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Old 08-04-2008, 04:32 AM   #1
John Maloney
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Griff and the functionality of running backwards

I told my workout partner that I question the validity of running backwards as a functional movement (Griff WOD). He argued that it really hurts - burns the glutes (or whatever). That's nice but unfortunately it is not an argument supportive of functional validity. If it's about movements, not muscles, someone convince me that I'm wrong here. Running backwards is something we rarely would ever do and something I feel is left best as an agility drill rather than something you'd do for 400m.

On a related note, I don't think a Bench Press is nearly as functional a movement as pushing a prowler, or an explosive standing med-ball push. Think about pushing a car, a stuck heavy door, or aggressive bouncer (LOL). Waaaaay more functional and practical than lying on your back & pushing straight up IMHO. Thoughts?
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:18 AM   #2
Camille Lore
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

I feel like it works on my foot coordination.
I'm pretty sure it's helped my shin splints.
Other than that, it just burns my quads and the front of my lower legs!
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:28 AM   #3
Richard Macaulay
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

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Originally Posted by John Maloney View Post
I told my workout partner that I question the validity of running backwards as a functional movement (Griff WOD). He argued that it really hurts - burns the glutes (or whatever). That's nice but unfortunately it is not an argument supportive of functional validity. If it's about movements, not muscles, someone convince me that I'm wrong here. Running backwards is something we rarely would ever do and something I feel is left best as an agility drill rather than something you'd do for 400m.

On a related note, I don't think a Bench Press is nearly as functional a movement as pushing a prowler, or an explosive standing med-ball push. Think about pushing a car, a stuck heavy door, or aggressive bouncer (LOL). Waaaaay more functional and practical than lying on your back & pushing straight up IMHO. Thoughts?
It will help with your ability to drive off your feet aswell as your speed off the mark. You have to be light on your feet to do it properly.

And cammiles right, it really burn the vastus medialis (tear drop).

Also stands to reason that improving your speed going backwards will help your speed going forewards.

Also good for athletes who need to move foreward and back during a game.

Ricky
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:58 AM   #4
Scott Borre
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

Functional does not mean its a movement that you'll be performing in real life on a daily basis. However, it has to be oriented towards developing the strength and conditioning to be performing activities. For example, the benchpress might not seem functional, but being able to push a body of weight off yourself can help in various martial arts/wrestling types of sports. Or if something were to fall on you.

But with running backwards here's how its functional

1) Ever play a sport? Running backwards is normal.
2) It helps to strengthen your feet and calves which helps with running forward.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:12 AM   #5
John Schneider
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

Here is how I look at "Functional" training:

1. It is natural. (Something you will do in real life in some fashion)
2. It is multi joint. (Our body works as a system no in isolation)
3. It allows the body to move significant force.
4. It allows to move a mass over a significant distance.
5. It allows you to move quickly.

(3-5 can be summed up as power (Fxd)/t So, you could cut that down to 3 rules : Natural, Multi-joint movements, that encourage power)

I think running backwards can fit into this description.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:40 AM   #6
Wade Smith
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

For those of us with patellar tendinitis, or other relative-weakness VMO issues, running backwards seems to mimic the backwards sled drag (though w/o the weight obviously) which is one of the activities/exercises for effective rehab.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:52 AM   #7
Richard Macaulay
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

Running backwards is great.

At rubgy training we occassionaly do shuttle runs. We also do shuttles were we run forewards to the marker and backwards to the start. We do these up the hole rubgy pitch , running from the try line to the 22metre line and then backwards to the try line etc etc all the way up the pitch. killer leg burn.

Ricky
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:59 AM   #8
Tirzah Harper
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

If you play with kids much, running backwards is VERY functional.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:16 AM   #9
Marco Pineda
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

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Originally Posted by Tirzah Harper View Post
If you play with kids much, running backwards is VERY functional.
Indeed, I spent much of the weekend doing just that.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:59 AM   #10
John Maloney
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Re: Griff and the functionality of running backwards

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Originally Posted by Scott Borre View Post
Functional does not mean its a movement that you'll be performing in real life on a daily basis. However, it has to be oriented towards developing the strength and conditioning to be performing activities. For example, the benchpress might not seem functional, but being able to push a body of weight off yourself can help in various martial arts/wrestling types of sports. Or if something were to fall on you.

But with running backwards here's how its functional

1) Ever play a sport? Running backwards is normal.
2) It helps to strengthen your feet and calves which helps with running forward.
1. Yeah, Wrestling. We never ran backwards. No, seriously though, in soccer or football, probably 15 m. until you'd shift to lateral or forward movement. This is still something that might better implemented in shorter distances as an agility drill (and including carioca - lateral movement, and direction change). Moreover, wouldn't that make it kinda sport-specific rather than GPP? What percentage of the time do we run backwards? What percentage do we spend running forward? Laterally?

2. That doesn't make it functional. Neither does having kids in the vicinity. As I understand it, and there is a lot of subjectiveness about what defines functional movement, John Schneider is closest, but there is also a consideration for real-world applicability and what could be described as "part of our DNA" or a "prehistoric" origin. That said, if it does help forward running, which I'll estimate we do 98.5% of the time, shouldn't we see a lot more backward running intervals in the WODS?

I just find 400m of it to be very unusual and arbitrary, but not in the sense of "varied, if not random". Otherwise we may see "run 5k sideways going left" as a WOD one day. Guess, I'm feeling like a scofflaw. It's my rebellious nature, pay me no mind.
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Last edited by John Maloney : 08-04-2008 at 09:20 AM. Reason: additional obfuscation
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