Walking Or Jogging Backwards On A Treadmill (It Works)

Treadmill Running

Jasminko Ibrakovic/Shutterstock.com

By Simon Gould

Walking or jogging backwards or sideways is crucial training for some sports. Tennis, football and soccer all require this skill from their players. They need to practise it on a regular basis and it improves muscle tone and strength in different muscles from normal walking and running. Here we go through backwards running on a treadmill and how it can benefit you.

It works your muscles in a different way

It may look a bit strange if you're doing it in a gym full of members who haven't seen you before. But there is a legitimate reason to try walking or jogging backwards on treadmills. It works your muscles in totally different ways and really enhances your balance an support muscles.

You might need to hold onto the hand rails at first, but try to stop doing that to enable your core and support muscles in your legs to learn how to accommodate this new running action. The new running is good when running on a treadmill all the time because your muscles can get over used from exercising on a treadmill.

Beginning running backwards

Take it very slowly at first. A treadmill has a limited running area for you to land on so you must take care to stay safe. Treadmills can cause injuries very easily and especially when you're not running as you would normally naturally do. It does you good but not when you have to take time off for an injury.

Start by walking at a slow pace when going backwards, use the hand rails at first because they will keep you stable. You'll get a real feeling of the different muscles being used and it will feel strange at first. After you've got used to it let go of the hand rails and keep walking or jogging backwards for a few minutes.

How often to treadmill run backwards

We certainly wouldn't recommend a whole workout of 20 minutes of walking and running backwards, there's no need to do something you wouldn't be doing naturally for any long period of time. But after or before your normal running routine whether it's an interval run or an easy day, a few minutes of running backwards is good to keep those muscles in check.

This is especially good for you if you do certain sports that need you to change direction very quickly on a frequent basis. If you're starting to find it easy and you might, then start to use an incline as you won't be doing it much so making it harder and work those muscles more and you'll feel a benefit.


To a normal runner going backwards is going to seem a bit odd. But it really is a great way to balance those support muscles. And if you only run on a treadmill this is even more important to do. The legs need variety when it comes to working out and this is a perfect way to incorporate that. In certain sports you have to do this naturally and it will feel like that on a treadmill.

If you make running backwards part of your normal routine you will get used to doing it. I do it once a week after my interval runs and you feel better after doing it, my legs were a bit sore at first but not now. I don't play any sports but I don't run outside, I only run on a treadmill so I need some variety in my runs and running backwards does it. Do give it a try.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? See my top 3 recommended treadmills for 2022

Meet The Author

Simon Gould

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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