Monday, September 25, 2017

Trekking Poles expand your Hiking Horizons, Utah Part 3

Bob is 65.   He works hard so ends up being a weekend warrior which puts him at increased risk for injury. On our Thanksgiving trip to Utah, we hiked 6 days in a row.   We would not have even considered doing this without our poles.

People are always asking – POLES? Why????  They seem surprised when we answer – Poles feel good – it’s great whole body exercise.  They get us places we want to go,  for instance,  Part 3 of our journey:

I remember the lady in sandals who had driven to the top of Mt. Tam’s East Peak asking me, as I had just climbed to the top of the mountain,  if my poles were canes.  Can you imagine?

Let’s talk about improving power on the up hill.   Hauling yourself up with small muscles in your shoulders is not only inefficient, it’s also potentially harmful to your shoulder joint.  Why NOT use big muscles in your back – the ones that support and elongate your spine?  (uh, the ones that keep you tall and reverse the aging process).

Notice the angle of the poles.  Click on any picture to enlarge and click back button to return to post.   Notice how Bob’s arms are relatively straight.  The latissimus dorsi muscles are attached to the humerus.  Elbow pumping does not engage the lats only the whole arm movement does.  This also engages your obliques.  Imagine someone walking behind you squirting WD-40 into your spine as you walk.  That’s what optimal technique feels like 🙂

What about down?  Do you have knees?  Photo #1 above – Remember, if you flick the poles out in front of you on the down, they’ll support your lower body joints and engage rectus abdominus, pecs and biceps.   The steeper the hill, the smaller the steps.   Photo # 3 above – If I had $300 to casually spend, this vase would be in my new living room.  We found it at the visitor center of Grand Staircase Escalante.

Photo #1 above, Bob using plant push technique – power at 8,000′ on the 6th day of hiking…thank you VERY much  🙂

Photo #2 above is me in front of Calf Creek Falls – a lovely and easy 6 mile hike (in and out) at Grand Staircase Escalante on the way to Bryce.  Driving from Moab to Bryce is one of the most stunning road trips if you go via Torrey.   Make sure to stop in at the Red Desert Candy Company in Torrey and get some of their Red Desert Jellies and Truffles as well as a cup of chai or a latte for the road.  You’re hiking – what better time to splurge?

Photo #3 is a really great example of the swing assist for making time on downhill.  Join us on a practice hike to learn/practice this wonderful technique.

Photo #4 is from the Nature Center at Zion.  We took the scenic route back towards Vegas from Bryce through Zion – another amazing road experience.

So, will learning optimal use of poles really make a difference? YES!

Enjoy the outdoors, enjoy your poles 🙂

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