FAQ: Poles for Hiking: Are two poles better than one? Yes!
Using two poles enables you to use your WHOLE BODY while walking or hiking.
Using one pole can give you a little extra stability, but at a cost. No matter how careful you are, using just one side of your body, can create and even reinforce imbalance. When going downhill, placing one pole in front of you and twisting at the same time can create torque in your spine. Going downhill, gravity creates load in your knees. Using one pole can unilaterally relieve some of this pressure, but adds torque to your spine and potential stress in your shoulder and wrist joints.
With optimal technique using two poles, you strengthen upper body muscles and achieve both spinal rotation and elongation – very healthy for your spine.
On downhill, you’ll bilaterally recruit your upper body muscles, including pectoralis, rectus abdominus and biceps. You’ll notice better balance and power. Because you’re using more muscles, you’ll notice you have more endurance BUT will feel LESS exertion – this is SO cool! Poles facilitate better posture which helps backpackers, hikers and people with balance problems. Lots more benefits, way too many to blog.
Comprehensive description of the benefits of using two poles.