Race walking: TECHNIQUE

Race walking is a technically demanding sport. It's more complex than running. Enormous concentration is required to keep the leg stretched until the hip moves forward, and keep one foot in constant contact with the ground. Race walking has specific techniques...which judges watch for at competitions! Newfeel explains the posture and technique you need if you plan to start race walking.


Looking into the distance, with the shoulders dropped to open your rib cage, the torso straight, not leaning too far forward, nor too far back: that's the upper body posture for race walking. 

The arms are bent at a 90° angle and make large movements backwards and forwards. This swinging movement stays close to the body and follows the walker's axis. Hands are relaxed.

As for the lower body, the knee is blocked when the foot hits the ground. Race walking requires one foot to be in constant contact with the ground. To do this, as one foot pushes off, the other foot hits the ground. The foot rolls from the heel to the toes, creating a dynamic movement which increases propulsion

The pelvis is mobile, causing the hips to sway and giving the legs a flowing forward movement. To increase your speed, it is more effective to increase your frequency than to lengthen your stride.



This special technique is what helps walkers go so fast. High-level race walkers can walk faster than many athletes can run. 

The arms play an important role because they both increase the pace and compensate for imbalances. A complete foot roll and placing the pelvis forward on the attacking leg side are also important elements to work on to increase your speed.



It's important to have an effective, flowing technique to avoid injuries. If your hips sway in the wrong manner, it may increase the risk of tendinitis where the muscles join the pelvis. 

Pain is most often felt in the hamstringsLearning the technique at a club with a competent coach is strongly recommended for beginners wishing to get into this sport. 

Once you have learnt the technique, you will be able to start walking on the road, and then start doing trials on the track. If you don't have a club nearby, have someone film you, so you can observe your technique and correct any errors.