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Walking Backwards - You've Got To Be Kidding Me!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am 51 yrs. old, in relatively good shape, and for approx. six weeks Nnow have been working out TWICE/DAY (before and after work), almost exclusively on my legs - everything to do with legs - in total 3-4 hours per day. You name it, shins, hams, calves, quads, abductors, heavy weight, lighter w/lots of reps, machines, running, plyometrics, hiking, climbing, stretching - at least some, etc. AND THEN, the other day I see some guy walking backwards on the treadmill - I'm thinking looks interesting and I haven't done that yet. So Sunday, as part of my routine I walk backwards on the treadmill - for only 20 minutes - seemed easy. I get home that day and my calves were in knots - they still are sore!. I kid you not (no pun) even this morning I had a couple of motrin - just to get going. And ironically I've done calf excercises all this time - as always. Yes they have always been "stick-calves" but never slowed me down, and then after walking backwards for 20 measley minutes, calves in knots. Blows my mind, humbles me to no end, and believe me, once they heal a little, I hope tomorrow, that "walking backwards" exercise will be incorporated every day. QUESTION: Could this obvious weakness contribute at all to last years shin bang problems? Too weird for me.
post #2 of 16
since you've found the benefits of walking backwards you might want to check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Underdog-Survi...2565994&sr=1-2

In it the author has a chapter/story about entering the World Backwards Walking Marathon in Italy and going to India to train with a man who at one time held the Guinness Book of World Records for walking backwards. Interesting and entertaining story.
post #3 of 16
Anyone know the name of those specialty 'running' shoes with the absolutely enormous rubber plates in the toe area, bigger than 75mm 3pin boots have?
post #4 of 16
Hhhmmm.... could it be that you had trained your calves the day before and it was simply sore from a previous workout? This is interesting and I might just try this backward threadmill workout tomorrow....

Last Sunday I ran a half marathon and set a personal record. I could have done three minutes better as my quads, VM, and hamstrings were all feeling very good. My heartrate was also fairly low. However, my calves caved in on me in the last two miles and my average mile times deteriorated by a minute and a half. All those long runs, fartleks and tempo runs all summer made a difference but somehow I am wondering why my calves cramped. I ate about five packs of gels during the race and even had a few enduroyte (salt and sodium) pills.

I will try your experiment tomorrow morning out of curiousity and see how it affects my calves. As a backgrounder my legs are pretty strong. I ran marathons, do triathlons and race road bikes all summer. Been doing all these for years.

Updates to follow....
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'll be most curious. I just ran a 1/2 marathon too, calves felt fine to me. Today is now Wednesday, walked backwards on Sunday, still sore, it is the strangest thing that has happened to me in awhile. I can still work the calves using conventional training, but still sore from Sunday's workout.
post #6 of 16

We usually walk with one foot in front of the other!

The human body is such an amazing machine. Whatever we throw at, it is capable of adapting to.

The S.A.I.D. Principle states that your body will go through physiological changes based on the imposed demands of your training stimulus.

The basis for sport specific training is based on the S.A.I.D. Principle. Determine what goals you want to accomplish and then use science to get your most wanted response -- in terms of adaptations.

Even though mtbakersnow is trained and fit, his body is used to doing what he usually does for a workout. Now all the sudden, toss in a monkey-wrench (backwards walk) and his calves are pummelled!

Don't forget that walking backwards will load (or stretch) your calves much more than walking forwards due to the increase in dorsiflexion since you are striking the ground/treadmill with the ball of your foot.

BTW, when your body adapts to the backwards walk, try running backwards!

Ski You Later!
Alex
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
Anyone know the name of those specialty 'running' shoes with the absolutely enormous rubber plates in the toe area, bigger than 75mm 3pin boots have?
IIRC increased dorsiflexion during forwards stride is exactly why these existed; the ones I've seen had rubber plates the size of glass carrying cups on the front of the toe.

No one knows what I'm talking about?
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
Anyone know the name of those specialty 'running' shoes with the absolutely enormous rubber plates in the toe area, bigger than 75mm 3pin boots have?
You mean these?
http://www.hoopskills.com/jumping/strengthshoes.html
Generally thought to increase calf strength for dunking in B ball.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnys Zoo View Post
You mean these?
http://www.hoopskills.com/jumping/strengthshoes.html
Generally thought to increase calf strength for dunking in B ball.
That's them.

Wonder what the fascitis risk is?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
Wonder what the fascitis risk is?
I'd say no more that street shoes, if that. My doctor had me doing achillies stretches for plantar fascitis.
post #11 of 16
Question: Are there any REAL benefits resulting from backward walking?

Other than people staring at you....
post #12 of 16

Any real benefits from backward walking?

Gpaul,

Just a few random thoughts....

Foot contact:

The initial ground contact happens on the ball of your foot, not with the heel as in forward walking. This stimulates the plantar fascia and the calf musculature efficiently....sometimes too much..?

Motor skills:

Changing the plane or direction of movement will always challenge your motor skills and the neural system. I have noticed that f.ex. runners who mostly move in one plane, can greatly benefit from training other planes as well. Movements such as backwards skipping, lateral shuffle or carioca-pattern enriches and nourishes their movement system and the results can be seen as improvements in forward running as well.

Kinestetic awareness:

Proprioception, balance and the ability to sense which position your body is at a given moment are elements that are always connected to unfamiliar movement patterns, such as backards walking. For s skier or a snowboarder who is into jumps and tricks, kinestetic awareness is one of the crucial components.


I guess an important follow up question would be, should I really be doing this as a part of my training regimen? Is it the "missing link" that is going to change your performance and physique?

Probably not so much I would say. If you would like to try, start your workout with 100 yards of backwards walking to wake your nervous system up and then proceed with your regular workout...

Please, Do Not use Treadmill for this, it could be hazardous. Go outside... somewhere where you won't fall off a cliff or backpedal under a truck.

Take care!

Tommi (Snotrainer no.2)
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul View Post
Question: Are there any REAL benefits resulting from backward walking?
"The Physiology of Alpine Skiing" (ASIN: B000MBGIIK) by Karlsson, although dated ('78 and out of print), provides compelling justification.

A welcome addition to any performance skier's library - http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...&condition=all
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclist View Post
I ate about five packs of gels during the race and even had a few enduroyte (salt and sodium) pills.
Five packs of gels? For a 1/2. I am surprised you didn't slip into a diabetic coma somewhere around mile 10. Congrats on your PR though.
post #15 of 16

just walk up a steep hill

it will also stretch your calves and you will be sore. when you do toe raises with weights , do it so that there is a lot of dorsiflexion. what does this have to do with downhill skiing? nothing
post #16 of 16
Thanky!
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