Skip to main content

A New Direction to Athletic Performance: Understanding the Acute and Longitudinal Responses to Backward Running


Backward running (BR) is a form of locomotion that occurs in short bursts during many overground field and court sports. It has also traditionally been used in clinical settings as a method to rehabilitate lower body injuries. Comparisons between BR and forward running (FR) have led to the discovery that both may be generated by the same neural circuitry. Comparisons of the acute responses to FR reveal that BR is characterised by a smaller ratio of braking to propulsive forces, increased step frequency, decreased step length, increased muscle activity and reliance on isometric and concentric muscle actions. These biomechanical differences have been critical in informing recent scientific explorations which have discovered that BR can be used as a method for reducing injury and improving a variety of physical attributes deemed advantageous to sports performance. This includes improved lower body strength and power, decreased injury prevalence and improvements in change of direction performance following BR training. The current findings from research help improve our understanding of BR biomechanics and provide evidence which supports BR as a useful method to improve athlete performance. However, further acute and longitudinal research is needed to better understand the utility of BR in athletic performance programs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. 1.

    Cappellini G, Ivanenko YP, Poppele RE, Lacquaniti F. Motor patterns in human walking and running. J Neurophysiol. 2006;95:3426–37.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Reilly T, Williams AM, Nevill A, Franks A. A multidisciplinary approach to talent identification in soccer. J Sports Sci. 2000;18:695–702.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Gabbet T. Influence of physiological characteristics on selection in a semiprofessional first grade rugby league team: a case study. J Sports Sci. 2002;20(5):399–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Sierer PS, Battaglini B, Mihalik JP, Shields EW, Tomasini JT. The National Football League Combine: performance differences between drafted and nondrafted players entering the 2004 and 2005 drafts. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(1):6–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Bezodis NE, Trewartha G, Salo AI. Understanding the effect of touchdown distance and ankle joint kinematics on sprint acceleration performance through computer simulation. Sports Biomech. 2015;14(2):232–45.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Anderson T. Biomechanics and running economy. Sports Med. 1996;22(2):76–89.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Williams KR. Biomechanical factors contributing to marathon race success. Sports Med. 2007;37(4–5):420–3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Stöggl T, Wunsch T. Biomechanics of Marathon Running. In: Zinner C, Sperlich B, editors. Marathon running: physiology, psychology, nutrition and training aspects. Switzerland: Springer; 2016. p. 13–45.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kawamori N, Nosaka K, Newton RU. Relationships between ground reaction impulse and sprint acceleration performance in team sport atheltes. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(3):568–73.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Mero A, Komi PV, Gregor RJ. Biomechanics of sprint running: a review. Sports Med. 1992;13(6):376–92.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Petrakos G, Morin JB, Egan B. Resisted sled sprint training to improve sprint performance: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2016;46(3):381–400.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Denadai BS, de Aguiar RA, de Lima LC, Greco CC, Caputo F. Explosive training and heavy weight training are effective for improving running economy in endurance athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2017;47(3):545–55.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Rumpf MC, Lockie RG, Cronin JB, Jalilvand F. The effect of different sprint training methods on sprint performance over various distances: a brief review. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(6):1767–87.

  14. 14.

    Støren O, Helgerud J, Støa EM, Hoff J. Maximal strength training improves running economy in distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(6):1087–92.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Coh M, Peharec S, Bačić P, Mackala K. Biomechanical differences in the sprint start between faster and slower high-level sprinters. J Hum Kinet. 2017;56:29–38.

  16. 16.

    Hoogkamer W, Kram R, Arellano CJ. How biomechanical improvements in running economy could break the 2-hour marathon barrier. Sports Med. 2017;47(9):1739–50.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Folland JP, Allen SJ, Black MI, Handsaker JC, Forrester SE. Running technique is an important component of running economy and performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017;49(7):1412–23.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Debaere S, Jonkers L, Delecluse C. The contribution of step characteristics to sprint running performance in high-level male and female athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(1):116–24.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Rumpf MC, Cronin JB, Pinder SD, Oliver J, Hughes M. Effect of different training methods on running sprint times in male youth. Ped Exerc Sci. 2012;24:170–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    McMillan K, Helgerud J, Macdonald R, Hoff J. Physiological adaptations to soccer specific endurance training in professional youth soccer players. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39(5):273–7.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Cronin J, Hansen K, Kawamori N, McNair P. Effects of weighted vests and sled towing on sprint kinematics. Sports Biomech. 2008;7(2):160–72.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Mohr M, Krustrup P, Bangsbo J. Match performance of high-standard soccer players with special reference to development of fatigue. J Sports Sci. 2003;21:519–28.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Hoogkamer W, Meyns P, Duysens J. Steps forward in understanding backward gait: from basic circuits to rehabilitation. Exerc Sports Sci Rev. 2014;42(1):23–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Mehdizadeh S, Arshi AR, Davids K. Quantifying coordination and coordination variability in backward versus forward running: Implications for control of motion. Gait Posture. 2015;42(2):172–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Jeffreys I. Motor learning—applications for agility, part 1. Strength Cond J. 2006;28(5):72–6.

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Arata A. Kinematic and kinetic evaluations of high speed backward running [Dissertation]: University of Oregon; 1999.

  27. 27.

    Sussman DH, Alrowayeh H, Walker ML. Patellofemoral joint compressive forces during backward and foward running at the same speed. J Musculoskelet Res. 2000;4(2):107–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Roos PE, Barton N, van Deursen RWM. Patellofemoral joint compression forces in backward and forward running. J Biomech. 2012;45:1656–60.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Flynn TW, Soutas-Little RW. Patellofemoral joint compressive forces in forward and backward running. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1995;21(5):277–82.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Terblanche E, Venter RE. The effect of backward training on the speed, agility and power of netball players. S Afr J Res Sport Ph. 2009;31(2):135–45.

    Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Ayala F, Calderón-López A, Delgado-Gosálbez JC, Parra-Sánchez S, Pomares-Moguera C, Hernández-Sánchez S, et al. Acute effects of three neuromuscular warm-up strategies on several physical performance measures in football players. PLoS One. 2017;12(1):e0169660.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Magalhães T, Ribeiro F, Pinheiro A, Oliveira J. Warming-up before sporting activity improves knee position sense. Phys Ther Sport. 2010;11(3):86–90.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Olsen OE, Myklebust G, Engebretsen L, Holme I, Bahr R. Exercises to prevent lower limb injuries in youth sports: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2005;330(7489):449–52.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Rössler R, Donath L, Bizzini M, Faude O. A new injury prevention programme for children’s football—FIFA 11+ Kids—can improve motor performance: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. J Sports Sci. 2016;34(6):549–56.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Soligard T, Myklebust G, Steffen K, Holme I, Silvers H, Bizzini M, et al. Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2008;337:a2469.

  36. 36.

    Flynn TW, Soutas-Little RW. Mechanical power and muscle action during forward and backward running. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993;17(2):108–12.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Mackie JW, Dean TE. Running backward training effects on upper leg musculature and ligamentous instability of injured knees. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1984;16:151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Threlkeld AJ, Horn TS, Wojtowicz G, Rooney JG, Shapiro R. Kinematics, ground reaction force, and muscle balance produced by backward running. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1989;11(2):56–63.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Terblanche E, Page C, Kroff J, Venter RE. The effect of backward locomotion training on the body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness of young women. Int J Sports Med. 2005;26(3):214–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Zois J, Bishop D, Aughey R. High-intensity warm-ups: effects during susequent intermittent exercise. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10:498–503.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Golubitsky M, Stewart I, Buono PL, Collins JJ. Symmetry in locomotor central pattern generators and animal gaits. Nature. 1999;401(6754):693–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Choi JT, Bastian AJ. Adaptation reveals independent control networks for human walking. Nat Neurosci. 2007;10:1055–62.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Weyand PG, Sandell RF, Prime DN, Bundle MW. The biological limits to running speed are imposed from the ground up. J Appl Physiol. 2010;108(4):950–61.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Morton C. Running backward may help athletes move forward. Phys Sports Med. 1986;14:149–52.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Kiani A, Hellquist E, Ahlqvist K, Gedeborg R, Michaélsson K, Byberg L. Prevention of soccer-related knee injuries in teenaged girls. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:43–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Heiderscheit BC, Sherry MA, Silder A, Chumanov ES, Thelen DG. Hamstring strain injuries: recommendations for diagnosis, rehabilitation, and injury prevention. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010;40(2):67–81.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Mattacola CG, Dwyer MK. Rehabilitation of the ankle after acute sprain or chronic instability. J Athl Train. 2002;37(4):413–29.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Gilchrist J, Mandelbaum BR, Melancon H, Ryan GW, Silvers HJ, Griffin LY, et al. A randomized controlled trial to prevent noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury in female collegiate soccer players. Am J Sports Med. 2008;36:1476–83.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    Mann RA, Hagy J. Biomechanics of walking, running, and sprinting. Am J Sports Med. 1980;8(5):345–50.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Brughelli M, Cronin J, Chaouachi A. Efffects of running velocity on running kinetics and kinematics. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(4):933–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    van Oeveren BT, de Ruiter CJ, Beek PJ, van Dieën JH. Optimal stride frequencies in running at different speeds. PLoS One. 2017;12(10):e0184273.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. 52.

    Arampatzis A, Bruggemann GP, Metzler V. The effect of speed on leg stiffness and joint kinetics in human running. J Biomech. 1999;32(12):1349–53.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    Alcaraz PE, Palao JM, Elvira JLL, Linthrone NP. Effects of three types of resisted sprint training devices on the kinematics os sprinting at maximum velocity. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(3):890–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. 54.

    Wright S, Weyand PG. The application of ground force explains the energetic cost of running backward and forward. J Exp Biol. 2001;204:1805–15.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. 55.

    Kram R, Taylor R. Energetics of running: a new perspective. Nature. 1990;346(6281):265–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. 56.

    Minetti AE, Alexander RM. A theory of metabolic costs for bipedal gaits. J Theor Biol. 1997;186(4):467–76.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. 57.

    Adesola AM, Azeez OM. Comparison of cardio-pulmonary responses to forward and backward walking and runnin. Afr J Biomed Res. 2009;12(2):95–100.

    Google Scholar 

  58. 58.

    Flynn TW, Connery SM, Smutok MA, Zeballos RJ, Weisman IM. Comparison of cardiopulmonary responses to forward and backward walking and running. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994;26(1):89–94.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  59. 59.

    Conti CA. The mechanical determinats of energetic cost in backward running. Humboldt State University; 2009.

  60. 60.

    Cavagna GA, Legramandi MA, La Torre A. Running backwards: soft landing-hard takeoff, a less efficient rebound. Proc Biol Sci. 2011;278(1704):339–46.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. 61.

    Cavagna GA, Legramandi MA, La Torre A. An analysis of the rebound of the body in backward human running. J Exp Biol. 2012;215(Pt 1):75–84.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  62. 62.

    Herzog W, Leonard TR, Joumaa V, Mehta A. Mysteries of muscle contraction. J Appl Biomech. 2008;24(1):1–13.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. 63.

    Lindstedt SL, LaStayo PC, Reich TE. When active muscles lengthen: properties and consequences of eccentric actions. News Physiol Sci. 2001;16:256–61.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  64. 64.

    Heglund NC, Taylor CR. Speed, stride frequency and energy cost per stride: how do they change with body size and gait? J Exp Biol. 1988;138:301–18.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  65. 65.

    Maffiuletti NA, Aagaard P, Blazevich AJ, Folland J, Tillin NA, Duchateau J. Rate of force development: physiological and methodological considerations. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016;116(6):1091–116.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. 66.

    Moir GL. Strength and conditioning: a biomechanical approach. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  67. 67.

    Napier C, Cochrane CK, Taunton JE, Hunt MA. Gait modifications to change lower extremity gait biomechanics in runners: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(21):1382–8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  68. 68.

    Novacheck TM. The biomechanics of running. Gait Posture. 1998;7:77–95.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  69. 69.

    DeVita P, Stribling J. Lower extremity joint kinetics and energetics during backward running. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23(5):602–10.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. 70.

    Hansen AH, Childress DS, Miff SC, Gard SA, Mesplay KP. The human ankle during walking: implications for design of biomimetic ankle protheses. J Biomech. 2004;37:1467–74.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  71. 71.

    Bates BT, Morrison E, Hamill J. A comparison between forward and backward running. In: Adrian M, Deutsch H, editors. The 1984 Olympic Scientific Congress Proceedings: Biomechanics; 1984. Eugene: Microform Publications; 1984. p. 127–35.

    Google Scholar 

  72. 72.

    Butler RJ, Corwell HP III, Davis IM. Lower extremity stiffness: implications for performance and injury. Clin Biomech. 2003;18:511–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. 73.

    Hoy MG, Zajac FE, Gordon ME. A musculoskeletal model of the human lower extremity: the effect of muscle, tendon, and moment arm on the moment-angle relationship of musculotendon actuators at teh hip, knee and ankle. J Biomech. 1990;23(2):157–69.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  74. 74.

    Heiderscheit BC, Chumanov ES, Michalski MP, Wille CM, Ryan MB. Effects of step rate manipulation on joint mechanics during running. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(2):296–302.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  75. 75.

    Guo L, Su F, Yang C, Wang S, Chang J, Wu W, et al. Effects of speed and incline on lower extremity kinemtics during treadmill jogging in healthy subjects. Biomed Eng Appl Basis Commun. 2006;18(2):73–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. 76.

    Gajer B, Thépaut-Mathieu C, Lehénaff D. Evolution of stride and amplitude during course fo the 100 m event in athletics. New Stud Athl. 1999;14:43–50.

    Google Scholar 

  77. 77.

    Hunter JP, Marshall RN, McNair PJ. Relationships between ground reaction force impulse and kinematics of sprint-running acceleration. J Appl Biomech. 2005;21:31–43.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  78. 78.

    Mann R, Herman J. Kinematic analysis of Olympic sprint performance, Men’s 200 meters. Int J Sports Biomech. 1985;1:151–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  79. 79.

    Morin JB, Bourdin M, Edouard P, Peyrot N, Samozino P, Lacour JR. Mechanical determinants of 100-m sprint running performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012;112(11):3921–30.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  80. 80.

    Sterzing T, Frommhold C, Rosenbaum D. In-shoe plantar pressure distribution and lower extremity muscle activity patterns of backward compared to forward running on a treadmill. Gait Posture. 2016;46:135–41.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  81. 81.

    Komi PV, Gollhofer A, Schmidtbleicher D, Frick U. Interaction between man and shoe in running: considerations for a more comprehensive measurement approach. Int J Sports Med. 1987;8(3):196–202.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. 82.

    Dietz V. Human neuronal control of automatic functional movements. Interaction between central programs and afferent input. Physiol Rev. 1992;72:33–69.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  83. 83.

    Duysens J, Tax AA, Murrer L, Dietz V. Backward and forward walking use different patterns of phase-dependent modulation of cutaneous reflexes in humans. J Neurophysiol. 1996;76(1):301–10.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  84. 84.

    Grasso R, Bianci L, Lacquaniti F. Motor patterns for human gait: backward versus forward locomotion. J Neurophysiol. 1998;80(4):1868–85.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  85. 85.

    Winter DA, Pluck N, Yang JF. Backward walking: a simple reversal of forward walking? J Motor Behav. 1989;21:291–305.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  86. 86.

    Bramble DM, Lierberman DE. Endurance running and the evolution of Homo. Nature. 2004;432:345–52.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  87. 87.

    Mattson MP. Evolutionary aspects of human exercise—born to run purposefully. Ageing Res Rev. 2012;11(3):347–52.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  88. 88.

    Joshi S, Vij JS, Singh SK. Medical science retrowalking: a new concept in physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Int J Sci Res. 2015;4(10):152–6.

    Google Scholar 

  89. 89.

    Nourbakhsh MR, Kukulka CG. Relationship between muscle length and moment arm on EMG activity of human triceps surae muscle. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2004;14(2):263–73.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  90. 90.

    Weyand PG, Sternlight DB, Bellizzi MJ, Wright S. Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. J Appl Physiol. 2000;81:1991–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  91. 91.

    Curtiss C, Orloff H, Usagawa T. Analysis of round reaction forces produced in basketball maneuvers over a season. XXIV International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports; 2006 16 July; Salzburg, Austria; 2006.

  92. 92.

    McNeill AR. The human machine. New York: Columbia University Press; 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  93. 93.

    Derrick TR, Hamill J, Caldwell GE. Energy absorption of impacts during running at various stride lengths. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30(1):128–35.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  94. 94.

    Ellis RG, Sumner BJ, Kram R. Muscle contributions to propulsion an dbraking during walking and running: insights from external force perturbations. Gait Posture. 2014;40(4):594–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  95. 95.

    Hamner SR, Seth A, Delp SL. Muscle contributions to propulsion and support during running. J Biomech. 2010;43(14):2709–16.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  96. 96.

    Cavagna GA, Legramandi MA, Peyre-Tartaruga LA. The landing-takeoff asymmetry of human running is enhanced in old age. J Exp Biol. 2008;211(pt10):1571–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  97. 97.

    Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL, Magnusson P, Dyhre-Poulsen P. Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeleton muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol. 2002;93(4):1318–26.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  98. 98.

    Laffaye G, Wagner PP, Tombleson TI. Countermovement jump height: gender and sport-specific differences in force-time variables. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(4):1086–105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  99. 99.

    Slawinski J, Bonnefoy A, Levêque JM, Ontanon G, Riquet A, Dumas R, et al. Kinematic and kinetic comparisons of elite and well-trained sprinters during sprint start. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(4):896–905.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  100. 100.

    Gissis I, Papadopoulos C, Kalapotharakos VI, Sotiropoulos A, Komsis G, Manolopoulos E. Strength and speed characteristics of elite, subelite, and recreational young soccer players. Res Sports Med. 2006;14:205–14.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  101. 101.

    Nuzzo JL, McBride JM, Cormie P, McCaulley GO. Relationship between countermovement jump performance and multijoint isometric and dynamic tests of strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(3):699–707.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  102. 102.

    Lockie RG, Murphy A, Spinks CD. Effects of resisted sled towing on sprint kinematics in field-sport athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2003;17(4):760–7.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  103. 103.

    Daneshjoo A, Mokhtar AH, Rahnama N, Yusof A. Effectiveness of injury prevention programs on developing quadriceps and hamstrings strength of young male professional soccer players. J Hum Kinet. 2013;39:115–25.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  104. 104.

    Longo UG, Loppini M, Berton A, Marinozzi A, Maffulli N, Denaro V. The FIFA 11_ program is effective in preventing injuries in elite male basketball playes: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med. 2012;40(5):96–1005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  105. 105.

    Aguilar AJ, DiStefano LJ, Brown CN, Herman DC, Guskiewicz KM, Padua DA. A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(4):1130–41.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  106. 106.

    Herman K, Barton C, Malliaras P, Morrissey D. The effectiveness of neuromuscular warm-up strategies, that require no additional equipment, for preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation: a systematic review. BMC Med. 2012;10(75):1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  107. 107.

    Daneshjoo A, Mokhtar AH, Rashnama N, Yusof A. The effects of comprehensive warm-up programs on proprioception, static and dynamic balance on male soccer players. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51568.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  108. 108.

    Ordway JD, Laubach LL, Vanderburgh PM, Jackson KJ. The effects of backwards running training on forward running economy in trained males. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(3):763–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  109. 109.

    Millet GP, Jaouen B, Borrani F, Candau R. Effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy and VO(2) kinetics. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34(8):1351–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  110. 110.

    Saunders PU, Telford RD, Pyne DD, Hahn AG. Improved race performance in elite middle-distance runners after cumulative altitude exposure. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2009;4(1):134–8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  111. 111.

    Saunders PU, Telford RD, Pyne DB, Peltola EM, Cunningham RB, Gore CJ, et al. Short-term plyometric training improves running economy in highly trained middle and long distance runners. J Strength Cond Res. 2006;20(4):947–54.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  112. 112.

    Jones P, Bampouras T, Marrin K. An investigation into the physical determinants of change of direction speed. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2009;49(1):97–104.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  113. 113.

    Gabbett TJ, Kelly JN, Sheppard JM. Speed, change of direction speed, and reactive agility of rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(1):174–81.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  114. 114.

    Swati K, Ashima C, Saurabh S. Efficacy of backward training on agility and quadriceps strength. Elixir Hum Physiol. 2012;53:11918–21.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Aaron Uthoff.

Ethics declarations

Data Availability Statement

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflicts of interest

Aaron Uthoff, Jon Oliver, John Cronin, Craig Harrison and Paul Winwood declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Uthoff, A., Oliver, J., Cronin, J. et al. A New Direction to Athletic Performance: Understanding the Acute and Longitudinal Responses to Backward Running. Sports Med 48, 1083–1096 (2018).

Download citation