Document Type : Research Paper



The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of backward walking training on the maximum tensions of the knee and ankle joints’ muscles during forward walking. Thirty volunteer male university students were divided into control and experimental groups and the subjects of the experimental group participated in a 4-week backward walking training program. Kinematics of the knee and ankle joints of the dominant limb along with the electromyography of their muscles were recorded during forward walking in pre- and post-tests. Maximum muscular tensions of the knee and ankle joints were determined during flexion and extension phases. Results showed backward walking training decreased the maximum tensions of some of the knee extensors and flexors during forward walking. This reduction, that indicates improvement of control mechanisms of the central nervous system to maintain the joint balance, decreases the energy expenditure and delays the muscle fatigue during forward walking.


1. Neptune RR, Zajac FE, Kautz SA. 2004. Muscle force redistributes segmental power for body progression during walking. Gait & Posture. 2004. 19:194–205.
2. McGowan CP, Neptune RR, Clark DJ, Kautz SA. Modular control of human walking: Adaptations to altered mechanical demands. Journal of Biomechanics. 2010. 43:412–9.
3. Safavynia A, Torres-Oviedo G, Ting Lena H. Muscle Synergies: Implications for Clinical Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Movement. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation. 2011. 17(1):16–24.
4. Winter DA. Human balance and posture control during standing and walking. Gait & Posture. 1995. 3:193–214.
5. Rose DJ. Reduction the Risk of fall among older adults: the fall proof balance and mobility program. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2011. 10(3):151–6.
6. Clarke MS. The effect of exercise on skeletal muscle in the aged. Journal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions. 2004. 4(2):175–8.
7. Grasso R, Bianchi L, Lacquaniti F. Motor Patterns for Human Gait: Backward Versus Forward Locomotion. Prosthetics and Orthotics International. 2010. 34(3):254–69.
8. Jansen K, De Groote F, Massaad F, Meyns P, Duysens J, Jonkers I. Similar muscles contribute to horizontal and vertical acceleration of center of mass in forward and backward walking: implications for neural control. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2012. 107(12):3385–96.
9. Yang YR, Yen JG, Wang RY, Yen LL, Lieu FK. Gait outcomes after additional backward walking training in patients with stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2005. 19(3):264–73.
10. Fellin RE, Rose WC, Royer TD, Davis IS. Comparison of methods for kinematic identification of footstrike and toe-off during overground and treadmill running. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2010. 13(6):646–50.
11. Whittle MW. Gait Analysis: An Introduction. 4th edition. Heidi Harrison Publisher, 2007. 154–6.
12. Winter DA. Human balance and posture control during standing and walking. Gait & Posture. 1995. 3:193–214.
13. Winter DA. The Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Gait. 4th edition. 2009. 35–8.
14. Robertson DGE, Caldwell G, Hamill J, Kamen G, Whittlesey S. Research Methods in Biomechanics. 1st Edition, Human Kinetics. 2014. 163–81.
15. Dimitrov DM, Rumrill PD. Pretest-posttest designs and measurement of change. Work. 2003. 20:159–65.
16. Inman VT, Ralston HJ, Todd F. Human walking. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins. 1981. 181–5.
17. Thorstensson A. How is the normal locomotor program modified to produce backward walking? Experimental Brain Research. 1986. 61:664–8.
18. Dietz V. Human neuronal control of automatic functional movements: interaction between central programs and afferent input. Physiological Reviews. 1992. 72:33–69.
19. Rose J, Gamble JG. Human Walking. 3rd Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2006. 135–42.