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How To Use Trekking Poles + 6 Tips 🚀

Did you know that you should adjust your trekking pole height depending on whether you are ascending or descending?

*Raises hand* This was me 9 years ago!

I used to believe that trekking poles were an unnecessary accessory, but the truth is, I wasn't using them properly.

Perhaps you're facing the same issue, not fully benefiting from your poles. Today, I'd love to change that by explaining how trekking poles can significantly enhance your trekking ability + share six expert tips for using trekking poles while ascending or descending to maximise their effectiveness!

Let the trekking pole revolution begin 🚀

mountaineering training plan

Here are the three reasons WHY trekking poles are a NECESSARY accessory:

1. Enhanced Stability: Trekking poles provide an additional point of contact with the ground, distributing your weight and reducing strain on your legs. This increased stability is particularly helpful when you’re navigating uneven or slippery surfaces.

2. Improved Balance: When you’re fighting up steep ascents or descents, maintaining balance becomes crucial. Think of your trekking poles like an extension of your arms, helping you maintain equilibrium and preventing any sudden falls.

3. Reduced Impact on Joints: As you descend, the impact on your knees and joints increases thanks to a little thing called gravity. Trekking poles absorb some of that impact by transferring the load to your arms and upper body thus saving your lower body from some of that repeated impact.

Tips for Ascending Steep Slopes:

  1. Adjust the length of your trekking poles to suit the incline - Shorter poles are ideal for steep uphill climbs as they provide better control and leverage.

  2. When ascending, place your poles slightly ahead of you and push down firmly into the ground. This action propels you forward, helping you gain momentum and reducing the effort level on your leg muscles.

  3. To optimise stability during uphill climbs, distribute your weight between your legs and the poles. This means, leaning slightly forward so that your core engages and allows you to use your upper body strength effectively.

Tips for Descending Steep Slopes:

  1. Lengthen your trekking poles slightly for downhill sections. This adjustment allows you to reach the ground with your poles at an appropriate angle and provides better stability.

  2. On steep descents, use your trekking poles as brakes to control your speed and maintain balance. Place your poles slightly behind you and lean back gently, allowing the poles to absorb some of the impact. Take smaller steps and focus on maintaining control and stability rather than rushing downhill.

  3. When traversing on a sidehill, adjust the length of your poles so they reach the higher side of the slope. This positioning provides added support and stability, stopping you from slipping downhill.

If you’ve been using your trekking poles at the same length regardless whether you’ve been ascending or descending then these 6 tips are going to be a game changer!

By mastering the techniques mentioned above and adjusting your poles according to the terrain, you can massively improve your safety, performance, and enjoy the journey, both ascending and descending) to the fullest.

Knowing how to properly use trekking poles is fantastic, but if you find yourself lacking in endurance and strength, being an absolute pro with poles might not take you far enough or high enough to utilise them effectively.

If this sounds like you, let's have a chat.

I specialise in 1:1 high-altitude training programs, drawing from the principles in my book and my extensive 9 years of experience in trekking and climbing across diverse regions from Argentina to Nepal. My training programs are science-based, offering a step-by-step approach that will undoubtedly prepare you for your next high-altitude trek/expedition if you commit to following the weekly plan I create for you.

With the right training plan and coach in your corner, achieving your goals can be that simple. Book your call today, and I'll guide you through what it feels like to reach the summit when you're in peak condition.

I look forward to connecting with you!

mountaineering training coach

P.S. As a Sport Scientist deeply passionate about helping individuals like you, achieve remarkable fitness and strength for their high-altitude pursuits, I'm here to provide expert guidance throughout the journey.

No more guesswork – you can have a dedicated partner invested in YOUR success.

Book your call today, and let's embark on this transformative journey together!



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