Use poles for trail running and hiking

This text is for everyone who is interested in the correct technique with poles (including hikers and runners, ... )

Trail running with sticks or rather without? Anyone who has ever dealt with trail running has certainly asked this question at some point. We have summarized everything you need to know about the right technique here for you. There are also many tips for practical use and criteria that a good trail running pole should meet.

Why trail running with poles?

Improved balance and stability

sticks are included climbs very helpful. You can sort of push up . Your leg muscles don't have to use all their strength. Also at descent or steep sloping terrain trail running poles prove to be extremely valuable.

They help you with both that balance better to hold than that too to improve stability . They also help you downhill easier slow down to be able to Therefore, when running downhill - with the correct use of trail running poles - the knee joints can be spared.

Trail running poles improve your training effect

With the use of sticks you also train your back, arm and shoulder muscles.

You have a better load distribution

Trail running puts particular strain on your calf and thigh muscles. If you use trekking poles, they can burden also in the upper body and arms redistributed will.

Better performance and endurance

As already mentioned, the load from the legs is redistributed to several muscle groups (arms and upper body) and yours persistence will thus extended . At the same time you can build up more speed when running uphill and it will be easier tempo to hold over a longer period of time.

Can be used in all ways

Trail running poles are not just for technically demanding terrain. They also prove to be useful helpers on easier trails. obstacles can be overcome more easily and you have one extra support on slippery, muddy or wet surfaces. Whether on forest roads, meadows or forest floor - with trekking poles you are well equipped for your trail run.

What stick technique is there in trail running?

First, we would like to give you a brief overview of the different techniques and explain how they work:

  • double deck
  • Staggered double deck
  • diagonal step
  • Limited diagonal step
  • parallel to the slope
  • Downhill with sticks
  • Mixed technique

double deck

With this technique you can steep terrain easier to conquer. This stick technique is ideal even on loose ground.

How it works:

Both sticks are placed in front of the body on the ground. Your arms should be stretched out just far enough in front that you can still good lifting effect can achieve. Now you can “ pull yourself up” on the sticks.

If you are already used to using sticks, you can try to look ahead (foresight is required), so you can move even faster and more efficiently.

The staggered double deck

This is the most versatile technique, ideal for different conditions when running uphill. The staggered double pole technique is ideal for trail runners who want a medium tempo to run. For longer sustained climbs, the lead side is alternated every 10 to 15 cycles.

How it works:

You start with a relaxed, long step. the right stick tip puts simultaneously with the right foot up on the floor. After that you do two steps without stick . The left stick is used next.

the left tip of the stick touches the ground at the same time as the left foot . In order to save energy, the stick is only carried out at every second step.

Sounds complicated, but it isn't at all. Summarized again:

    1. Step: right foot + right stick
    2. Step: left foot
    3. Step: right foot
    4. Step: left foot + left stick
    5. Step: right foot
    6. Step: left foot
    7. repeat steps

The diagonal step

This technique originally comes from cross-country skiing. With this technique, the energy consumption higher than the staggered double stick, however, the diagonal step is at high speed more efficient. You can increase your speed over short distances.

How it works:

In the diagonal step, the left stick tip simultaneously with that right foot on the ground. The trail running floor so always will simultaneously with the opposite Foot put on.

  1. Step: right foot + left stick
  2. Step: left foot + right stick
  3. Step: right foot + left stick
  4. Step: left foot + right stick
  5. repeat steps

The limited diagonal step

This technique is ideal for a very high speed over a short distance build up. The "limiting" refers to the limited distance over which this technique is applied. So this concept is only used at brief steep passages just like Short-distance races (e.g. Vertical Kilometers) applied.

This technique is extreme stressful and the power consumption is extraordinarily high. In trail running, the limited diagonal stride is only at solid underground recommended. This power and energy-sapping technique is less suitable for long trails.

The difference to the "simple" diagonal step is the basic speed. The running speed is significantly higher with the limiting diagonal step than with the "simple diagonal step".

Basically the same as the "simple diagonal step" only with higher running speed:

    1. Step: right foot + left stick
    2. Step: left foot + right stick
    3. Step: right foot + left stick
    4. Step: left foot + right stick
    5. repeat steps

parallel to the slope

We don't know a specific term for this technique, but we still want to explain how it's done. After all, it certainly happens that your trail across the slope runs.

How it works:

The hand that is on the slope side is taken out of the wrist strap and the stick a little further grabbed below . the downhill Depending on the slope, you can leave the pointing hand in the wrist strap and hold it as usual.

At very steep slopes , for safety reasons (risk of falling) it is better to use the hand strap Not to use. Here, depending on the steepness, you can hold the pole by the handle as usual or possibly hold it from above.

Downhill with sticks

If it goes uphill first, it will go downhill again at the latest on the way back. Going down definitely takes more sensitivity . It's high caution required and above all exercise and a good one self-assessment are in demand here. Depending on the surface, weather conditions, steepness and experience, the pace can be adjusted accordingly.

How it works:

First they have to hands out the wrist strap taken (danger of falling). The sticks are gripped from above and simultaneously on the ground scheduled . Best first test whether the sticks are well in the ground stand . After that you can yours weight forward or on the sticks relocate and at the same time take a step forward.

Mixed Techniques

Depending on type of soil and the existing one landform you can use different techniques. The more often you use the techniques, the faster you will find out which concept turns out to be particularly effective on which terrain. exercise make the master!

Application in practice - tips

Running with trail running poles is a must trained will. In the beginning, your pulse will probably move up faster and increase muscles be claimed. So you can't avoid a sore muscle. Have you remembered using poles for trail running? used to, you can definitely wear it, especially over longer distances save power .

You should always carry the poles while running relaxed keep. See that your arms align with your natural running rhythm move. So don't clench your sticks tightly and just do it swing along easily to let.

The use of sticks should always be included careful be chosen because they cannot only have a positive effect on the mileage. That's how it is with very low gradient use the sticks less effectively, since they are more likely to slow down to act as a support. The use of poles should always be chosen in such a way that it never reduces your mileage.

to beginning of the movement should the musculature of the upper body yet relaxed stay. Only against End of the movement is the mission of the upper body muscles. The biggest effort is used, so to speak, only at the “ final push ”. So about hip height.

hand straps

The use of hand straps contributes to more efficient power transmission at. In addition prevented the strap that the hand and wrist muscles quickly tire .

Adjust trekking poles hand strap

  1. Insert your hand (including your thumb) into the wrist strap from below. The band should now be on the outside of your wrist.
  2. Now grasp the handle of your stick with your thumb and forefinger (part of the wrist strap is automatically included)
  3. The thumb and forefinger should be placed over the first notch on the handle.
  4. Now you can put the remaining fingers around the handle.
  5. You can now individually adjust the correct length to your hand size (by pulling on one side of the band)

—> CAUTION : When going downhill on steep terrain, it is better to take your hand out of the strap. This way you can better support yourself with your hands in the event of a fall.

What am I doing wrong?

  1. The tabs cut . The hand straps attached to the poles should never be cut off. Once these are off, you can no longer turn on new ones.
  2. the loop too far or to the end point undress . If you pull too hard at the end point, it could happen that the tab unthreads. Normally, no hand is so big that the strap has to be enlarged to the end point.
  3. The hand from above pass through the loop. At least you won't lose the sticks with this technique. But you haven't exhausted the optimal load capacity either.
  4. The wrist strap not used . Here, all the stress is on the wrist alone. The purpose of the cane is to relieve the spine and legs somewhat. So it wouldn't make sense to put such a strain on your wrists in return.

The right stick length

Here you will find a table with the calculated values

(150 cm – 190 cm height)

What to do with the sticks when you don't need them?

For some trails or passages you need not all the time your sticks. Sometimes it's also much safer if you hands free have, for example, in the event of a possible risk of falling. For this reason, it doesn't make much sense to keep the sticks in your hand all the time. Therefore, trail running with poles requires the correct technique or suitable equipment to stow sticks to be able to

Running backpack/ trail running backpack

So that you don't have to hold the sticks in your hands all the time, there are various options. A very practical piece of equipment is the trail running backpack . It helps you free your hands and is the perfect companion for longer trail runs .

They are available in many different sizes, shapes and colors. It is important to note that it has a compartment for your trekking poles . The sticks should be easy and relatively quick to stow away . Which variant suits you best is a matter of taste.

Some prefer to attach the sticks in front , others prefer to store them in the back . You have to try it out and see what suits you best.

running belt

Another option is a running belt . Here you have the option to either bring your sticks in front or to attach at the back . Depending on the design, you can choose between different materials and closure options.

TIP : We would make a running belt out of continuous Recommend stretch material , as these are the most comfortable and kind to the skin . Models with zippers can often cause chafing on the skin. This can quickly become very uncomfortable.

We hope we can help you with this Guide could help! We wish you a lot of fun with your next one trail run and the right one stick use !

Your Atacama team!

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