It’s rare to see someone jogging or running backwards on a treadmill.

But every time I see someone doing this, he or she is holding onto the rails!

This is a key point because when someone jogs, runs or walks backwards on a treadmill, but holds onto the rails, their posture and body alignment will be tossed off-whack.

You need not be a chiropractor to be able to observe this.

If you choose to run backwards on a treadmill, don’t hold on.

If this means you must first practice at 1.5 mph, then so be it.

If you jog or run backwards on a treadmill without holding onto the rails, your posture will not only be forced to be upright with good body alignment, but it will be near perfect, as this is required to maintain balance and steadiness.

In fact, it would be difficult to run backwards on a treadmill with bad posture if you were not holding on!

I feel like a soldier when I’m trotting backwards because I’m so straight; this will happen to you, too, with the hands-off approach.

One need not be a natural athlete to accomplish this. I had a client with no past athletic training, who was obese and in her early 50s, walking backwards without holding on.

The only thing that stopped her from jogging was osteoarthritis.

Why run backwards on a treadmill?

I sometimes do it to warm up for forward high intensity training. I also do it to create a different pattern of muscle use. I also believe that it strengthens the knees.

I do not do it to burn more calories or emphasize the butt or hamstrings, because it will not accomplish any of these things. Finally, I do it as part of my agility training.

If you want to jog or run backwards on a treadmill, give it a try, but proceed very gradually; get used to reverse walking first.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.