Member Login
Login Icon

The Anatomy of Backward Walking

“100 steps backward are worth 1,000 steps forward.”

That’s ancient Chinese wisdom, and from generation to generation walking backward has been passed on to prevent knee arthritis in the elderly.

“Reverse out knee pain” is a motto I’ve used to help people exercise in reverse of their knee pain in order to reduce it. It got me off painkillers and has helped thousands of others do the same.

A recent study explains the ANATOMY of why:

You have a vastus “medialis” and a vastus “lateralis.”

“Vastus” means large, “medialis” means toward the middle of the body, and “lateralis” means toward the outside of the body.

This illustration shows your vastus medialis on the left, and your vastus lateralis on the right:

When people with knee pain walk forward, the vastus medialis does NOT engage like it does for someone without knee pain.

For people with and without knee pain, the vastus lateralis seems to work the same.

But when people with knee pain walk BACKWARD, that vastus medialis does engage as it’s intended to!

So you really CAN work your way backward to a more protected knee going forward.

Muscles are just one part of the anatomy of knee pain, but now we can see why Knee Ability consistently helps people regain and/or improve forward activities such as hiking, running, and jumping.

To round out this article, let’s imagine a strenuous knee activity such as going downhill…

The first muscle that experiences high pressure is the anterior tibialis. “Anterior” means front, and “tibialis” means of your tibia (your shinbone):

So tibialis raises strengthen your FIRST line of defense before we even get to your knee:

Then as your knee continues to travel forward, it winds up over your toes, with pressure on it:

So backward walking plus tibialis raises form the first two steps of Knee Ability Zero because they are the literal reverse of pressure on your knees.

This doesn’t mean these two steps alone cover all the pressures and abilities of the knee, but they’re easy to learn and they relate to the most FUNDAMENTAL pressures a knee needs to be able to handle in life.

Multiple ATG members have recently reported breakthroughs from backward walking in a POOL, either for themselves or others.

One was a man in his 70s, with knee replacement surgery scheduled. Thanks to backward walking in the pool, he progressed and canceled the surgery. He visited me at ATGHQ last week and was able to go forward with the sled and backward on the backward treadmill. Members can visit us whenever we train. Just message through the app to schedule:

Mondays: Knee Ability

Wednesdays: Back Ability

Fridays: Shoulder Ability

Another success involved a woman who helped her mom. Her mom is in her 80s and she’d lost the ability to walk forward. Backward walking in the pool allowed her to rebuild the ability to walk forward!

Look, life ain’t perfect, but it could be better for a lot of people if they understood how backward relates to knee health. Thanks to our ATG group here, we’re succeeding in the goal of spreading that knowledge.

Thank you for your teamwork.

Yours in Solutions,



The Backward Treadmill

ATG For Coaches

Sign UpHome PageAll Articles