Retro Running – The Fine Art of Putting One Foot Behind the Other

Whether you’re looking for a fun way to get BACK into sport, spice up your boring training or struggling to escape constant injuries, there’s no better way to do it than retro running.

Running backwards may look like a weird, unnatural way to move, but it’s apparently very beneficial for the human body. In fact, the Chinese have been practicing walking and running backwards for thousands of years as a way of staying in shape and reducing the risk of injuries. It wasn’t until the 20th century that retro running developed in the United States, but today it’s recognized as a very efficient workout by many fitness gurus and athletics experts, and competitions are regularly organized all around the world.

Photo: Men Media

If it weren’t for people being to embarrassed to give backwards running a try in public, they’d be able to enjoy a much more efficient and healthier training than regular jogging. Garret Doherty, a retro running champion, explains that the sport burns three times more calories than forward running because it uses more muscles. Also, instead of landing heel to toe, which is known to affect joints in the long run, in retro running you land on the correct part of your feet, which helps ligaments and ankle bones. In forward running, it’s the muscles in your lower back that get all the workout, while in backwards running it’s the muscles in the lower abdomen that do all the work. Very few people know that retro running can actually prevent a lot of injuries and is also used for athletes recovering from injuries, because it balances out the strain caused by forward running.


Because walking or running backwards doesn’t really come naturally to humans, you’re likely to find it a little cumbersome at first, but you’ll get used it quite quickly with a bit of practice. Just start by walking backwards and gradually speed up. Obviously, not seeing where you’re going can be a problem, especially if you’re not familiar with the terrain, so it’s recommended you have a forward-running friend with you, to act as your eyes, while you concentrate on your workout. Tripping in backwards running can be dangerous, so it’s best to learn how to drop in a backward roll, in order to avoid any serious injuries.