Monday, November 20, 2017

Trekking Poles Tip: How to turn up your POWER

HIKERS:  Try snugging up your straps. Yes, it’s that simple.  If you use the straps correctly and your body optimally, the poles are an extension of your arms.   It’s easier to feel the PUSH of the poles on flat and uphill if you’re using them in a pushing action.  This sounds simplistic, but try tightening your straps the next time you want to really MOVE and see how it feels.

This extra POWER  presumes you’re using poles optimally and also using gloves.  We like simple bike gloves – no Velcro and finger pockets for easy removal.  They can significantly improve your performance,  reduce hand strain and protect your hands on the trail.

Notice the distinction we make between correctly and optimally.  This is very important and deliberate.  EveryBODY is different and it’s important to LISTEN to your body.  Make accommodation where and when you need to.

  • Optimal use of poles means you’re getting the most benefit for your body based on your goals.  Your goals usually depend on your issues and the terrain.
  • Correct use means you know the basics.  For example, how many times have you seen people hiking with their travel tips on or hauling themselves uphill?  Or using straps in a way that facilitates what we call “The Death Grip?”

The list of non-optimal things we see on the trail goes on and on. I like to focus on good form and I enjoy when people want to learn and understand that, by learning, they get better exercise, improve their performance and their enjoyment of the outdoors.

Trekking Poles: Travel Tips

June 20, 2011 by  
Filed under DVD Updates, Gear, Pole Tips, Poles, Travel

Question from the Facebook PoleWalking page:

“In mid-October I am going to northern Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago and would like to get information on air travel with poles and any other info about this walk and the weather you may have.”  Margy S.

I’ll address the travel with poles question and hope fellow AdventureBuddy  Lee Sandstead might address the other questions as I believe he’s there right now.

POLES in carry on: Good Question.  Far be it for me to predict what current airline policies are.

Carrying your poles onto the plane:  Another quagmire.  If you look like you NEED them, then maybe.  But only if you have your rubber tips on.

POLES in checked baggage: Absolutely!

  • Make sure you know how to easily take apart and put together your poles  (you might not believe the number of people who have trouble with this).
  • Take them apart for travel if they do not easily fit into your luggage.
  • Secure expanders if they are the removable kind.
  • Put a rubber band around all sections
  • Put all sections in a pillow case.  Lose one section and you’re sunk (yes, this happened to a buddy in a remote section of China, yikes!).
  • Rubber tips are considered an accessory.  I consider them an essential part of your poles.  Use them instead of travel tips.
  • Make sure your rubber tips are securely affixed.  We like LEKI tips for the models of poles that we recommend.

As I like to convey in my Yoga classes – enjoy the journey as well as the destination.  Happy Travels!

Pole Walking: Walking with Attitude, Walking YOUNG

As we age, we can lose or reduce spine function.   Using poles for walking and hiking enables us to use our upper body muscles to help preserve our joints.   Spine function can be restored. This is done because, when we walk with poles, we appear to walk as we did when younger – with attitude.   We are using muscles which support AND lengthen the spine.   Walking with attitude – with purpose – is the natural walking pattern.   It’s called reciprocal gait. It’s the diagonal pattern of opposite arm and leg.   When this occurs, the spine is able to ROTATE. This spinal rotation feels good, looks good and is very healthy.

Walking with poles recruits core muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, lower trapezius and oblique muscles.   These core muscles, when used, strengthen.   When optimal posture and form are used, the spine lengthens.    Gravity acts,  the spine compresses, we get shorter.   Using poles actually can reverse this process – the spine lengthens and elongates.

All of this assumes a natural arm swing. The arm swing is part of the spinal rotation and muscle recruitment. Learning optimal use of poles is key to achieving these benefits.   Beware fads or techniques that involve elbow pumping.   Repetitive movement of a joint can cause stress.   Repetitive movement especially of an elbow joint can cause tendonitis.   Anything that does not look natural or like walking “with attitude” needs to be approached with caution.

  • As you walk, think of walking with purpose or focus.
  • Think of a lovely sachet or of strutting.
  • One lady said, “Oh you want me to walk Sassy!.”  YES!
  • Whatever works for you, know that you cannot rotate too much.
  • It only looks like you’re walking YOUNG.

Regain the vibrancy of youthful walking – learn to walk optimally with poles and Enjoy the Outdoors!

 

 

As we age, we can lose or reduce spine function.  Using poles for walking and hiking enables us to use our upper body muscles to help preserve our joints.  Spine function can be restored.  This is done because, when we walk with poles, we appear to walk as we did when younger – with attitude. We are using muscles which support AND lengthen the spine.  Walking with attitude – with purpose –  is the natural walking pattern.  It’s called reciprocal gait.  It’s the diagonal pattern of opposite arm and leg.  When this occurs, the spine is able to ROTATE.  This spinal rotation feels good, looks good and is very healthy.

Walking with poles recruits the latissimus dorsi and oblique muscles.  These core muscles, when used, strengthen.  When optimal posture and form are used, the spine lengthens.  Gravity causes people to get shorter – the spine compresses.  Using poles actually can reverse this process – the spine lengthens.

All of this assumes a natural arm swing.  The arm swing is part of the spinal rotation and muscle recruitment.   Learning optimal use is critical to achieve these benefits.  Beware fads or techniques that involve elbow pumping.  Repetitive movement of a joint can cause stress.   Repetitive movement especially of an elbow joint can cause tendonitis.  Anything that does not look natural or like walking “with attitude” needs to be approached with caution.

As we age, we can lose or reduce spine function. Using poles for walking and hiking enables us to use our upper body muscles to help preserve our joints. Spine function can be restored. This is done because, when we walk with poles, we appear to walk as we did when younger – with attitude. We are using muscles which support AND lengthen the spine. Walking with attitude – with purpose – is the natural walking pattern. It’s called reciprocal gait. It’s the diagonal pattern of opposite arm and leg. When this occurs, the spine is able to ROTATE. This spinal rotation feels good, looks good and is very healthy.

 

 

 

Walking with poles recruits the latissimus dorsi and oblique muscles. These core muscles, when used, strengthen. When optimal posture and form are used, the spine lengthens. Gravity causes people to get shorter – the spine compresses. Using poles actually can reverse this process – the spine lengthens.

 

 

 

All of this assumes a natural arm swing. The arm swing is part of the spinal rotation and muscle recruitment. Learning optimal use is critical to achieve these benefits. Beware fads or techniques that involve elbow pumping. Repetitive movement of a joint can cause stress. Repetitive movement especially of an elbow joint can cause tendonitis. Anything that does not look natural or like walking “with attitude” needs to be approached with caution.

 

 

New Facebook Page for people who love to walk and hike with poles

I just created a new Facebook Page for people to use as a FORUM for asking questions, discussing how poles enhance their outdoor experiences and help them achieve their goals.

Please check it out and click the LIKE button to enjoy:  FaceBook Page for Pole Walkers

Save your Knees: Hiking Tip for Steep Terrain

Watch where you step!  How many times have you heard this?  When hiking, optimal foot placement can save a tweaked or strained ankle and it can significantly improve your performance.  

This post is about a technique we teach on the trail (OTT) called the Side-Wide.  It’s especially useful for steep steps or obstacles.

When you step straight up or straight down, 2.5 to 3.5 times your body weight can go right into the knee joint, yikes!  We all know that when our feet are slightly apart as opposed to close together, we’re better balanced. Widen your stance and feel the difference.     The Side-Wide, when consciously practiced, becomes automatic.  Give yourself a little “Side-Wide” cue to reinforce muscle memory.

First, the side step

Then step wide

Stepping to the side, whether up or down, helps balance and prevents knee stress.  Stepping wide after the first step to the side feels natural as you distribute your weight into a wide stance.  It’s instinctive to shift your weight to the other foot after stepping to the side.  Notice how your body weight shifts.

Big steps can cause imbalance & knee stress

Side-Wide: First step is less steep than straight up

Then Step Wide completing the big up step or obstacle

The steeper the terrain, the smaller your step. This simple strategy is important for many reasons including your safety on the trail as well as for protecting your knees.    Practice the Side-Wide on both up and down stairs and obstacles in the trail.  See where optimal foot placement can feel more secure and easier on your knees.  For practice, pick one somewhat challenging step.  Do this technique over and over until you create body muscle memory.   Focus on the weight shift and the lack of energy going into the knee joints.

Proper planning prevents particularly poor performance. Learn this simple technique so that it becomes automatic.   Let your poles help you as you practice on terrain that feels slightly challenging.   Before you know it, you’ll gain confidence and speed.

Save your Knees: Benefits of using poles for hiking and walking

With OPTIMAL USE, you can achieve ALL these BENEFITS of using Poles for Hiking, Walking, Exercise, Balance & Mobility!

Win-Win-Win ~ Be in nature, connecting with your friends and family while getting a great workout using your whole body.

Improve Power, Balance, Control & Confidence ~ Confidence is the #1 benefit for many pole users.  It cannot be taught, but it is felt almost immediately and empowers people of all ages.

Preserve Joints ~ Reduce stress on knees, ankles, hips, and spine.  Optimal use helps to prevent strain on joints in the hands, arms and shoulders.

Fat Burning & Weight Loss ~ Experience faster, easier and more efficient calorie burning and energy use with poles because more muscles are recruited in less time.

Focus ~ Using poles reminds us that we’re getting great exercise.  The constant feedback we receive enables more consistent spinal rotation, power and attention to our bodies.

Improve Gait ~ Walking with 2 poles facilitates a more even, fluid and reciprocal gait.   People preparing for or recovering from joint resurfacing or replacement can help “unweight” a joint.

Increase Endurance ~ Spread the work of the muscles over your entire body to experience more energy and greater endurance for your hike or walk.

Improve Posture & Cardio-Pulmonary Function ~ Walking with poles “self corrects” posture allowing your lungs to reach greater capacity.  This benefits cardio-pulmonary function and helps to increase endurance.

Weight-Bearing Exercise – Build Core Strength ~ Weight-bearing exercise is recommended for prevention and management of osteoporosis.    Using poles while walking is a time-efficient way to get weight-bearing exercise.

Compliance ~ “Sporty” poles can be more empowering than a cane.

Lymphedema ~ Movement of hands & arms may facilitate reduction of swelling in hands during exercise.

Reduce Risk of Falling & Injury ~ Poles provide bi-lateral stability.

Equalize ~ Family and friends of uneven abilities can walk together – poles can give you an “edge” and help you keep up with your buddies.

Enjoy the Outdoors, Feel the Power ~ Venture onto uneven terrain with confidence and have more fun while hiking or walking!.

Achieve, Regain & Maintain Mobility ~ “ARMM” yourself with a vital skill for LIFE!

Restore & Maintain Spine Function ~ Walk with attitude and vitality.  Look and feel YOUNGER!

©AdventureBuddies.net ™

FAQ: What kind of POLES should I buy?

November 24, 2010 by  
Filed under DVD Updates, Gear, Poles, Poles for Hiking

Learning about gear is an important aspect in mastering the skills necessary to achieve the many benefits of using poles.  Because models and features of poles change regularly, our hiking DVD does not address specific types of poles.
Our website endeavors to stay abreast of current models of poles.  We update the website as models and features change. The Pole Buyer’s Guide page on the site includes a comparison of pole features.  We discuss different grip materials, grip size, long foam grips, grip shape, straps, anti-shock features, baskets, rubber tips and more.

Our approach is simple.  We focus exclusively on top quality gear (yes, you get what you pay for) and let the user determine what feels best.  Like trying on shoes, we often put one pole in one hand and another model in the other hand, and let the user decide.  This instant feedback enables the user to feel, and us to see, how they perform.

To determine which poles best suit an individual, we look at 3 things, a person’s:  Structure, Issue & Goals

  • Structure deals with hand size, height, weight, etc.
  • Issues might include balance problems, arthritis in the hand, shoulder trouble, neck pain, etc.
  • Goals include whether a person wants to hike or walk or exercise as well as preferred terrain.

Every person is different. Determining which poles best suit a person can make a huge difference in the quality of the experience and how many benefits a person can achieve.  For people who have seen either DVD, we have a Pole Purchase Consultation Form.  You can fill it out (completely please) and we’ll call or email you to discuss what poles might best suit your body, your issues and your goals.

We hike with LEKI poles that are about 12 years old.  They have a lifetime warranty.    We take good care of them and they take good care of us!

Neutral Posture: Important for balance

October 7, 2010 by  
Filed under DVD Updates, Fitness & Health

What is neutral posture?

Standing tall, imagine a straight line going from your ear to shoulder to hip to ankle.

Here’s a definition from Wikipedia.

What is DORSAL GLIDE and how does it help us achieve Neutral Posture?

October 7, 2010 by  
Filed under DVD Updates, Fitness & Health

Dorsal glide enables us to lengthen the back of the neck – the cervical spine.

Sitting or standing tall, gently tuck the chin while at the same time imagining that a single hair is pulling your head upwards.  Feel the back of your neck lengthening.

Anytime you’re supine (flat on your back), gently tuck your chin and feel your head moving away from your body.  Lengthening your cervical spine (your neck) gives the gift of space to the vertebrae in your neck and helps you maintain your height.

It also helps bring you into a more neutral posture.  We tend to walk around with our heads down or our chins jutted out.  This constricts our cervical spine and can cause neck pain.

A gentle and effective dorsal glide is like giving our neck traction by using our muscles and intent.  You can do this as an exercise by holding a dorsal glide while you take 2 or 3 relaxed breaths.

Why optimal pole length improves performance on the trail

I recently saw a video on YouTube about how to set pole length.  It was beautifully presented.  But it was filled with information, presented as fact that is so contrary to everything we teach that I need to clarify what we teach and why.  There is NO CORRECT POLE LENGTH.  There’s only optimal length.

Our techniques are designed to help you use poles efficiently so that you can achieve the many benefits.   Nonoptimal technique can cause strain in your hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, shoulders – even your neck. Learn how to avoid the “Death Grip.”  The thumb joint is fragile.  Reducing knee stress at the expense of a strained or damaged thumb joint is completely counterproductive.

Optimal pole length gives HIKERS 3 major benefits:

  1. On flat terrain, you get great exercise OR achieve ease of use
  2. On uphill, you improve endurance, posture and power
  3. On downhill, you’ll be at the optimal length to preserve your knees and improve your performance.

Optimal pole length gives people with mobility challenges benefits as well, which include:

  1. Enhanced mobility
  2. Optimal Posture

The traditional teaching on pole length is pervasive and consistent.  Everyone will tell you the same thing (as if every user was exactly the same) – set your poles at a 90 degree bend in the elbow.  Our training is completely, yet subtly different.  Every pole user is different; every person is different.  Walk around on flat terrain with your poles set at 90 degrees.  Then try our method, feel the difference, and decide what feels better for the joints of your hands, wrists, elbows and SHOULDERS.

Next post:  How to set starting (Baseline) pole length.

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