How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

Walking sticks are very useful for hiking and trekking on long trails, or for harder terrain. They provide support and balance and can be extremely useful when going uphill and needing additional support with steeper slopes. If you do not have walking sticks in these situations, you can easily hurt your knees or try too hard: your legs will have to support all your weight, while with the canes, your weight is distributed more evenly between your legs and your pair. of the poles.

In this article, we will help you get used to using walking sticks and also learn how to use them more efficiently. It is true that they are very effective during a hiking trip, but it also matters how you use them.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

If you do not use them properly, your positive effects will be zero, and you may even get hurt by misuse. Therefore, follow our advice in this article and learn how to use walking sticks.

How to use walking sticks correctly.

Therefore, the hiking poles are used to boost the advance, in addition to offering more balance and relaxing a little less. Therefore, first of all, you should adjust the length of your walking stick. While some walking sticks do not offer that option, we recommend that you purchase walking sticks, which can offer you the freedom to adjust the length according to yours.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

To make sure you establish the correct height of your poles, take one of them and ventilate at an angle of 90 degrees with your elbow. For example, if that angle is more acute, then your trekking stick is too long for you. You need to shorten it a little. This advice is applicable for flat lands. If it descends, its poles may be much longer than normal because they need to provide uniform support while descending a steep slope.

And vice versa: if you are climbing, it is better that your walking sticks are shorter than normal. The slope compensates for short poles. Of course, it’s always a good idea to try what makes you feel good in particular.

Next, open the strap that is right on the handle. Pass your hand through the strap and take the handle of the stick with the doll in the loop. The strap should look like a wristwatch in your hand, while holding the handle. If something happens to you as you walk and you lose your grip on the handle, the strap will prevent the club from falling completely from your hand, so you can grab it immediately. Thanks to the strap you can not lose your walking stick.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

So, how to use them when we are actually hiking? If we apply the concept that the walking poles give us support, we will have to use them properly. With each step you take, plant each corresponding pole slightly at a backward angle so that it gives you propulsion ahead. Remember to use the strength of your shoulders and not just your elbows: your shoulders are much stronger than your elbows.

The three main ways to use your hiking poles are:

  • Push / Gasing
  • Braking / Slowing
  • Cost (does not require effort)


One way (and the most popular) of using your walking sticks is to start alternating leg and hand, for example. Plant your right pole and move your left leg forward parallel to your pole. This is usually the most correct and efficient way to use walking sticks. Otherwise, there is a walking position called “square gaiting,” which is incorrect and often happens when people use it. However, it is unnatural and interrupts the natural flow of your posture and gait.


This method is specifically used to reduce speed if you are on a steep slope and need to reduce speed or protect against turning. This technique requires that you always plant the poles in front of you, approximately one foot from the tip of your feet, or even later.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

As we mentioned, you may have to extend the length of your poles to match the corresponding slope of the hill / slope. This is also an excellent way to rest for a while by leaning on the handles of your poles.


Another version that you can use, which is ideal for light walking on flat, easy-to-use terrains, the poles parallel to each other. Do it this way: hold the two trekking poles and place them at the same time in front of you, at an angle below 90 degrees (approximately 70 is ideal), then move forward. Keep repeating this while you walk. This gives you a nice fluid movement, without really relying on the poles to maintain your balance. However, it is also good for the same purposes as indicated above: both propulsion and balance can be achieved with this technique.

You do not have to do it and # 8216; Load your poles to advance. They can simply help you maintain your gravitational center (balance) with the least effort.

In this YouTube video you can clearly see the correct and incorrect positions of your body, including walking poorly and using hiking poles.

The last words that should be taken into account when it comes to the three previous methods is that you can plant your poles according to the obstacles that you are going through.

For example, if you need to step over a large fallen tree, it is best to plant your poles in the tree, if you intend to step on it. This technique gives you enough propulsive power to step on the obstacle. Of course, keep the poles at the necessary height and make sure that no matter how you place your hands, it is always good to maintain a 90 degree angle at the elbows.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

If you are stopping from a high obstacle to a lower ground, place your poles on the ground on which you intend to tread. It is easy to imagine four-legged animals and how they tend to move through obstacles. The use of walking sticks makes walking in a straight line a bit easier, as it transfers part of your body weight on your shoulders and optimally to your walking sticks.

Nordic walk

The above techniques are slightly different from the so-called Nordic walking. The ways explained above to use your walking sticks are more suitable for hiking and trekking on uneven terrain, on slopes and hills. On the other hand, the Nordic march is more oriented to the exercises and is useful if you are going to walk before or after work, and if you walk on a flat and hard ground. Since it is about fast and light walking, you have to use slightly modified techniques.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

To perform a proper Nordic walking, you need special caps on your two poles that create traction when you come into contact with the ground surface. This is used to give you a slight push forward, and it still makes you move your hands. Place your hands on your walking sticks as explained above and place your stick at an angle appropriate to the pole cap, the angle should be about 45-50 degrees.

You just raise your hands off the ground. Walking sticks should feel natural and should move naturally to the way they walk. You can walk briskly with this technique, since it is not supposed to carry much weight or backpacks.

Above you can see another YouTube video where you will learn even more about the difference between walking in nature and Nordic walking.

Tips and advice

It is good to know that almost all walking sticks have the ability to absorb the impact of walking downhill. You have the option to disable this function, for example, while going uphill, but it is an excellent way to protect the joints of the knees from the jolt when lowering. The anti-shock feature is also useful if you have weak joints, including your ankles and hips.

In addition, to improve your hiking experience, it is best to get adjustable hiking poles in length. It is much easier to control the length of your poles and also keep them compact in your backpack, compared to non-adjustable poles.

Another thing to consider when using walking poles is what material they are made of. Aluminum and carbon fiber poles are most frequently found on the market. Aluminum is very light, which makes a pair of poles weigh no more than 22 ounces. You should still bear in mind that aluminum is more fragile and can bend if you apply too much pressure, but it will not be so easy to break it in half.

How to Use Walking Poles: Detailed Techniques Explained Plus A Few Tips

Carbon fiber, on the other hand, is much more expensive and lighter than aluminum. Unfortunately, along with the low weight, the disadvantage is that they are much more likely to break if pushed too hard. In case you go hiking in an uneven terrain, you should consider the aluminum posts.

The best way to learn the above techniques is to go out and practice in a safe environment. Do not go straight ahead on a 20-mile hike if you’ve never tried walking on poles before. You probably do not have experience and it can be risky to trust something you’ve never tried before.


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