The Nordic walking technique is entirely based on your regular walking pattern, with the added use of specially-designed poles to improve upper body strength.
It’s sometimes confused with activities such as trekking, climbing, or trail walking, because all involve the use of poles. Although, Nordic walking uses an entirely different technique. When used for trekking, poles are mainly for stability and support, whereas Nordic walking poles are a specific health and fitness tool.
With Nordic walking, the poles remain behind the body as an extension of the arms, pointing diagonally backwards at all times. The pole technique is a basic enhancement of the regular arm swings you make when walking normally. They’re then planted behind the body with each stride in order to propel you forward; working the arms, shoulders, back muscles, and upper chest.
Don’t worry if this sounds complicated – when you first take your poles out for a walk, there’s no need to throw yourself in at the deep end. To get a feel for walking with the poles, try simply dragging them behind you with your arms relaxed to start with; even that extra weight will create some resistance, which will exercise your upper body.
When you feel comfortable with this, you can try swinging your arms to get used to the motion; but remember to always keep the poles pointing diagonally backwards.
Next, have a go at planting the poles into the ground with each stride; opposite arm to opposite leg, as with normal walking. It’s important to take your time and keep practising, in order to get used to the movement and, before you know it, it’ll all come naturally to you.
For a deeper insight into the Nordic walking technique, have a watch of the video below to see the basic movements involved.