Below is the proper form and technique for nordic walking/urban poling.
This special technique was carefully designed to most effectively exercise 90 %
of the body’s major muscles, developing and improving postural muscles and
targeting core muscles simply by gently pressing down on the base of the pole
Step 1: Grasp the poles lightly Begin by holding the pole grips
loosely in your hands with your arms hanging completely relaxed at your sides.
The tips of the poles should rest on the ground behind you. You do not ever need
to maintain a tight grip on the poles.
Step 2: Let the poles drag With your arms at your side and
dragging the poles behind you. Simply begin to walk, feel your arms naturally
swing slightly in front and then behind your body with each stride. You won't
need anyone to tell you when you've gotten to a normal walking stride. You'll
recognize it—you've been doing it for years. Then simply begin to extend your
arms a little further forward with each stride until you have begun to extend
them into the handshake position with each stride.
Step 3: Shake hands When one walks, the arms move in front of
the body as they swing forward, and behind the body as they swing backward. When
you learn this technique , the arms will move farther in front of the body. The
arm is raised into what I call the "handshake position". The arm is extended as
though you are offering it for a friendly, confident handshake. Do not lock the
elbow so that the arm is completely straight. There should be a slight,
comfortable bend in the arm at the elbow. (This "handshake position" is the
first key to maximizing the benefits of our technique) Once you are able to
simply walk and extend your arm into the handshake position with each stride,
you will feel the tip of the pole land and create a resistance to the rearward
swing of the arm.
As the arms swing forward like a pendulum into the handshake position, the tips will
automatically land in the "right" place and the pole will contact the ground at
the "correct" (not 90 degree!) angle. Remember that the arm is actually a lever
that transfers the major work of the pole to the large muscles of the trunk. The
arm should keep a fixed shape with just a slight bend in the elbow and should
move while pivoting from the shoulder. - like an old fashioned water pump.
Step 4: Push off As in cross-country skiing, the arms and legs
should move with a smooth, rhythmic cadence. Your stride should be just like
your normal, relaxed walking stride. As you push with your upper body to help
you move forward, there is often a tendency to lengthen the stride, so pay
special attention to maintaining a normal stride length. Attempt to make your
entire motion as fluid as possible. With proper arm action, the large muscles in
the trunk will do most of the work.
Work on planting the poles very lightly. No force should be applied to the poles
until after the instant the tip has contacted the ground. Work on developing
your timing! A firm push initiated at the instant the tip contacts the ground
will maximize safety and results, and actually increase the life of the rubber
tips.Applying force to the poles before the tips land will only invite injury
and result in excessive wearing of the tips.
Grip the poles very lightly. Exercise intensity has nothing to do with how
tightly you grip the poles. Always strive to maintain a light, relaxed grip on
the poles. You do not have to control the movement of the poles, the angle of
their landing or the location of the tip at landing. If you simply move your
arms properly these things will happen automatically. Gripping the poles tightly
will only result in creating tension and fatigue in the hands and forearms. The
muscles in the hands and arms will naturally contract somewhat as you work to
apply force on the back swinging motion of the arms, but keep the grip as
relaxed as possible at all times.