For serious hikers, trekking poles are so useful they are almost mandatory. Hikers use trekking poles to shift some of the weight and shock of the hike from their legs to their arms. The problem with trekking poles is that some hikers simply purchase them without seeking advice on how to properly use them. This results in missing much of the benefit of having the poles. Walking with trekking poles requires well-adjusted poles and proper technique.
Adjust the poles to the proper height. Most poles are telescoping and can be adjusted by untwisting the rotating locking collar, drawing more pole out and twisting the collar back down, but consult your owner’s manual for specific directions. The handle should be set to a point that your arm is bent at a 90-degree angle.
Thread your left hand through the strap of one pole and tighten the strap. The strap should keep the pole from sliding if you release the pole, but not be so tight as to inhibit movement or circulation. Strap on the other pole in the same manner.
Grasp the handle lightly. Squeezing will result in wasted energy and probably blisters.
Extend your left foot and your right pole together so that both make contact with the ground at the same time. Repeat the motion with your right foot and left pole. Continue in this fashion to move forward.
Adjust the height of the trekking pole again whenever you come to a hill. If you leave the pole unadjusted, slopes will prevent you from using the 90-degree angle that is the ideal position. Lengthen the poles for downhill slopes and shorten them for uphill slopes.
Source: USA TODAY