Basic Nordic Walking Technique
While Nordic walking is an effective workout, it’s not as simple as picking up a pair of walking sticks and heading out—you'll need to learn a different movement altogether. Here are some technique guidelines:
Buying Nordic Poles
Loop the pole straps over your hands, drop your hands back and start walking without thinking about the poles yet. Concentrate on relaxed walking and keep your shoulders low and loose. Allow your arms to swing freely back and forth.
Walk with the poles held low and let them swing along with the arms without trying to use them. Lengthen your stride so and begin with the heel first, then roll onto the sole of the foot and finish with a thrust from the ball of the foot.
Now concentrate on using the poles. Once you have gotten into a rhythm, try to use the arms more and more. The goal is to get the pole thrust to travel behind the line of the pelvis.
Keep the Nordic poles close to the body. Your pelvis should be lifted high and your overall posture taut and slightly forward-leaning. Opposite arms and legs swing alternately forwards and back.
For a visual of Nordic walking technique, check out the short YouTube video, Nordic Walking: An Introduction.
You can buy Nordic poles online or in retail sporting goods stores at prices starting around $100 a pair. Exel, one of the original creators of Nordic walking, remains the top source for carbon composite poles. The types of Nordic poles are virtually endless, with options related to weight (light or heavy), materials (aluminum or carbon fiber), length (some are adjustable or fixed, while others are telescoping for easier packing), wrist straps and their release mechanisms, grips (many are ergonomically designed to reduce hand and wrist fatigue), tips (rubber for paved walkways and spikes for trails), and more.