Exerstriding: Walking With Fitness Walking Poles

Exerstrider OS2 Trekking Poles
Exerstrider OS2 Trekking Poles. Exerstrider

Walking with two walking poles using a cross-country ski technique can improve your walking workout. Dr. John Porcari, a professor of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse published his findings in the January/February, 1999 issue of the American College of Sports Medicine's ( ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal.

Benefits of Walking with Poles

  • Increase heart rate without increasing walking speed.

  • Increase calories burned by 20-25% (Porcari's study).

  • Decrease forces in the feet by up to 26% during walking (Porcari's study) as they absorb some of the shock.

  • Reduce strain on ankles, knees, and hips

  • 50% of your body's muscles are in the upper body and are not exercised with walking or jogging. Using the poles tones and conditions your upper body.

  • Walkers found them to be a pleasant addition to their walking routine.

  • Walking poles are a deterrent to attack (bad guys look for folks without sticks or dogs).

  • Social benefits - everybody just has to come up and start conversations like, "Expecting snow?"

Why Not Just Racewalk?

Walkers can increase their calorie expenditure without equipment by adding vigorous arm movements or adopting the racewalk technique. However, some walkers find this style hard to adopt or cannot get up to the speed that will increase their workout. For them, the walking poles will provide the same benefits at their usual walking pace.

If you generally walk with friends, adding poles to your workout rather than leaving your friends in the dust allows you to maintain your walking partner relationships.

Exerstrider Fitness Walking Poles

Exerstrider has a small variety of poles. They differ from nordic walking poles in that they don't have a demiglove to keep the pole in your hand.

Instead, they have a contoured ergonomic grip and may have a strap for retention. You can't use them for true nordic walking technique, but can use them with other fitness pole and trekking pole technique.

  • Exerstrider OS2 Fitness Trekker Poles: Adjustable length allows you to share them with friends from 4'2" to 6'2", and they collapse to 31 inches for storage. The ERGO/SC ergonomic strapless grips are very comfortable. Cushiongrip walking tips for pavement cover carbide steel tips for trail.
  • Exerstrider TR3 Traveler 25-Inch Poles: These 3-piece poles retract to 25 inches for ease of packing when traveling. They have the great grips and tips as on the OS2 poles.
  • Top Picks for Walking Poles: See other brands and styles of walking poles.

Exerstriding Instructional Book and Video

Each set of poles comes with an instruction manual and video that is also a great workout guide. Besides some suggested weekly workout schedules, Tom Rutlin also describes target heart rate, calorie burning by activity, stretching, variations such as ExerSkipping, healthy diet tips and clothing and shoe tips.

The full videos are also available online at Exerstrider.org or via YouTube.
Video Review

Exerstriding Technique

The Exerstriding technique is illustrated by the video that comes with the Exerstrider poles. It differs from the nordic walking pole technique in several ways. In nordic walking, the poles are always diagonally behind the body, and pressure is only felt at the end of each arm movement. With the exerstriding technique, the pole is planted at the beginning of the arm stroke and pressure applied through more of the stroke.

Next: Exerstriding Compared with Nordic Walking Technique


Tschentscher M, Niederseer D, Niebauer J. "Health benefits of Nordic walking: a systematic review." Am J Prev Med. 2013 Jan;44(1):76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.043.

Porcari JP, Hendrickson TL, Walter PR, Terry L, Walsko G. "The physiological responses to walking with and without Power Poles on treadmill exercise. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1997 Jun;68(2):161-6.

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