It’s difficult to remember everything you should be doing when you first start out Nordic walking. It’s also easy for us seasoned Nordic walkers to slip into bad habits along the way! So here’s ten top tips to help hone your technique:
1. When you pick up your poles, tighten your straps with your hand in the correct position around the pole and keep your wrist straight. They will then fit more snugly, making the arm swing and hand control easier.
2.Complete a posture check list as you start walking and repeat it regularly:
- Lengthen spine
- Lift head
- Drop chin
- Drop shoulders
- Shoulders wide
- Pendulum arm swing
- Lift chest
- Engage stomach muscles
- Weight evenly centred over feet
3. The heel/toe roll can be difficult to master. Instead of concentrating on putting your heel down, think about lifting your toes UP. The result is the same.
4. Squeeze the pole handle as you swing your arm forwards but push through your strap, not your hands, to accelerate you forwards. Otherwise you’re likely to get sore forearms.
5. Punch your poles in firmly and bring them into a more upright position when walking in muddy/slippy conditions – it gives you more stability.
6. To increase your speed, push off more decisively with your toes and swing your arm more quickly – do NOT force an increase your stride.
7. When going up steep hills double arm poling gives you extra power and for some people it makes it feel easier.
8. Lean from your ankles to walk faster and increase your core workout.
9. A very simple way to increase your fitness is not to stop of the top of a hill but keep walking for twenty paces first – it encourages your body to recover whilst on the move.
10. Think of your toes as being like duck’s webbed feet. They should be splayed wide in your shoes, not scrunched up tightly.
Our instructors will keep reminding you of these points throughout our sessions, but make sure to ask them for some individual attention if you want them to check your technique.
Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations:
walking socks (an important but forgotten factor)