When can taking a step backwards be good for your workout? When you’re exercising on an elliptical trainer. According to NYC personal trainer Robynn Europe and an article in Prevention Magazine, going backwards on your elliptical affects which groups of large muscles work the most. Only moving forward, says Europe, makes your quads over-tired. However, moving backwards puts pressure on your glutes and hamstrings.
In fact, according to Europe, not changing direction on an elliptical is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Her guidance? To get the most from your change in direction, lean back slightly and keep your knees at right angles as they stride.
Physician Dr. David Ryan, a former Mr. World, also recognizes the value of changing direction. In an article published on Bodybuilding.com he notes that using elliptical trainers in a reversed direction helps to strengthen parts of the knee, including the anterior cruciate ligament. While the same results may be achieved by walking backwards on a treadmill, the steady movement of ellipticals makes it the ideal training machine for those who suffer coordination difficulties or are recuperating from injury.