six or seven miles. Sometimes I take my flip flops if I know I'll be hitting a stony bit.

    Admittedly I don't enter fell races now, but then I was never really competitive anyway. I enjoy my running more now than I did before, and it's really quite a liberating feeling.

    It maybe not for everyone, but shouldn't neccesarily be mocked just because you don't do it.


    I don't mock people for spending a fortune on shoes, as I jog along in my 'Fresh Airs'!!!

  • I think it's the backwards bit people have a problem with Mick, not the barefoot bit.

  • Well, try it, see if it works for you - it might! I can see the theory behind it, a physio told me to try it once. You need a long, straight spot though, and like you said you have to keep turning round now and again.

    Even so, might be worth a go. How much backward running do you need to do? Just a fraction of a run now and again? I was thinking maybe a couple of minutes at a time, maybe three or four times at the end of a run so I can work out where to end it, on a nice straight flat bit (in short supply up on the moors!)

  • but as scream says......the damage to your neck muscles is not going to be worth it.....

    I also don't go with this theory of making it balance out.......we were designed to go forward as do just about every animal.........

    its hard work making a horse go backwards......because the muscles are not designed for it...

    I have no problem with barefoot running..especially the way you do true barefoot......I think its funny that those who want to go back to nature then pay out £100 for a mangufcatured pair of shoes .bit like the emporers new clothes

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