Pole Quick Start Guide
A handy Quick Start Guide to get the most out of your poles. Covering set up, height adjustment and a practical beginner exercise.
These exercises specifically target the muscle groups used when running with poles. Download the handy print out below. Thanks to Peak Studios PT for this programme.
Step 1 - Extend & Set Height
Take poles out of their case, hold them up by the handle so the lower connecting sections are loose.
At the end of the handle section, pull the silver ring downwards to extend the section and connect with the other two sections until you hear a distinctive ‘click’.
A silver button will pop out under the flip lock (see image).
Open the flip lock to adjust the height
Pull the pole to the length (in cm) (see image) estimated for you on the pole size chart.
NOTE - Don’t pull beyond the stop line or the handle section will become separated from the rest. You can slide it easily back on again, but you don’t want to risk dropping a section of pole if you’re doing this on the move.
Flip the lock back into place. You can adjust the tension on the flip lock with the clear screw on the other side of it.
Step 2 - Correct strap position
Important - power comes from your wrist in the strap which also activates your core. Incorrect strap position and gripping handles tightly can cause discomfort and tiredness in your forearms.
Put your hand up through the strap from underneath so the fleece sits on the back of your hand / wrist.
Lightly wrap your hand around the handle. The straps should be in between your palm and the handle.
Step 3 - Choose The Right Tip For The Surface
Carbide spike - trails and uneven terrain
Rubber tip - tarmac and road
Mud basket - very wet and muddy
Step 4 - Basic Walking Technique
Pole planting is when your pole tip touches the floor.
Plant at a 45 degree angle so the propulsion carries you forwards - if you plant in front or straight down you waste energy into the ground
Don't bear walk - where your arm and leg swing forward on the same side
Maintain good posture - no slouching!
Practice by trying the drag method first, then build up. See the Quick Start Video above which shows a demo.
Step 5 - Basic Hill Technique
On uphills you may want to shorten your pole slightly to take into account the raised gradient ahead of you.
Or for very steep climbs you can take your hand out of the strap and use the extended handle.
Single or Double Pole Plant
Single pole plant is the same as the basic technique above.
Double pole plant is great for steeper hills. This is where you plant both poles at the same time to propel yourself efficiently up the slope.
Going downhill on tricky. On technical ground you may wish to put your poles away, but if the path is smooth and wide enough you can gain even more momentum from a single pole plant every few steps.
You can even double pole plant to jump up, down or over rocks, and over puddles.
Double pole plant jumps with a run up are also fun to do when the path is clear to really get some momentum going!
3 Top Tips for Poles
1. Invest in a lesson with a qualified instructor
2. Walk before you can run, master the correct technique first
3. Train with poles, don’t just get them out on race day