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  1. #1
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    Default Technique when using poles

    Just wanted to see what everyone else's thoughts were.

    I Nordic walk with my poles, which means I forcefully shove them down next to my body in an alternating fashion, and push off, and I do this every step.

    I went on a small section hike a couple of weeks ago, and I saw lots of through hikers with trekking poles, and many of them were doing a motion where the push both poles forward, lower them to barely contact the ground at the same time, and then lift and repeat...another technique I saw was just randomly sticking one pole out at a time in front of the body, again no pushing off, just letting the pole fall and touch, then lift back up.

    Am I the one doing it the wrong way? I know there probably isn't a right or wrong way, but if the point is to use them to save your legs, I would think just letting them semi-dangle is not the right answer.

    I am not trying to be critical, I am just curious...after all, it is HYOH out on the trail.
    Last edited by Namtrag; 05-14-2015 at 12:33. Reason: paid dues! now I can edit again!

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    deleted my corrections now that I can edit again.
    Last edited by Namtrag; 05-14-2015 at 12:33.

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    another unnecessary correction now that I can edit.
    Last edited by Namtrag; 05-14-2015 at 12:34.

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    Sometimes I do what you saw those other hikers doing, using the poles more to keep a rhythm going than as an actual assist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocket Jones View Post
    Sometimes I do what you saw those other hikers doing, using the poles more to keep a rhythm going than as an actual assist.
    That makes sense...now that you explain that it's a rhythm thing, I can see why some people do it.

  6. #6
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    I generally use that nordic method as well with my pacerpoles. (Pacerpoles.com, they make poles with fantastic ergonomic grips!) On the flats or uphills I plant the pole tips behind my feet to gain traction/speed with my upper body, on descents I plant them ahead of my feet to aid in braking/descending. I find them quite useful this way.

    cheers,
    Glogg

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    On flats, my poles go to where they are needed. It is more instinctive. In general, they are doing the opposite of what the corresponding leg is doing. On ups, they go a tad more behind me and continue to do the opposite of what the corresponding leg does. On downs, the pole lands in front and as near to the corresponding foot as practical, just before the foot does. This is to reduce the impact on my knees. Pain is a great motivator for me to do it correctly. There are adjustments that are made on the fly depending on terrain. There comes a point where the dangle on my wrists by the straps if the up is too steep. If the down is too steep, they are repeatedly toss ahead of me. Once in a while they are stowed. Maine is a great training ground.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
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    I tend to use them "right" when I'm trying to power up a moderate hill or save my knees on a steep downgrade, or I'm on snowshoes.

    When I'm using them for stability (stream crossings, rocky and rooty spots, wet spots, slippery bog bridging, ice, ...), I kind of plant them at random where it looks as if there's a good spot.

    I hardly ever double-pole unless I'm going 'Humfff!' up a big step. I'm enough of a city slob that I go 'Humfff!' more than most hikers.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  9. #9
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    I use poles the exact same as Another Kevin in that they are planted firmly in the ground,(Nordic style) to assist in powering uphill. Their primary purpose on downhills is for sure footedness, which has one pole planted ahead of the other. Stream crossings ,wet rocks and such, both poles are used together for stability.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glogg View Post
    I generally use that nordic method as well with my pacerpoles. (Pacerpoles.com, they make poles with fantastic ergonomic grips!) On the flats or uphills I plant the pole tips behind my feet to gain traction/speed with my upper body, on descents I plant them ahead of my feet to aid in braking/descending. I find them quite useful this way.

    cheers,
    Glogg
    this..........
    Biggie

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    going downhill Im reaching out in front of me
    going uphill , they are planted close to me and may be pushed off of beside me to propel me upwards and forward
    on flat level ground, who cares, its mostly just rhythm.

    That said, there is a method called Gas, Brake, coast.

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    Sounds like most of you are very similar to me in technique. So maybe I just saw a bad sample on my shirt trip!

  13. #13
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    I'm also with Kevin. How they are used varies with slope and terrain.

    On fast fairly smooth flat trail I have noticed that I and a lot of others use them at 1/2 the rate of footsteps. Meaning that for each plant of the pole one takes two steps. This is very good as it keeps the poles in contact with the ground for twice as long ans that helps hugely with preventing falls and twisted ankles. Many do this and I think it is related to the typical pattern one sees swimmers using where their legs beat at 2 or 3 times the rate that the arms do. In swimming this is largely a person specific pattern and changing it is hard. I am a double beat swimmer and my wife is a triple (she is faster!).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    I'm also with Kevin. How they are used varies with slope and terrain.

    On fast fairly smooth flat trail I have noticed that I and a lot of others use them at 1/2 the rate of footsteps. Meaning that for each plant of the pole one takes two steps. This is very good as it keeps the poles in contact with the ground for twice as long ans that helps hugely with preventing falls and twisted ankles.
    I've notice the same thing of myself as well.



    In general, I would think where the poles are depends on why you are using them. If it is stability (and the the terrain you are on calls for that) then having the pole tips behind isn't doing much for you. Now if it is to add speed / power, then behind you makes a lot of sense.

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    Up hill I am pushing, down hill I am braking and on a level trail the poles are there for clearing obstacles or a bit of security on slippery surfaces. Heck I might even have them both in one hand not touching the ground at all. So yes, you are doing it wrong. Do it just like me or suffer my derisive stare as I hike past you on the trail.

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    I'm a backcountry skier and when I take poles on a hiking trip (not always) I use them in propulsion mode. But sometimes they get in the way and I carry them in one hand or in the pack (like while rock climbing in southern ME). I do notice lots of people using them the "wrong" way, too--straps on wrong, adjusted way too short, and the poles are just along for the ride, one more thing to carry. But maybe they want them only for balance and who am I to say? So I say nothing.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Namtrag View Post
    That makes sense...now that you explain that it's a rhythm thing, I can see why some people do it.
    It's a Ford Tempo thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    It's a Ford Tempo thing.
    Up here it is Dodge Rambler Scrambler.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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