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Backwards Running Fact or Fiction

Posted on January 18th, 2012 by Andries


During locomotion the most involved joint of the lower body is the patello-femoral joint. Forming part of this joint is the patella, which is a sesamoid bone that reduces patello-femoral stresses, as well as increases the lever arm of the quadriceps muscles. The quadriceps muscle is the dynamic stabilizer of the patello-femoral joint. This joint is also the most common site for anterior knee pain, contributed by weakness of the quadriceps muscle (medicolegal.com).

Backwards running has numerous benefits which include burning one third more calories than forward running, it also develops better balance and stamina, it works the quadriceps muscles more than forward running, improves flexibility, and reduces risk of injuries to the patello-femoral joint (http://www.runtheplanet.com/resources/historical/backwards.asp). It was also stated by Wright and Weyand (2001) that the volume of muscle active per unit of force applied to the ground was 10% greater when running backward than forward.

Considering the benefits and the biomechanics behind the patello-femoral joint backwards running would reduce the occurrence of patello-femoral joint pain due to the strengthening of the quadriceps and the increased flexibility, which corresponds to the rehabilitation for treatment of anterior knee pain including hamstring stretching and VMO (vastus medialis oblique) strengthening.

Reference List
  1. Dixon, D. (2006). “The patello-femoral joint and impairment assessment.” Medico Legal. 26 July 2006. [Hyperlink http://www.medicolegal.com/newsletter]. 2 October 2007.
  1. Run the Planet (2000). “History of Backward Running.” Run the Planet. June 2000. [Hyperlink http://www.runtheplanet.com/resources/historical/backwards.asp]. 2 October 2007.
  1. Wright, S. & Weyand, P. G. (2001). The application of ground force explains the energetic cost of running backward and forward. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 204, 1805-1815.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 8:16 pm and is filed under In Session. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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