The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of backward walking on hamstring flexibility and low back range of motion. Ten healthy female volunteers (29.9±10.0 yr; 165.1±8.2 cm; 68.53±18.4 kg) completed pre-post laboratory testing surrounding a 4-week intervention of backward walking. During the pretest, each participant walked forward on a treadmill at a preferred velocity for 3-5 min. A biaxial electrogoniometer was secured externally to the low back and a sit-and-reach test was performed. Each participant then walked backward at their preferred pace on a treadmill for 10 min, during which time low back motion data were obtained (1000 Hz). Following the pretest, participants completed an intervention of walking backward at a self-selected velocity for 10-15 min/day, 4 days/week. This was followed by a posttest, using the exact protocol as the pretest. Dependent variables consisted of pre-post measures of: 1) backward walking velocity (VEL), 2) flexibility of the hamstrings (HF), low back sagittal plane range of motion (sROM), and low back coronal plane range of motion (cROM). Correlated t-tests (α = 0.05) with Bonferroni correction identified significant (p < 0.001) differences in VEL and HF. Low back motion parameters (sROM, cROM) were not significantly different (p > 0.0125) following the intervention. Results of the study suggest that a 4-week intervention of backward walking appears to provide an appropriate stimulus for an increase in flexibility of the hamstrings. A possible interaction between VEL and sROM or cROM limited the interpretation of observed non-significant changes in low back motion.
Whitley, Chet R. and Dufek, Janet S.
"Effects of Backward Walking on Hamstring Flexibility and Low Back Range of Motion,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 4
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol4/iss3/4