Muscular and metabolic costs of uphill backpacking: are hiking poles beneficial?

  title={Muscular and metabolic costs of uphill backpacking: are hiking poles beneficial?},
  author={Christopher A. Knight and Graham E. Caldwell},
  journal={Medicine and science in sports and exercise},
  volume={32 12},
PURPOSE The purpose of the present study was to compare pole and no-pole conditions during uphill backpacking, which was simulated on an inclined treadmill with a moderately heavy (22.4 kg, 30% body mass) backpack. METHODS Physiological measurements of oxygen consumption, heart rate, and RPE were taken during 1 h of backpacking in each condition, along with joint kinematic and electromyographic comparisons from data collected during a third test session. RESULTS The results showed that… 

Exertion during uphill, level and downhill walking with and without hiking poles.

The results suggest that the use of the hiking poles had a significant influence on the respiratory and energetic responses only during downhill walking, and supplementary studies in the field are needed in order to confirm the original results obtained in downhill.

Effects of hiking pole inertia on energy and muscular costs during uphill walking.

Using poles and changing frequency have important effects on muscle recruitment, whereas the effects of mass were limited when considering poles available on the market.

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Exploring Muscle Activation during Nordic Walking: A Comparison between Conventional and Uphill Walking

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The Effects of Hiking Pole Use on Physiological Variables and Rate of Perceived Exertion While Hiking Uphill

The results indicate that the use of hiking poles during uphill hiking increases the energy cost of hiking without increasing the perceived exertion in novice pole users.


The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of a non-secure loading style as compared to a secure loading style of a backpack.

The Effects of Hiking Poles and Steady Walking Time on Up-hill Walking

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Findings of this study clearly show the advantage of a counterbalance system for carrying the loads in students and mountain climbers by reducing muscle activity which is a considerable kinematic and ergonomic benefit of carrying load in such backpacks.

Trekking poles reduce exercise-induced muscle injury during mountain walking.

Trekking poles reduce RPE on mountain ascents, reduce indices of muscle damage, assist in maintaining muscle function in the days after a mountain trek, and reduce the potential for subsequent injury.



Physiological and perceptual responses to load-carrying in female subjects using internal and external frame backpacks.

It was concluded that differences in backpack frame design were not great enough to produce significant differences in the energy cost or perception of carrying a moderately heavy load on the back.

Energy cost of backpacking in heavy boots.

It is concluded that the relation between boot weight and oxygen cost, previously developed for unloaded walking an...

The physiological responses to walking with and without Power Poles on treadmill exercise.

It is concluded that the use of Power Poles can increase the intensity of walking at a given speed and, thus, may provide additional training benefits to walkers.

Energy expenditure during submaximal walking with Exerstriders.

It is suggested that Exerstriding provides a means to increase caloric expenditure during submaximal walking, a factor that may be of critical importance in enhancing health benefits--such as improved body composition and aerobic capacity--typically associated with walking programs.

Physiological and Perceptual Responses to Prolonged Treadmill Load Carriage

The physiological and perceptual responses to prolonged, level treadmill walking at speeds of 3.96, 4.

Knee joint forces during downhill walking with hiking poles.

The reductions seen during downhill walking with hiking poles compared with unsupported downhill walking were caused primarily by the forces applied to the hiking poles and by a change in posture to a more forward leaning position of the upper body, with the effect of reducing the knee moment arm.

Electromyographic kinesiology of lower extremity muscles during slope walking.

The findings indicate that the muscles stabilize the knee and ankle joint much more in slope Walking than in level walking, and in slope walking they also exert themselves to elevate or lower the body weight.

Increased cardiovascular response to static contraction of larger muscle groups

It was concluded that at the same percentage of maximal voluntary contraction, the magnitude of the cardiovascular response to isometric exercise is directly influenced by the size of the contracting muscle mass.

Physiological Determinants of Load Bearing Capacity

Data suggest that hamstring muscle strength may be an important determinant of prolonged load bearing performance, and may elucidate the degree to which aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and other physiological variables independently and/or interactively influence load bearing capacity.

Lumbar back muscle activity during locomotion: effects of voluntary modifications of normal trunk movements.

The mechanisms of adaptation of the trunk to changed mechanical conditions were studied during locomotion in man and the basic EMG pattern and phase relationships remained in most cases unchanged.