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

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Hendrickson, Thomas L.
Porcari, J.
Walking - Physiological aspects; Treadmill exercise tests; Power Poles
Power poles are specially constructed, rubber-tipped ski poles designed for use during walking. The user simulates the arm motion of cross-country skiing while walking, thus increasing the muscle mass used during exercise. This study investigated the potential increases in exercise intensity and energy cost associated with the use of the walking poles. Thirty-two healthy subjects (M = 16: age = 23.3 yrs, ht = 69.8 in, w t = 172.1 lb, V02max = 58.9 ml/kg/min; F = 16: age = 23.9 yrs, ht = 66.1 in, wt = 140.3 lbs, V0,max = 49.5 ml/kg/min) completed a treadmill V02max test and two randomly assigned, submaximal walking trials (no poles, with poles) on separate days. Each submaximal walking trial was conducted on a level treadmill, for 20 min, at the same self-selected pace (M: x = 4.27 mph; range = 3.98 - 4.80; F: x = 3 -77 mph, range = 3.00 - 4.48) . VO, (ml/kg/zin) , HR (bpm), and RPE were recorded each min. There were no differences in the responses between males and females, thus data were collapsed across gender. It was found that the use of Power poles significantly (p c .05) increased VO,, HR, and Kcal/min by approximately 20% compared to walking without poles. There were significant (p > .05) differences in calculated oxygen pulse values (mlO,/beat) between conditions, indicating that the changes were apparently due to the increased muscle mass involved in the exercise and not due to a pressor response mechanism. 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.
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