The top 5 errors made by beginner Nordic walkers: how to avoid them

Are you planning to start Nordic walking, or perhaps just starting out? To help you to learn the right way to do it, we will give you some valuable tips for Nordic walking so that you can make fast progress. At the end of this article, you'll be able to simply grab your Nordic walking poles and walk!


1 - Choosing Nordic walking poles that are too long or too short

In Nordic walking, the size of the poles is crucial - get it wrong, and you won't be able to perform the movement properly. Making sure you have the right size of poles means you'll not only be able to propel yourself forwards, thus working the active muscles efficiently, but also complete the movement by fully extending your arm backwards.

If your poles are too long, you will have difficulty propelling yourself. If they are too short, the movement will not be ample enough.

2 - Swinging your arms in sync with your legs

During your Nordic walking sessions, you should aim to walk as naturally as possible : the foot which is on the ground should be opposing the hand which is pushing the pole into the ground. The poles simply accentuate the movement of your arms. When you're new to Nordic walking, one of the most common errors is to focus on the poles so much you end up "inversing" your walking cadence, ie. swinging the left arm out with the left foot and the right with the right.

To correct this, simply stop, and start walking again letting your poles drag along behind you, hanging from the wrist straps. When you feel ready, grasp the poles again and start to drive them into the ground in step with your natural stride.

3 - Driving the poles into the ground in front or behind your steps

For an efficient movement, drive the Nordic walking poles into the ground the right place: mid-way between your two feet. This not only gives the poles the right angle to be able to propel you forwards, thus working your muscles correctly, but also ensures that you complete the full movement.

If they are driven in too far in front of you, it will be difficult to push against the poles and will strain your joints until you injure yourself, and conversely if you drive your poles in too far back, you will not be able to push to the maximum on your poles and effectively tone your upper body.

4 - Never letting go of your Nordic walking poles

If you want to maximise your Nordic walking sessions to tone yourself up and work your cardio, your movements must be as full as possible: keep a firm hold of the poles as you drive them into the ground, but let them go when your arm comes level with your hips so as to fully stretch your arm out behind you.

If you keep hold of your pole the whole time, you'll struggle to reach as far back as possible with your arm.

Don't worry! Nordic walking poles are equipped with wrist straps, which allow you to let go of your poles as you walk, without fear of losing them!

5 - Walking in the wrong shoes

Your feet have specific needs during Nordic walking, so your comfort - and therefore the pleasure you get out of your session - very much depends on your choice of footwear!

For Nordic walking, you will often be walking on slippery and damp ground. That's why you need sports shoes with maximum grip, that are also flexible enough to allow your feet to unroll properly: this is crucial to your comfort.

So forget rigid hiking boots and flimsy trainers, nothing is better than a pair of shoes specifically designed for Nordic walking!

Now, you know all the pitfalls! Now you know all there is to know to start Nordic walking and make fast progress, so grab your poles and get the most out of your next session!