HOW TO NORDIC WALK:
2. Leg & Arm Harmony: (let go of the poles completely and let them drag along behind body) Start walking & get into your normal gait. Then let your arms start swinging from the shoulder in normal harmony with the legs, but focus on “pushing an imaginary dog who is coming up from behind, back and away from your butt”.
1. Set up Posture: point nose at horizon, “puff out” chest, (sometimes suck in belly button).
3. Connecting: Position the palms of your hands at a 45′ angle from the pole handle (do not hang onto the poles!) At the front of each swing let the heel of your hand drop down onto the strap to create some pressure. Keep this downward pressure on the strap as arm continues to swing, and until you push the dog back behind you. When you let the heel of you hand create pressure with the strap, the boot grips itself to the ground. The total result of arm and hand movement is that you feel like you are propelling yourself forward.
Every time you start to Nordic walk, go through these three steps to make them stronger, and automatic.
GET A FEEL for the muscles you are using by standing with your back against a wall, and arms straight, handing down by your side. Then gently start pushing back against the wall with your hands and hold this “isometric” position for about 10 seconds. Do you feel those arm, back, and core muscles engage?
Only when you swing your arm BEHIND the body, will you strengthen these upper body muscles (90% of the body’s muscles); that’s the goal.
You can pre-strengthen these muscles by doing the isometric exercise every day, and then learning to Nordic walk correctly (pushing the dog at the back) will become easier.
THIS IS A NEW SKILL, AND LIKE ANY NEW LEARNING YOU NEED TO PRACTICE to get it working smoothly and efficiently. Be patient. Become a model example of how to do it right! Your friend can video you as you walk along just like my friend did for me in the above video. Then you can get a good look at how you are progressing. This is a simple skill, but mastering the details really matters.
WHEN YOU DO IT RIGHT, IT WILL FEEL HARMONIOUS, CONNECTED, POWERFUL… you will look forward to doing it.
HOW MUCH PRESSURE? You don’t need much pressure! I often say it is like pushing baby bunnies behind you. It is still a huge workout! In 10 minutes each arm pushes back about 500 times. Yes, that adds up, and your triceps, shoulders, back, and core muscles will let you know they had to wake up and work! When you feel tired, stop. Inch by inch the benefits will accrue! Aim to Nordic Walk three times a week, that’s when internal and external improvements really start adding up. Nordic walk more if you feel like it, but honor rest days! Science says that 3 x 30 minutes is when benefits start accruing, and after 50-70 minutes of Nordic walking, the benefits start declining. More and more, is not better!
BEST HELP FOR YOU? Get your friend to video you as you walk along just like my friend did for me in the above video. Then you can get a good look at what you are doing, and more easily make required corrections.
Linda says…..Really, if your upper arm is swinging behind your side midline on each swing, and you have figured out how to keep the boot tip stuck to the ground from the front to the back of the swing by pressing down on the strap, you’ve got it! You will feel the “connection” and the propulsion forward…an exciting feeling to which you will soon happily get addicted. This is when all the health benefits really start to add up!
CRITERIA FOR EXCELLENT TECHNIQUE
1. Elbow/upper arm swings behind “side mid-line” on every swing.
2. Heel/palm/web of hand presses down on strap from front to back.
3. It doesn’t matter if your arms are straight like mine, or if you feel more comfortable with your arms bent a bit. The important parts are that your elbow/upperarm swings from the front to the back, and the heel/palm/web of your hand presses down on the strap from the front to the back. (Note: you may gently stabilize handle by squeezing the base of the thumb and the first finger lightly together on the handle at the position when the heel of the hand is pushing down on the strap. All finger MUST STAY OFF HANDLE, so that the handle can pivot between thumb and first finger, allowing the boot tip to stay on the ground all the way to the back of swing.)
4. The rubber tip will spontaneously springs into air consistently at end of arm swing and replant itself (as a consequence of swinging arm all the way to the back with sufficient power).
NOTE: One lesson from an experienced expert like me goes a long way to helping you create the most effective, injury-free style, quickly. Linda4success@shaw.ca