What's that? A guide to Retro Running

In our constant search to find new and exciting trends and events to share with you – our lovely customer, we came across something that, until recently we thought you only did when you were being silly or forgot how to walk forward.

But through intense Googling, we discovered that “Retro”, or “Backwards” Running has been around for a very long time, with prescriptions given to patients in the late 70’s and 80’s as a rehabilitation exercise.


http://www.retro-running.com/ provides some interesting insights into the history of “Retro Running”. They claim that it dates back to 8,000BCE, with Buddhist Monks using this form of exercise for mind, body and soul development.

Since then, Retro running has been adopted by various athletes and doctors alike. But what makes this form of running so great?

Health Benefits

In a study released in 2011 from the University of Milan, tested a group of runners tested by striding back and forth with a whole lot of equipment to track them. The researchers found that running backward required nearly 30 percent more energy than running forward at the same speed. But backward running also produced far less hard pounding, which is good for people with bad knees.

Burning more Calories: 

Based upon the results of the 2011 study, retro running requires 30% more energy than regular old forward running. Not only does this make backward running better for weight loss, but you can do more with less time.

Similar benefits can be obtained from 100 steps of backward as from 1,000 steps of forward running. This is especially attractive to busy people who want the greatest benefits in the least time.

Balance Training: 

According to the research found, the mechanics of Retro running uses your quadriceps, calves and shins. We found that backward slow walking is also sometimes used as a therapy for people with Parkinson’s and is potentially useful for older people, whose balance has grown shaky.

Knee Improvements: 

The researchers of the study found that during regular old “forward running” or “running” as we like to call it, has a ‘soft-take off’ and a ‘hard landing’ which can cause havoc on the knees if the runner has pre-existing injuries or a propensity for knee injury. We found another 2012 study, which found that backward running causes far less impact to the front of the knees.

Retro running actually reverses this step, with a ‘hard takeoff’ and ‘soft landing’, making the mechanics of running a lot softer on the knees than running forward.

Backward running works the muscles around the knee so can be used to strengthen the knee to prevent further injury. Because of its low impact on the knee, backward running can also be used during rehabilitation to maintain cardiovascular fitness while minimising impact.



According to the World of Sports Science, Retro running is a powerful sport specific training tool. Athletes such American football cornerbacks, basketball players, and tennis players must all be able to move powerfully and decisively through backward motion. Maximum speed in a retro position is essential to success in each of these sports. Training programs such as shuttle run drills, where the athlete is required to move backward and forward at a high speed within a short period of time, are effective in developing retro running skills specific to the sport.

There are also many races around Europe for Retro running, and some great videos on Youtube capturing these backwards moments.

In addition to this, you may be watching these races on the 2020 Olympics; now that’s one race we would definitely watch!


You can’t exactly see where you’re going, without a few mirrors taped to your hands.

What does this mean for you?

Well if you’re short on time, close to a clear field where you’re not going to trip over on anyone, and have a handheld mirror, then this is a great option for you!

Brands such as le coq are heavily invested in retro running, with entire shoe lines devoted to the exercise.

By the sounds of things, this exercise technique has great positive benefits, and we’re definitely going to give it a try – we’d love to hear your thoughts/experiences with Retro running (shoot us an email at courtney@proteinsuppliesaustralia.com.au).


  1. http://www.retro-running.com/
  2. http://theconversation.com/running-backward-into-the-olympic-games-8386
  3. http://www.faqs.org/sports-science/Pl-Sa/Retro-Running.html
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20719774
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013407/
  6. http://www.elrincondemoda.com/2015/11/retro-running-peligros-de-esta-moda-deportiva/