For decades trekking poles have always been popular in Europe, but in the past few years, they are getting more popular worldwide. The reason why more trail runners are using them is that they provide several benefits during climbs and descents. Even more elite runners have actually started to use them recently.
Provides a firm foundation- Using poles delivers muscle strength from the torso and upper extremities to the lower body to provide propulsive energy uphill. The entire body is incorporated into the climb which provides a strong foundation.
Saves the legs- By sharing the workload between the upper and lower body, the poles help decrease the overall energy demand on the legs during the whole run. When runners are not used to using poles, they might feel some soreness in the upper body muscles, biceps, triceps, shoulders. Adding some weekly strength training will make it easier to use trekking poles, as well as doing some regular training with poles.
Improves posture- We often see runners going uphill hunched over with their hands on their knees, that posture doesn’t allow your lungs to fully expand, making breathing more challenging, it also affects the digestive system and causes strain on the lower back. Using poles during climbs helps to keep the torso upright to allow proper running posture.
Balance- Poles can also help on the downhill, especially on steep and technical downhills. By providing an extra point of contact with the ground, your body benefits from feeling more balanced. Make sure that you take your wrists out of the straps to avoid injuries in case you fall.
Clearing obstacles- Trekking poles can also be used to clear some debris or rocks on the course instead of using our feet.
It is very important to buy the right size and length to provide proper torso form, as well as light poles are easier to use especially during long-distance runs.
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