Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Tom's Homework (see previous posting re: Injured Tennis Player)

Please read previous posting first:


Here's your homework practice for this week.

1) Walk along a line (slowly) placing your right foot down with your big toe turned inwards. (without poles) – Also focus on placing the heel down (toes up) and rolling through the ball of the foot) – Do this exercise 3 or 4 times a day for 5 minutes each time.

2) Practice the ‘rocking on the spot exercise’ (with poles for support). Remember right foot forward, left foot back. Rock forward onto the ball and toes of your right foot and then rock back onto the heel of your right foot and hold for 10 – 15 seconds so you feel the stretch up the back of the ankle and calf. Practice this 3 or 4 times a day for about 5 minutes each time

3) Up the length of your daily walk to one hour?

[Note: 30 minutes walks with poles is comfortable for Tom and he needs to start getting his aerobic fitness level back]

4) On your walks spend short periods say about 5 minutes at a time focusing on pushing down hard on the poles (remember to work the straps). This will develop your arm and upper body strength. Do this 4 or 5 times during each walk. Don’t forget upright posture / keep your head up / lift your rib cage and engage your abs.

Remember to keep thinking about the rolling foot contact AND keeping your right foot straight.

5) Every day – Practice walking without the poles (like we did across the park at the end of Tuesdays session). Head up / upright posture / a good swing of the arms / Step out - walk reasonable briskly / think about your foot placement

Note: These are guidelines only – You must listen to what your body is telling you – Don’t over do it but don’t under do it either. Any questions please call me.



An Injured Tennis Player's Rehab & David's "Magic" Poles!

For the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of working with an 18 year old tennis player. 'Tom' was ranked number 2 in Great Britain as an under 16 and prior to his injury 4 months ago he was ranked as high as number 250 in the world. Tom fell on court and badly damaged his ankle. He snapped 3 ligaments and damaged his archilles tendon and is on the slow road to recovery following ankle surgery.

Tom is a referral from a Physiotherapist that I have teamed up with recently. When I first met Tom two weeks ago, although he was able to walk it was a struggle. He limped around and when he put his injured right foot down it was noticeably turned out to the side (1st Photo). As he limped the inside of his ankle bone kind of lead the way.

Session 1 (1oth Jan): I worked with Tom for 30 minutes. This was basically just getting him used to using the poles. Nothing fancy - Just 'opposition' right arm / left leg and vice versa and the 'walk and drag' technique. I taught Tom just to hold the handles loosely and apply some downward force as the arm swung down to make the poles stick on the asphalt surface (therefore reducing the stress on his damaged ankle). Within minutes he found that it was easier to walk due to the support the poles gave him. At this stage we didn't focus on foot placement. I just had to remind him not to let the pole tips come forward of the hip but to keep the tips behind the hips (as in a traditional cross country skiing style).

Session 2 (11th Jan): We met for a 40 minute session. Tom had been out practising and he announced that the poles were 'Magic' ! At this stage Tom had only learnt the 'walk and drag'. After a 10 minute loosener walk I asked Tom to slowly walk without poles along a white line (photo 1) - Note how his right foot is pointed out to the side. Next using poles I asked Tom to walk along the line trying to put his foot down straight along the line. Because of the poles he was able to do this (photo 2). Tom was amazed, I must admit so was I! The rest of this session was
spent practising this exercise and working on developing the poling technique in particular 'working the straps although still only 'dragging' the poles. Homework for Tom was more of the same eg 'line walking' plus a daily 30 minute walk with technique practice.

Session 3 (17th January) 40 minute session. Tom had been practising he had noticed a big improvement in his walking ability. The foot was not turned out nearly as bad and when he thought about it he could walk and keep it straight. He had noticed the effects the poling was having on working his arms and upper body. The focus of this session was walking the white line without the poles. Tom managed this well although he wobbled a bit! I also introduced him to the 'Lift and Plant' which after so much practice 'dragging' he found a little strange at first. However, he quickly picked it up. He now referred to the poles as being "Brilliant" - Hey get this, an 18 year old lad telling me that my Nordic walking poles are Magic and Brilliant !!! Home work was to practice walking the white line without poles plus using the 'Lift & Plant' technique ('Pushing down to Hip).

Session 4 (24th January) - Today's adjective was 'Amazing'. My Nordic walking poles according to 18 year old Tom are now "Magic", "Brilliant" and "Amazing"!! It doesn't need me to tell you that Tom had had a good week! Jokingly I said "Are you running with the poles yet Tom"? He caught me off guard with his reply "No but I can now run on the spot". Back during session 1 Tom was in quite alot of pain and discomfort but now - Only two weeks into the program things had improved greatly. The intensity of the pain and discomfort had reduced significantly. There had been a noticeable improvement in Tom's ability to put his damaged foot down straight.

Note: If you check out your own foot placement when you walk you will probably find that your feet turn out a little - Well that's exactly what Tom's feet now did when he didn't think about it. When he did think he could put the foot down straight both with and without poles no problem.

What I did was have Tom walk the white line but this time instead of putting the foot down straight on the line we 'over exagerated' and Tom put his big toe down to the left of the line. This immediately threw him off balance but he soon got the hang of it.

Tom was struggling to achieve a natural rolling action through his damaged foot when he placed it down (although I had seen an improvement). Here is an analysis of correct foot action from the moment of contact to the push off: 1) The heel plants down first (toes up) 2) As you transfer your body weight forward over the arch of the foot there should be a weight bias towards the outside edge of the foot (some people have a bias towards the inside edge of the foot; this is bad as the ankles and knees roll inwards placing adverse strain on the ankle and knee joints) 3) You roll through the ball of the foot. 4) You push off through the toes with the big toe leaving the ground last.

So I introduced Tom to a new exercise - 'Rocking Horse':

Any Aerobic class enthusiasts may recognise this move. Tom placed his damaged right foot forward and his left foot was back. The exercise is simply to rock forward and back on the spot transfering your weight from the back (left) foot to the front (right) foot to the back foot and so on. Tom used his poles to give added stability. The emphasis was on performing the exercise slowly. Each time Tom rocked his weight back over his left foot he stayed still (held) a position with the toes of his right foot lifted, thereby giving him an achilles and calf stretch. He held each stretch for 10 - 15 seconds. Within a space of a few minutes Tom's ability to roll through his foot had improved significantly. A point that particularly impressed Tom.

We also did more work on developing the technique eg 'pushing behind the hip' and 'opening the hand' to release. Tom struggled a bit with this, of course having released the pole you then have to catch it again (many people struggle with this initially).

So we did lots of practice using just one pole; then double poling (this slows things down and gives you more time to eg 'push behind hip' and 'open hand'). Finally we went back to 'opposition'. This practice had resulted in a big improvement in Tom's technique. Finally I got Tom to walk across the park without the poles. This was amazing, he stepped out and if you didn't know he had a damaged ankle, you would have been hard pushed to realise.

I keep having to encourage Tom to keep his head up when he walks. This seems to be a 'cool' thing to do for teenagers (certainly here in the UK), they walk with their head down. It's almost as if they have no confidence. Tom strode confidently across the park, posture up, head up swinging his arms, planting his damaged foot down straight!

...What an amazing transformation in just 14 days that could only have been achieved with the poles. The Physio said to him last week that he will be back on court in about 3 months time? I hope this increadible improvement is going to take Tom forward in leaps and bounds and enable him to be back on court far sooner!

I will list Tom's 'homework' in a seperate posting.

Kind Regards


Sunday, January 22, 2006


Update - Nordic Walking e-Community

Have you checked out our new Nordic Walking eCommunity in Yahoo Group? After only one week we already have about 70 members and about the same number of postings. There have been many really positive postings from people delighted to find this new Worldwide eCommunity of Nordic Walkers.

Register for your FREE membership today at:

I have added a poll re: the Nordic Walking poles you use and I have also uploaded one or two photos. There is also a 'live' text chat room too... So be brave and go inside! Of course there is the Message Board where you can post your messages and ask questions of other members.

You can access all these facilities in the left hand menu of the eCommunity website at:

Cheers for now...



Need a Nordic Walking Partner or Group to Join?

Ok - There's nobody else (to your knowledge) in your area who Nordic Walks and there are certainly no Nordic Walking Groups. What do you do other than Nordic Walk alone?

The answer is simple.... Why do you need another Nordic Walker? Why can't it just be someone who likes to walk? You go for a walk together - they walk without poles and you walk with poles.

Re Groups: Why does it need to be a Nordic Walking group? I am sure most walking groups would welcome a new member. Poles don't come into it! Having said that poles are quite common in walking groups - Abeit usually the single hiking pole variety.

The bottom line is that lots of people enjoy walking and for the time being at least, unless you live in a country where Nordic Walking is already very popular it's going to be alot easier to find another walker, or a walking group than to find another Nordic Walker or Nordic Walking group

The good news is that once other people you walk with see the benefits and advantages that you are experiencing with your poles, they may very well want to join you.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Click to Join Nordic Walking eCommunity

There's a NEW button (Yahoo Groups' button) over in the left hand column! It's to access the NEW Nordic Walking eCommunity that I have set up in Yahoo Groups. The idea is that it will become the place where Nordic Walkers from across the world will stop by and 'text' chat and post messages, make new friends and contacts with fellow Nordic Walkers.

Are you one of the many people who has emailed me asking if I know any other Nordic Walkers in your town or city? Now you can place your own request on your very own eCommunity Notice Board or alternatively why not grab a coffee or a beer and hang around the eCommunity Chat Room.

A word about the 'text' chat room - If you are not used to going into a chat room it can be a little daunting first time - The fear of the unknown and all that... Particularly if you go in and there are only one or two people in there. But please don't worry... Take the plunge it really is fine.

Some people just sit there and say nothing that's fine but it's far better to join in, even if it's to just say "hi everyone" or ask a question...

In order to post a comment all you do is key in what you want to say eg Hi everyone into the message line at the bottom of the chat window and when you are ready click send and your message will appear in the chat window and everyone else in the chat room can now see your message and reply if they wish.

In a day or two I will make another posting to let you know how you can talk FREE via an Internet phone service to anyone in the world with a computer and Internet connection and also how you can have a video link for FREE as well.

In the Nordic Walking eCommunity their will be members 'Polls' and the first one's set up already. It's asking what Nordic Walking Poles you are using. Why not check it out and tick the boxes? You can also upload photos - So if you have any Nordic Walking photos to share - then share them. Get your questions answered by other eCommunity members too. When I have the time I will put up an FAQ's section.

So join the fun and I hope to catch you inside some time soon. For access click the link below. If you already have a Yahoo ID that's fine, if you don't, not a problem it will only take a couple of minutes to sign up for FREE.

Here's the link:

Monday, January 09, 2006


Readers Question Re: Tendonitis and Tennis Elbow

Q) I have a client who is suffering from Tendonitis and Tennis Elbow and she believes this may come from her starting Nordic Walking. Her technique is good. Have you had any complaints from other Nordic Walkers.... Paula

David Says...

A) In answer to the question - No I have had no such reports myself, although these are fairly common injuries associated with exercise and sport in general.


Tendonitis is an inflammation of a muscle tendon. A tendon connects muscle to bone.

The most common cause of tendonitis is overuse. People who are new to exercise can be susceptible to this type of injury, as can those who suddennly increase the level or intensity of their exercise program or overdo the intensity. The tendon is unaccustomed to the new level of demand, and this overuse can cause an inflammation and tendonitis.

So, remember to warm-up and stretch properly, start slowly and increase intensity gradually over the weeks and months ahead. In most cases of tendonitus symptoms tend to develop gradually. Discomfort may be relatively minor at first and worsen if you try to "work through" the pain.

If this is indeed tendonitus then this injury needs to be treated seriously as repeated or continued overstress increases the inflammation.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is an injury to the muscles and tendons on the outside (lateral aspect) of the elbow that results from overuse or repetitive stress

Repetitive use of the wrist may aggravate tennis elbow, so you may need to look at the use of the wrist by your client during the poling action. A good quality pole is important as the least vibration travelling up the forearm the better.

Repetitive flexion and extension of the elbow during the poling action will not help either. If you are not already doing so, consider teaching the straight arm plant (the pump handle technique as Tom Rutlin calls it), keeping the arm almost straight throughout the poling action as discussed elsewhere on this Blog.

As an instuctor I am sure you will have recommended your client to do this already but for the benefit of other readers it is essential that with any kind of injury, however caused you must seek medical advice from an appropriately qualified person, sooner rather than later.

Note: I am not qualified to give medical advice and nothing in this posting should be considered as medical advice. The information included in this posting is generally available on the internet.

Readers are welcome to post their experiences, knowledge or comments concerning this posting by clicking on the comments icon below.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Nordic Walking can reduce neck and shoulder pain

Research: Finnish study (Antitila et al. 1999).

Group: 55 female office workers.

Activity: Nordic Pole Walking using Exel poles, compared with regular walking training (without poles).

The EMG measurement showed that electrical activities of the muscles in the upper body (neck, shoulder, upper back) were significantly higher when walking with poles. Pole walking reduced neck and shoulder symptoms and subjective feeling of pain in the pole walking group. Mobility in the area of the back also increased.

Note: EMG = Electromyography

Electromyography is a test that assesses muscular health and activity and that of the nerves controlling the muscle.


Hey Mister Where's Your Ski's ?

Happy New 'Nordic Walking' Year to all readers of Nordic Walking News and of course to your families and loved ones.

As we begin 2006 I am looking forward to our sport taking giant leaps forward this year. When I hear reports of how huge Nordic Walking already is in countries such as Germany and Finland, on one hand I am frustrated and on the other hand I am excited because when this thing really does hit throughout the rest of the world (which it will) we are in for some exciting times ahead.

The nearest thing I can equate where Nordic Walking is right now, is when I think back over 25 years ago. Occasionally you would see the odd 'crazy' person out jogging in the streets. People use to laugh and call out some amusing (to them) comment.... Sound familiar?

Then everything changed. Here in the UK it happened one dull damp Sunday morning. The date - 29th March 1981, the day of the first London Marathon. Screened live on TV the event captured the imagination of the British public who watched in their millions. For many the abiding memory of that day was the TV pictures of American Dick Beardsley and Norwegian Inge Simonsen, crossing through the winners tape hand in hand. Those pictures inspired the jogging boom that followed.

Jogging was now cool and soon people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels (many of whom had no doubt previously laughed or smiled as the lonely jogger had passed them in the street), were pounding the streets of Britain.

A few months later I saw a small advert in a newspaper. Two local men who had run in that first London Marathon had started a new road running club and they were looking for members. I joined and immediately started to train for the 1982 London Marathon. I successfully completed my first marathon in 3 hrs 20 mins 59 secs.

If what is happening now eg in Germany and Finland is repeated around the world which I'm sure it will, I don't think it will be long before the boot is on the other foot and the person who is now shouting...

Hey Mister where's your ski's?

... Will be joining us with their poles in hand.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?