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carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
Interesting study about trekking poles use on 06/08/2010 02:46:18 MDT Print View

academics at Northumbria University had been working in an interesting study about use of trekking poles with interesting conclusions:


http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/browse/ne/uninews/hikerspoles

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100602121000.htm

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
RE: Interesting study about trekking poles use on 06/08/2010 03:01:19 MDT Print View

Already discussed two days ago in the Trekking Pole Science thread.

There are so many threads in this site that is difficult to watch all of them :-)

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Interesting study about trekking poles use on 06/08/2010 04:30:26 MDT Print View

It's a bit of a head scratcher for me. It seems obvious that if you are using your upper body strength to assist, then you are not going to do as much damage to leg muscles on a given walk at a given pace.

But then, I was always told that in terms of using exercise to increase strength and fitness; "If it ain't hurtin' it ain't workin'."

So while it may be the case that pole users find it easier and more comfortable to keep up with non-pole users on certain tracks, how much is it going to benefit them?

I guess that if pole users go further and faster in the day and end up hurting as much as the non-pole users, then the poles are proving themselves useful at the same time as the pole-users get fitter and stronger.

I find they get in the way too much and aren't nearly so useful for fast moving once you are off trail and onto the rough stuff. Perhaps that's because years of practice have given me a pretty good sense of balance and strong ankles?

Edited by tallbloke on 06/08/2010 04:43:12 MDT.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n Outmoded Simplicity with grain of truth? on 06/13/2010 09:32:18 MDT Print View

Rog said:
But then, I was always told that in terms of using exercise to increase strength and fitness; "If it ain't hurtin' it ain't workin'."
....
I find they get in the way too much and aren't nearly so useful for fast moving once you are off trail and onto the rough stuff. Perhaps that's because years of practice have given me a pretty good sense of balance and strong ankles?
======= end quotes ==========================

The old "Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n" simplicity has a grain of truth. Muscle building occurs from breakdown (pain) and healing. Fitness doesn't necessarily require bulking muscles. There is some truth to the "Ain't" thing, but some falsity as well.

I suppose that few people recommend trekking poles for vertical rock assaults or even bolder hopping. Tools have a time and place for best use. They seen to refer to their use for trekking.

I can't imagine how a climbing harness would be of any value in backpacking, but they aren't marketed as a backpacking aid. So, I don't pooh-pooh the climbing harnesses or their users.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n Outmoded Simplicity with grain of truth? on 06/13/2010 10:34:08 MDT Print View

Methinks you do want to exercise till "it hurts a bit" -- but we're talking regular exercising -- not loafing on a sofa most months and then hiking 30+ miles up and down.

Prolly a good combo is to exercise regularly -- doing local "work out" hikes without poles -- and then using poles for that long excursion you planned.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n Outmoded Simplicity with grain of truth? on 06/13/2010 17:45:30 MDT Print View

I think everyone should aim to exercise regularly enough that they don't actually get sore when hiking. Save the pain for training days and enjoy a pain free hike. I do not go hiking so that I can "exercise 'til it hurts", so poles are a great tool for me.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n Outmoded Simplicity with grain of truth? on 06/13/2010 18:28:13 MDT Print View

"I think everyone should aim to exercise regularly enough that they don't actually get sore when hiking."

+1 Exercise, including hiking, shouldn't hurt except in the initial conditioning phase for someone who is not fit. After that, fatigue and mild muscle soreness that dissipates overnight should be about the extent of it, unless you've done a real hard one. My 2 cents.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 18:31:29 MDT Print View

I think that the exercise before a hiking trip is good. However, in my experience, I found out the hard way that it isn't enough.

In 2008, my "trainer" at the YMCA gave me an exercise routine that would be good for hiking, she said. It involved a number of things and the big ones were fast walking laps around the gym track with two fast up and down a story flights of stairs for each lap. And 16 laps made a mile.

The other was an elliptical machine being used to simulate hiking with pole motions.

It didn't do the job, even about 3 months of it.

In 2009, I did up to 1 hour on the inclined treadmill (plus other stuff) at maximum inclination (15) and I included wearing a 21 pound backpack load (1 pound backpack and 20 pounds metal weights).

This helped quite a bit, but I became aware that there were lots more leg and body muscles used on the rocky and uneven hilly trail than the smooth unbumpy treadmill.

The thing that hit me was the best conditioning for hiking is probably hiking. It actually exercises the real muscles that your hiking trip will need to use.

I live in the flats of the Midwest, and preparing for mountains to hike with just a few small hills doesn't really seem possible. However, hiking the valley slopes of the Mississippi river valley would be better than nothing.

The exercise in the gym helps, but the exercise of preliminary local hiking would be even better. Probably kind of boring to go up and down the same 100 to 300 foot hills, but it would be better than nothing at all.

Flat.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 18:41:06 MDT Print View

Try integrating some deadlifts and squats into your routine. Great all-body exercises that help a lot with the leg muscles that assist you up hills and over boulders!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 18:42:13 MDT Print View

As James has found out, the only way to condition yourself for hills is to walk on hills. As far as I know, not many gyms have equipment to simulate walking DOWN hill, which is where a lot of leg trauma is generated when hiking. So if you're a flat lander, you probably will always suffer some down hill DOMS no matter how "fit' you are. I discovered this on a gym social trip (not hard!!!) where the fittest of the gym instructors where in serious trouble by the need of a steep downhill!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 19:03:15 MDT Print View

> walking DOWN hill, which is where a lot of leg trauma is generated when hiking.

Lynn has it here.

Cheers

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 19:07:21 MDT Print View

Lynn is soooo right. I have been on many hikes in the mountains, and I have seen guys much stronger than me as well as in better shape than me and I just wiz right on by. Backpacking is such a different animal and just normal conditioning sometimes does not work. It does help though......

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 19:41:30 MDT Print View

I suppose that the simple lesson is that a gym "trainer" who doesn't backpack and/or seriously hike is probably not gonna do much to really help get you ready for backpacking.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 20:08:16 MDT Print View

I work in a nine story building that has stairwells that rise 30 metres in elevation. I train on them...10 'laps' gives me a good 300 metre workout before breakfast. Works the cardio vascular, and uphill and down hill muscles well, but there's no tricky terrain to practice on. Certainly better than any training I can get in a gym.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
"Ain't Hurt'n, Ain't Work'n" on 06/13/2010 21:22:00 MDT Print View

"Little evidence exists at a microscopic, cellular level that muscle cell injury is required to generate muscle strengthening or hypertrophy." Printed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 21:25:16 MDT Print View

"As far as I know, not many gyms have equipment to simulate walking DOWN hill, which is where a lot of leg trauma is generated when hiking."

Spot on, Lynn. Gym equipment invariably operates with a repetitive motion thru a predictable range. Trails or off trail terrain are infinitely varied and bring all muscles into play at infinitely varied angles and ranges of motion.
The only way to truly train for this is to do it. You can build strength and cardio capacity in a gym, but that's just the prerequisites for the real thing.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/13/2010 21:27:59 MDT Print View

"Certainly better than any training I can get in a gym."

Have you ever used a Step Mill? It's the stairs without the stair well "lung burn".

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Ain't Hurt'n on 06/14/2010 14:01:28 MDT Print View

One other thing you can do in the gym is eccentric squats, lunges and leg press. You should aim to do this with a weight that is heavier than you could normally lift. For instance, using a smith machine for squats and lunges, place the bar just at shoulder height and load it up really heavy. SLOWLY, ever so slowly, lower the weight to a preset lower stop. Leave the bar at the lower stop, step out from the bar and unload the weights, returning the bar to the upper position and replacing the weights. Repeat. This eccentric motion is the same type of muscle recruitment you get walking down hill.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
ain't hurting on 06/14/2010 15:16:50 MDT Print View

Another vote of support for Lynn's thoughts. I have a feeling Lynn may have professional knowledge of what she's talking about.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Weight training on 06/16/2010 14:31:57 MDT Print View

I found that when i first start weight training (lifting weights) I am sore the next day. After awhile I can work to failure (can no longer lift the weight) without any soreness at all the next day. I would expect that if I did the same type training on my legs, and could cover all the muscles and range of motion, I would experience the same thing.

Not that I take my own advice, I walk to train for walking. ;^)