The aim of this study was to measure the energy expenditure for locomotor activities usually performed by soccer referees during a match (walking, jogging, and running) under laboratory conditions, and to compare forward with backward movements. The sample was composed by 10 male soccer referees, age 29±7.8 years, body mass 77.5±6.2 kg, stature 1.78±0.07 m and professional experience of 7.33±4.92 years. Referees were evaluated on two separate occasions. On the first day, maximal oxygen uptake (VO 2max) was determined by a maximal treadmill test, and on the second day, the oxygen consumption was determined in different speeds of forward and backward movements. The mean VO 2max was 41.20±3.60 mL·kg -1·min -1 and the mean heart rate achieved in the last stage of the test was 190.5±7.9 bpm. When results of forward and backward movements were compared at 1.62 m/s (walking speed), we found significant differences in VO 2, in metabolic equivalents, and in kcal. However, the same parameters in forward and backward movements at jogging velocities (2.46 m/s) were not significantly different, showing that these motor activities have similar intensity. Backward movements at velocities equivalent to walking and jogging are moderate-intensity activities, with energy expenditure less than 9 kcal. Energy expenditure was overestimated by at least 35% when calculated by mathematical equations. In summary, we observed that backward movements are not high-intensity activities as has been commonly reported, and when calculated using equations available in the literature, energy expenditure was overestimated compared to the values obtained by indirect calorimetry.