Urban Poling – Nordic Walking – Barb Gormley

by | Jun 18, 2018 | Podcast

Barb Gormley talks about being a personal/fitness trainer, health & fitness writer and urban poling instructor. As Urban Poling’s Director of Education, she produces the company’s educational fitness materials. Barb has written numerous magazine articles on the benefits of Urban Poling and also presents at conferences, tradeshows and health fairs across the province.
Find out more about Barb on her website:
Find out more about Urban Poling / Nordic Walking at

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Barb’s Book =

VIDEO of Technique = =


1) Quick Professional Bio –
   = YMCA
  = Group Exercise instructor and Corporate Fitness … working with public
   => Year sailing and then couldn’t/didn’t want to re-enter the corporate world so went out on her own for fitness and training Marathon Walkers
  -> Urban Poling called several years -> couldn’t get a good workout, poles/DVD … then took cert. course and realized the techniques
2) Why Nordic Walking/Urban poling?
  •   why decide to try?
  • 40+ running,
  • Mandy Shintani -OT from
  • ‘Perfect amount of challenge’ – enough for those who like group exercises and routines but not so complex that someone without interest could do
  • nordic walking is like swimming/tennis … it can age with you. Intensity and speed vary
3) similarities and benefits to cross-country skiing? 
 *My introduction to ‘pole running’ was through xc skiing
  • similar but not exactly the same … and NOT like hiking.
  • hiking poles are different -> hiking poles minimize effort while urban poling whereas URBAN poles add challenge
is this just walking with poles? How does technique/instruction come into the process?
  • Nordic technique – the length should be set to marking on URBAN POLING POLE based on height
  • land poles out front with a straight arm to have a straight arm  **SHAKE HANDS ***
  •  press down on outside edge of hands
  • poles landing beside foot but angled back at 45 deg
4) Gear Needed =  Difference in Poles/tips?  
  – can you get ones that are suitable for offroad and urban settings?
  – setting the length of telescopic poles
  •   rubber boot tip on pole + a rubber handle
  • poles will telescope (get longer/shorter)
5) What are classes like?
  = GTA classes at Mt. Pleasant and High Park -> what do these sessions look like?
   = mix of social, technique and walking adventure!
  =  some calisthenics
  => Double Poling exercise with Nordic Poling  – both pole landing and big push
6) Certification courses– who is the ideal instructor to come to these courses? (clientele they work with, area they need to work in etc)
      = 1/2 day and online course to cert
7) Common Mistakes in Poling? 
  = 1500 cert instructor will say keep your arms straight with a pendulum swing from the shoulder … don’t shorten the leaver.
   = ELBOW’s get a break today
   = HANDS TO handshake position and  thru so that hand is to thigh or past (all the way down)   => This informs and is affected by stride
      = dragging poles behind you … pickup poles a bit
9) How to look/feel prepared your first time poling? (how to not look like a newbie!) 
  =  don’t bring your xc ski or dh poles!
10) What’s next for you, the fitness industry and/or poling? 
 = ultimate guide to nordic walking -> working on revised edition =>
  = Activator pole for those will balance and stability issues =>

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