Monday, April 19, 2021

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!

© ™

Trekking Pole Troubles: Taking poles apart for Travel and/or cleaning

Our prior post covered the two most common problems people have with poles.  We covered in detail troubleshooting poles (fixing them if they fail to tighten).  The other big problem people seem to have is  trouble taking their poles apart.
Our best advice:  Get over it! 🙂

  • People purchase poles based on their collapsed length.   While this can make sense, it often can mean getting non-optimal poles for your height, weight, goals & issues.  Taking poles apart almost always means they will fit into luggage.
  • Poles MUST be taken apart for cleaning.  Take good care of your poles and they will take care of you – please!
  • Poles MUST be taken apart if they get wet.  This is basic pole care 101.  Go hike in the rain – Yippee!   Ford a stream.  Use poles in the fog.  But, when your poles get wet, the inside of the shaft gets wet and just drying them off on the outside isn’t enough.  The pole shaft can corrode.  The fix is simple!  Take your poles apart and let them dry apart over night.  Voila!  Clean, dry, usuable poles.

I have a deep connection with my poles.  They’re 9 years old, they’re PERFECT and they’re my buddies!    I use them, I abuse them, AND I keep them clean and dry.  A good pair of poles often has a lifetime warranty and good poles (that fit your body, issues and goals) should last you a lifetime of hiking and exploring!

Happy Trails!

Trekking Pole Troubles: How to fix poles that don’t tighten

The 2 most common problems people have with their poles are:

  1. “I’m unable (or afraid) to take my poles apart.”
  2. “My poles won’t tighten.”

This post deals with #2.

There are different kinds of mechanisms that hold the poles together and tight.    ALL are a SIMPLE FIX if you know how.  Many poles come with instructions.  Please learn how BEFORE you head out on your hike 🙂

LEKI SpeedLock: Turn the round, clear dial with your finger or a dime to tighten.

LEKI Twist Style Poles: 2 types – single expander and double expander.  Both can fail if you over-loosen the poles.  If that happens, the section will twist and not tighten.  Easy (but different) fixes:

  • Single (Standard) expander (usually orange):  push the section that won’t tighten all the way in.   Push and twist at the same time – many times – until the expander “catches.”  Then adjust as usual.
  • Double expander (Super Lock system): A little trickier, but also easy when you know how.  This fix can be done with the poles apart or even where the expander meets the sleeve. The trouble happens if you OVER-LOOSEN the poles. Loosen JUST ENOUGH to move sections easily, then tighten. If you over-loosen then the expander will lock and it will not tighten. If you do not loosen just enough, the poles will not move freely. This takes a little practice and finesse, but ultimately it’s worth it because the soft anti-shock is SWEET.

Black Diamond FlickLock: Use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten just enough to hold, but not so tight it’s difficult to use.  Since all our adjusting on the trail is in the middle section, tighten the bottom tighter for your BASELINE length.   Finesse so that  the middle (adjusting) section is tight enough to hold on steep downhill, but loose enough to easily adjust.    Note:  when closing the FlickLock,  make sure it’s completely closed.   People often leave it just a little open.  This mechanism is either open or closed.  Not completely closed is OPEN.

Bottom Line: Before you leave the store with your new poles, learn TWO things:

  • How to take apart and put your poles together.
  • How to troubleshoot your poles (how to fix them if they fail to tighten).

Everything else you need to know is on the video.  We also show good technique and etiquette for taking poles apart and putting them together on the video.

More info on poles.

Addendum:  Here’s a YouTube post that shows fixing the LEKI expander.

My comment on this post: Nicely done! Failure to tighten is a problem!

It’s the Orange “rocket” that’s the culprit. When people over-LOOSEN the poles, the rocket gets STUCK on the bottom of the screw. What you’re doing by capturing the blue expander at the sleeve is affixing the blue so you can move the orange piece up the screw just a bit to release it. Knowing this is ESSENTIAL.

Please PRACTICE this! When it’s EASY, it’s right. Don’t force it.

Nordic Walking Poles vs. Trekking Poles: What’s the Difference?

September 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Gear, Poles for Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking poles and Trekking Poles may look similar, but there are significant differences in design, which allow them to serve different purposes.   Consider the Biking Analogy: Using Trekking Poles is like Mountain Biking and Nordic Walking is like road biking.

General Purpose:  Hiking *
Varied, mountains, hills, etc.

  • Poles are in 3 sections.
  • Baskets are interchangeable and useful for preventing poles from sinking into the ground.
  • Adjusting of poles helps improve performance on varied terrain.
  • Adjustable, locking straps enable user to maintain contact with grips without using causing hand strain.
  • Concave, carbide Flextips are designed for optimal performance on a variety of non-paved surfaces.
  • Rubber tips enable user to walk indoors or on pavement.

Technique: Overall goals – Optimal performance on a variety of terrain:

  • Flat:  Ease of use
  • Uphill:  Increased power and endurance
  • Downhill:  Support for joints, balance and agility

Uphill: Poles are used behind the body in a pushing action, recruiting large muscles in the back as well as muscles in the core.  This increased muscle recruitment increases power and endurance.
Poles are lengthened and used in front of the body in a “checking” action.
*Note:  People with balance challenges often find LEKI trekking poles (especially poles with the Speed-Lock mechanism) extraordinarily beneficial for achieving and maintaining mobility.

General Purpose:  Walking for exercise, health, well-being and fitness
:  Mostly flat or gently rolling hills

  • Light-weight poles come in fixed-length, 2 or 3 sections.
  • Releasable strap system.
  • Specially-designed, removable rubber tips are angled to assist with push-off.


  • Poles are used beside and behind the body in a pushing action.
  • The body’s natural gait pattern – called reciprocal gait – is accentuated when using Nordic Walking poles.
  • The stride lengthens and spinal rotation is key to achieving walking “with attitude.”  This recruits more muscles but actually often lowers perceived exertion because more muscles are being used.
  • Poles are not adjusted as often as trekking poles because terrain is less varied.

Poles for Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking is an amazing activity for cross training, exercise and helps to restore the natural movement of the spine.

This is a video we did as a rehearsal piece for the DVD: POLES for Hiking, Trekking & Walking.   It’s a basic tutorial and you can learn more at AdventureBuddies.


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