How to go up or downhill in Nordic walking

Add uphill and downhill stretches to your Nordic walking session and you will reap the rewards. It will give more pleasure and variety to your walks, but will also tone your body more intensely. Here are some Nordic walking techniques for ascending and descending without difficulty, or risk of injury!

Depending on the positive or negative differences in level, using your Nordic walking poles is different to using them on level ground. The physical effort of walking uphill is much greater, so the right movements must be mastered in order to ensure that you do not strain your joints. Walking downhill, Nordic walking poles no longer help to propel you forwards but help to slow you down and stop you from falling!

The correct way to walk uphill in Nordic walking

You will feel the muscles in your arms working much harder when walking uphill! Pushing the poles with your arms, which complements and aids the work done by your legs, is essential if you want the poles to help you to go upwards.

To push yourself upwards, it is recommended to push the poles into the ground close to your heels.. This makes it easier to transfer the maximum weight onto the poles to aid your ascension!

Acting also as stabilisers, correctly using the poles when walking uphill allows you to continue the full unrolling of the foot, from your heel to the propulsion forwards using your big toe.


  • Remember : if the hill is very steep to climb, 3 points of contact are better than 2! It is also possible to push both poles into the ground at the same time to propel yourself upwards to combine the force of your two arms, thus helping you to ascend easier.


The correct way to go downhill in Nordic walking

When you are going downhill in Nordic walking, take smaller steps so that you do not descend too quickly and therefore limit your risk of falling. If you walk with large strides, your momentum will propel you forwards more quickly and your joints will also be much more under pressure than with smaller steps.

When going downhill, poles play a role of braking rather than propulsion. To use them correctly downhill and avoid going too fast, it is recommended to lean slightly backwards, keeping the back straight, so that you are leaning your weight on the poles.

Going downhill, the more weight you transfer to the poles, the better it will be for your joints. The steeper the descent, the more you will have to bend your knees, imagining that you are adopting a sitting down position to lower your centre of gravity.


  • Good to know : if the descent is too steep, it is possible to plant both poles into the ground simultaneously, as in for an ascent. But this time, the poles will be oriented forwards, to act as a brake and prevent you from a nasty fall!

Now you know more about the techniques of Nordic walking for ascending or descending an incline. Whether the incline is slight or steep, don't forget that including this technique into your session is the best way to accentuate the muscular and cardio-vascular work while you are Nordic walking. So simply grab your poles and try out these techniques!


Using Nordic walking poles properly allows you to master the most fundamental Nordic walking technique: moving the poles to better propel yourself on to new walking sensations.

comment choisir batons marche nordique newfeel

Nordic walking is dynamic walking that is practised using 2 special poles. Using poles means that you can exaggerate the arms' natural movement to propel the body forward. Thanks to this propulsion from the poles, Nordic walking is thus faster and works out the whole body.