Have you noticed your back slouching and your shoulders slumping?
Do you say to yourself…bad posture!
Unfortunately, this is a consequence of modern living.
Think about it… how many daily tasks like vacuuming the floor,
carrying groceries, bathing the dog…..do you do in front of your body?
How long do you sit slouched over your work or hobby?
Now think of all the activities you do where you are routinely using your arms behind your body. Any….?
WHY STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK MUSCLES?
- Better posture
- Less body pain
- More balance
- Better appearance
NORDIC WALKING IS A GOOD EXERCISE because it asks you to swing your arms behind your body which strengthens all the back muscles…and core.
However, learning to Nordic walk is like the chicken and egg conundrum.
When you swing your arms behind your body, your back muscles get strong. But you need strong back muscles to swing your arms behind your body.
We can break that cycle by strengthening the back muscles
using rubber band exercises.
Then learning the technique of Nordic walking will be easy.
And Nordic walking with correct technique will give you great posture!
Beginners find it hard to “push the strap” smoothly all the way from the front to the back of the swing, with enough strength to say “I mean business”, only because their back muscles are weak.
But when they can do it the boot tip automatically responds by gracefully jumping itself into the air and replanting. This is the signature of good Nordic technique.
All it takes is strong back muscles.
Note: life in general works much better with fewer aches and pains
when you have strong back muscles.
I’ve made a video demonstrating four exercises you can do anytime at home to strengthen your back muscles.
These exercises that I am demonstrating use a 5 foot “rubber exercise band”. Many of you have one of these bands around the house somewhere.
Dig it out and follow my video.
A MODEL OF GOOD NORDIC STYLE POLE WALKING TECHNIQUE
Nina’s story: Nina came to Victoria the winter of 2016 and took a LEARN lesson with me. Even though she could not speak English, she was intent on learning how to Nordic pole walk correctly. Apparently in Russia, for women over 45 years old, their are no resources, and they just fade away. Not Nina. She is teaching her buddies back in Russia to pole walk; they go out pole walking every day.
HELPFUL EXERCISES WHEN LEARNING TO NORDIC POLE WALK
- PURPOSE OF THESE EXERCISES
2. STRETCHING CHEST & FRONT SHOULDERS
3. WRIST ROLLERS
4. RELAXING ARM SWING
5. STRENGTHENING BACK ARM SWING
6. REPOSITIONING ARM SWING (triangle)
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF POLE WALKING STYLE
NOTE: I am showing you this video, NOT TO TEACH YOU HOW TO POLE WALK, but to illustrate how most of these pole walkers are swinging their arm FROM THE SHOULDER JOINT. This is the characteristic skill of NORDIC STYLE POLE WALKING that ensures all 90% of muscles in the body are used. Most people want to bend at the elbow which is not Nordic Style pole walking.
I would call this “Classic European Nordic Style” pole walking. It is derived from cross country ski poling technique.
THE #1 THING TO NOTICE IS THAT THEIR UPPER ARM IS SWINGING!!!!
Notice how they grasp the handle for a powerful push, release the handle, and continue the push on the strap, extending lower arm and hand all the way to the back. Try this technique if you like, or use the easier, I think, method to simply ‘PUSH THE STRAP ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK” (to a point behind the butt).
THIS VIDEO IS A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF UPPER ARM SWING!!! Look how powerfully most of these people’s upper arms are swinging! Only one or two are swinging just from the elbow. THESE ARE VERY FIT PEOPLE. MOST OF THEM ….AND YOU…..WILL NOT START OUT LOOKING LIKE THIS GROUP!
RUBBER TIP WEAR
Many of you have been complaining that your rubber boot tips are wearing our fast. There are two reasons for this to happen. First, the hot weather makes the boots wear out faster. Second, your technique makes the boots wear out faster.
Let’s try to fix this accelerated boot wear…
WALKING SURFACE: change up your routine and explore some soft surfaces like dirt, chip trails, hard sand of a low tide beach like Willows Beach. On these surfaces you take off your rubber boot tips and use the point end only. (BTW, google tide tables for Willows Beach Victoria BC to find out when the tide will be out!)
TECHNIQUE: When we teach you to pole walk we ask you to drag the poles to make it easier to learn at the beginning. At the end of the 3-Week Tech course you have built up enough technique, have the basics engrained, and your fitness is building. Your reward for all your work is that the pole tip will automatically lift off at the back and gracefully swing forward all on its own. Just before you start the next push back the tip seems to bump and then plant or drag a very short distance, and then plant.
If you are a beginner the pole tip is dragging the whole way. If you are a intermediate walker, the pole tip drags just before it plants. It is these two cases where the rubber is wearing.
For the beginner I would encourage you to keep walking and focus on technique especially swinging your arm back with confidence and holding the pressure down on the strap firmly and continuously.
It is critical that you learn to swing your upper arm behind your side seam, because this is where you build up your back posture muscles and gradually your fitness improves, you go faster, and the tip lifts off most of the time.
Whatever happens, keep pole walking!
BTW…your rubber tips ONLY wear out if you are outside using the poles!