Poles are a great ally for trekkers and trail runners, especially on medium and long-distance routes. Firstly, they allow the weight of the body and the load (backpack) to be distributed more adequately. Without the use of poles, the burden of all the weight falls on your legs, whereas by using poles, part of the effort of the quadriceps and calves is transferred to the chest and arms. In this way, the possibility of suffering leg joints injuries is reduced and physical performance is improved.
By using poles, we also exercise our arms and chest, since more muscles are being used. In addition, it is much easier to stay balanced with four limbs rather than two, as long as the poles and feet alternate correctly.
How to choose the right walking poles.
The poles we choose will depend on what we are going to use them for and if we want them to be one length or adjustable.
When choosing trekking poles, we have to consider several factors, such as what we will be using them for. Depending on the length of time we will be hiking for we will choose poles made of heavier or lighter materials. Choosing poles with non-slip grips made of materials which prevent sweat like cork or rubber is recommended. As for the tip, it can be made of several materials, although the best ones are those made of carbide, since they are more resistant than steel and provide greater grip.
Very light poles which are resistant to all types of impacts and terrains are required for trail running. It is for this reason that trail poles are made of very light and at the same time resistant materials, such as carbon and some types of aluminium. They have an ergonomic non-slip grip to improve the athlete’s comfort. Remember that the straps are not recommended to be used for running down steep hills, since if the athlete falls these may hinder their ability to break the fall with their hands and therefore there is a greater risk of breaking your wrist.
Fixed or Adjustable Length (Telescopic)
Telescopic adjustable poles are assembled in 2 or 3 segments so that the athlete can adjust them to the correct size depending on their height. For running on normal terrain and gentle slopes the arms should be at a right angle of 90 degrees. For climbing steeper slopes, the length of the poles must be shortened and for descents it must be lengthened.
Fixed length poles are recommended for the athletes who already know what length is most suitable for them. Although they do not offer the adjustable option of the telescopic system, some models can be folded to take up less space.
Some models feature an Antishock system, which is a shock absorber that dampens vibrations in the poles so that they are not transmitted to the wrists, elbows and shoulders.
Popular Outdoor Walking Poles brands: