Sprint speed can define you as an athlete. Think of the emphasis placed on the 40-Yard Dash in the NFL Combine. But when you think about sports like football, soccer or basketball, backwards running plays an equally important role in on-field or on-court performance.
Despite its importance, however, most athletes allot little practice or training time to backwards running. This can result in a lack of coordination, muscle strength and balance needed for fast and fluid movement.
To avoid slow and awkward movement in your sport, incorporate backwards running into your training program. It will help you develop the technique and strength necessary for coordinated and powerful strides. Also, muscles that don't get worked during regular running sessions will be strengthened, helping to create balanced lower body strength.
View the videos below for exercises you can use to increase your backward mobility and speed.
Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger develops his backward running ability with the Backward Treadmill series.
Linebacker AJ Hawk is constantly running backwards to catch and tackle speedy running backs and receivers. He incorporates backwards running into a Four-Way Resisted Agility Series to develop explosive backwards speed.
The Kansas City Wizards perform a Backwards Slalom to improve coordination and footwork for fluid and balanced backwards running on the pitch.