Backward walking is most safely performed on a treadmill and can be quite helpful for runner’s knee. Start out slow until you get the feel for backward walking. Try not to hold on to the rails or only hold lightly. Keep your first few sessions shorter until your calves get accustomed to this workout. You will probably find that increasing the treadmill elevation to 8-14% and the speed to a brisk or very brisk walk will give you a good workout.
Dr. Timothy Flynn (physical therapist and runner) contributed to much of the research on this exercise. Backward walking was initially used as a method of training for people with runner’s knees. The biomechanics of backward walking were found to put less pressure on the kneecap yet provide a good strengthening response for the quadriceps.
You may feel out of place doing this at a gym, but you will soon find several people asking what you are up to and may notice others joining in.
Researchers have evaluated heart rate and oxygen use during backward walking and found it to be similar to running.