Search 62305 Camino Questions

Do you "push off" when you walk?

  • Thread starter Former member 99816
  • Start date
F

Former member 99816

Guest
Usually I walk with a normal/like-there's-a-stick-up-your-ass stride but sometimes I'll switch to a more athletic/in-the-hood gait. The hood gait uses a strong pushing off with the ball of the back foot. As I practice for my camino I try the push-off gait but it requires concentration and after a few minutes I'm back to my old self.

There is a lot of literature I've seen on the subject of pushing off for walking so I am not really looking for internet meme or links about that. But if anyone here really walks that way (push-off) or tries to, or used to, would you say how you do it?
 
Camino Cleanup Program & Retreat
Want to give back to the Camino? Help clean it up with us this May.

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
You have a few years of experience walking. Unless you have some abnormal gait that causes you difficulty, in which case I recommend a physiotherapist, I don't think you should try to develop a new walking style for the Camino. You want the most relaxed gait you can achieve, so you can do it all day, every day, and also enjoy the scenery.

However, feel free to entertain yourself (and others) with whatever moves are fun:cool: and that get you outside walking. Just don't injure yourself in the process!😁
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
When I was a younger pilgrim, I'd push backwards with the back foot, and also with the hiking staff (similar to nordic poles technique), AND I'd use the grip on the front foot to pull myself forwards at the same time.

Basically, put the foot down, pull myself forward with it, push off as you describe, whilst also propelling myself forward with the hiking staff slanted backwards for extra propulsion.

I did use to be pretty fast !! Now the exact opposite !! :p
 
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

don_proctor

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future.
I am experimenting with the Alexander Technique in preparation for my Camino. Lots of resources online. I can't vouch for it yet, but it gives very specific advice on posture, movement, balance, gait, ascents/descents, etc.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I am experimenting with the Alexander Technique in preparation for my Camino. Lots of resources online. I can't vouch for it yet, but it gives very specific advice on posture, movement, balance, gait, ascents/descents, etc.

😳I didn't realize there were walking forms/techniques to be considered. I'm going to check it out, though — thanks for sharing! Maybe I won't look like I'm from the Ministry of Silly Walks when I start getting those annoying twinges in my back.
 
F

Former member 99816

Guest
I am experimenting with the Alexander Technique in preparation for my Camino.
I might give Alexander a try, too. My thought with the "push-off" technique is to mix in a different walking style to wake up some unused muscles and relax some overused ones. I'm concerned that the gait I've been using all this time, while okay for the golf course, might fail on a 500 mile walk.
Changing things up a little might prepare the feet, shins, spine, etc in the way that, say, taking a probiotic or a vaccine prepares the body for changes to come. Emphasis on the "might."
 
Last edited by a moderator:
F

Former member 99816

Guest
Just thought of another gait change I should try. From a childhood accident, one leg is short by maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I never thought much about it but then I've never walked 500 miles. Might be time to put a lift in there from time to time and change a few spine angles. Thoughts?
 
Camino Cleanup Program & Retreat
Want to give back to the Camino? Help clean it up with us this May.
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Just thought of another gait change I should try. From a childhood accident, one leg is short by maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I never thought much about it but then I've never walked 500 miles. Might be time to put a lift in there from time to time and change a few spine angles. Thoughts?
I think this limb length discrepancy could cause problems on a prolonged Camino walk. I believe it would be best to consult a podiatrist to make custom orthotics to correct this. It may take several weeks to receive the orthotics, so maybe you don’t have enough time before your Camino. In that case I think a heel lift would be an excellent idea. Sooner or later there is a good chance that inequality of length is going to cause you some problems.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many to count!
Hello @puttster. Firstly, I agree with @WalkingLester. You really should get evaluated regarding your unequal leg lengths. A long distance walk may throw you off in ways you may not anticipate. One of your legs, most likely is taking the brunt of the work, and that is the last thing you need for long distances. YES, it is time to consider a lift or whatever your physiatrist/podiatrist recommends.

And for those who never consider how it is they walk, you are fortunate, because most likely you have never had an injury. For those of us who have suffered injuries, re-thinking how you walk is valuable, if not mandatory. After years and years of lengthening my stride to keep up with my husband's stride, I finally figured out that I was pushing off too hard with my back leg and extending too far. When I shortened my stride, my knees no longer bothered me! Yes, I do have to take quicker more frequent steps to keep up with my walking buddy, but so it is... at least I am not getting injured. And sometimes he walks slower to stay with me!
 
Last edited:

backpack45

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
Like Elle Bieling said above, trying to lengthen your stride can cause other problems. According to my chiropractor, it is not a good idea; so as she does, I take shorter, but quicker steps than most of my hiking partners. If you do decide to try to lengthen your stride, don't wait until you are on the Camino to try it out under similar conditions--multiple days, multiple miles, varied terrain. I can't comment on the "pushing off with your leg" question except to say that since walking is controlled falling, aren't we all pushing off with our back leg and catching ourselves with our front leg to some degree?
What I have noticed on the Camino routes and others, is that many people so not push off as often as they could with their hiking poles and therefore are not taking full advantage of the forward assist they can give you. Some people pack them away when on level ground and I sometimes swing them around like a cheerleader for fun, but they can also help you move along faster if you keep using them. Just an option!
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Time of past OR future Camino
2023. Finish the VDLP. Zamora to Santiago.
Usually I walk with a normal/like-there's-a-stick-up-your-ass stride but sometimes I'll switch to a more athletic/in-the-hood gait. The hood gait uses a strong pushing off with the ball of the back foot. As I practice for my camino I try the push-off gait but it requires concentration and after a few minutes I'm back to my old self.

There is a lot of literature I've seen on the subject of pushing off for walking so I am not really looking for internet meme or links about that. But if anyone here really walks that way (push-off) or tries to, or used to, would you say how you do it?
There is some evidence that taking shorter steps reduces strain on the ankle etc allows you to place a foot flatter. I use walking poles and have learnt the hard way that waking more slowly is best. It’s not necessarily the first few weeks, it’s how you are after 4-6 weeks. The CF means around 1,000,000 steps. That’s a lot of work for our joints
Hope this helps
Mark
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Get yourself some trekking poles. Adjust them to the proper height for you. Take them out on some training walks. Learn to use them effectively, in a smooth rythm and they can aid greatly in walking more efficiently and they also give your arms and shoulders a good workout. I wouldn't walk a Camino without them.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
One or more times each year from 2014 - 2022.
Get yourself some trekking poles. Adjust them to the proper height for you. Take them out on some training walks. Learn to use them effectively, in a smooth rythm and they can aid greatly in walking more efficiently and they also give your arms and shoulders a good workout. I wouldn't walk a Camino without them.
I agree! I believe it’s more than the deltoids and triceps that get a work out when using trekking poles properly. I believe the alternating push from your arms induces a twisting moment about your torso and as a result also gives you a work out to the pectorals, abdomen (tummy), and lateral’s. Trekking poles are not meant to be used like cross country ski poles.
 

Sirage

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago 2005 and a few more since
Just thought of another gait change I should try. From a childhood accident, one leg is short by maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I never thought much about it but then I've never walked 500 miles. Might be time to put a lift in there from time to time and change a few spine angles. Thoughts?
Your body has adapted - be careful in changes, take advice, but just before a Camino is likely to be a bad idea.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I agree! I believe it’s more than the deltoids and triceps that get a work out when using trekking poles properly. I believe the alternating push from your arms induces a twisting moment about your torso and as a result also gives you a work out to the pectorals, abdomen (tummy), and lateral’s. Trekking poles are not meant to be used like cross country ski poles.
I love how physical walking the Camino can be and the positive nature it has on my body and overall fitness. I always get leaner, more tanned and stronger when I do the 800+ km's. The first few days on the Camino when I use the trekking poles I feel the soreness in my hands, forearms and some in the shoulders. My body getting fit. After a few days it goes away.
To me the Camino is fitness of my spirit and body.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
My affair
Just thought of another gait change I should try. From a childhood accident, one leg is short by maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I never thought much about it but then I've never walked 500 miles. Might be time to put a lift in there from time to time and change a few spine angles.


If you have any Scottish ancestry you could claim you have some haggis blood in you?

The haggis is reported to have shorter legs on the left than right, to assist in running anti-clockwise round the Scottish mountains; although recent research indicates that it varies between sexes, making things difficult at mating time.

 
F

Former member 99816

Guest
If you have any Scottish ancestry you could claim you have some haggis blood in you?
The haggis is reported to have shorter legs on the left than right, to assist in running anti-clockwise round the Scottish mountains
Yes, it could be genetic. My grandpa told me that during the great depression the sidewalks were so packed with men looking for work he had to stand with one leg on the curb and one in the street. He ended up with one leg longer than the other, though, which is the opposite of me.
 

Damico Walking

Another in 2023?
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Portuguese
I read a long time ago that walking is just the act of controlled falling. However you choose to manage the control vs falling is what works best, and is most comfortable, to you. So for me it is most important to reinforce the control rather than the falling otherwise I just go splat!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Most often, no but yes sometimes when going uphill!
 
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

domigee

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 CF
Usually I walk with a normal/like-there's-a-stick-up-your-ass stride but sometimes I'll switch to a more athletic/in-the-hood gait. The hood gait uses a strong pushing off with the ball of the back foot. As I practice for my camino I try the push-off gait but it requires concentration and after a few minutes I'm back to my old self.

There is a lot of literature I've seen on the subject of pushing off for walking so I am not really looking for internet meme or links about that. But if anyone here really walks that way (push-off) or tries to, or used to, would you say how you do it?
The only different ‘technique’ I have ever used was when doing ‘Nordic walking’. You have special poles and you do sort of ‘push off’ them… Is that what you mean?
It is a very effective form of exercise and once you master it, you walk very fast. But…no way I could do it for more than an hour though (even an hour is hard! 😁) and certainly not on a Camino for hours day after day 😳.
I am with @Anniesantiago on this, I just walk! 😉
 
Last edited:
F

Former member 99816

Guest
Your body has adapted - be careful in changes, take advice, but just before a Camino is likely to be a bad idea.
I loaded my pack with the recommended 16 lbs and took off for a test walk on a local hiking trail.. I added a adjust-a-lift to the right heel. After 3 miles I noticed some right hip pain. I'll try again in a few days without the lift. Maybe, like you say, best stick with what you know.

Might have been the trail though, not the trail walker
 

Attachments

  • Path.jpg
    Path.jpg
    11.7 MB · Views: 6

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I loaded my pack with the recommended 16 lbs and took off for a test walk on a local hiking trail..
Can you comfortably walk that trail with no backpack weight? Have you considered adding weight and distance in a gradual manner?

I added a adjust-a-lift to the right heel.
To do this randomly, if after 50 years of walking without one, seems a bit rash.
change a few spine angles. Thoughts?
Sounds like you have changed a few spine angles. Might not be a great idea.

In post #2 I wondered why you were meddling with what has presumably served you well for more than a few years. How is your new push-off style going, with or without heavy backpack and heel lift?
 

Sirage

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago 2005 and a few more since
I loaded my pack with the recommended 16 lbs and took off for a test walk on a local hiking trail.. I added a adjust-a-lift to the right heel. After 3 miles I noticed some right hip pain. I'll try again in a few days without the lift. Maybe, like you say, best stick with what you know.

Might have been the trail though, not the trail walker
I had some orthotics prescribed to compensate for my leg length differences, a long time. I didn't like them, maybe I should have persisted for longer - how long ??

I have walked without those orthotics, for maybe 5,000 kms of Caminos, and many more kms of local walking without apparent issues, although I do prefer to pick the right part of the road camber on long sections of Camino paved road walking.
 
F

Former member 99816

Guest
I had some orthotics prescribed to compensate for my leg length differences,... I do prefer to pick the right part of the road camber on long sections of Camino paved road walking.
Good idea, with leg length differences we always worry about walking in circles.o_O
 
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
F

Former member 99816

Guest
Regarding my concern one leg being slightly shorter: most Camino roads have a high ridge down the middle or on the side, so there is a way to level the hips by just picking where on the path to walk.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019), CF/del Norte ‘21
There is some evidence that taking shorter steps reduces strain on the ankle etc allows you to place a foot flatter. I use walking poles and have learnt the hard way that waking more slowly is best. It’s not necessarily the first few weeks, it’s how you are after 4-6 weeks. The CF means around 1,000,000 steps. That’s a lot of work for our joints
Hope this helps
Mark
I agree about shorter steps and a flat foot placement. 500 miles of waking is tough on the feet, so I try to just pick them up and put them down with a minimum of “action”.
 

Introibo

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
Professor Douglas Walter Noble Stibbs, Director of University Observatories and Napier Chair of Astronomy at St. Andrews observatory, always maintained that breathing in on the same leg footstride would lead to "physical abnormalities". Whether he was right or not I don't know, but once I started thinking about which leg stride I was breathing in on..... I lost it completely. ( Almost as bad as asking a golfer whether they breathe in or out as they strike the ball. )

Best just to go with what comes naturally.
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
I might give Alexander a try, too. My thought with the "push-off" technique is to mix in a different walking style to wake up some unused muscles and relax some overused ones. I'm concerned that the gait I've been using all this time, while okay for the golf course, might fail on a 500 mile walk.
Changing things up a little might prepare the feet, shins, spine, etc in the way that, say, taking a probiotic or a vaccine prepares the body for changes to come. Emphasis on the "might."
I think this limb length discrepancy could cause problems on a prolonged Camino walk. I believe it would be best to consult a podiatrist to make custom orthotics to correct this. It may take several weeks to receive the orthotics, so maybe you don’t have enough time before your Camino. In that case I think a heel lift would be an excellent idea. Sooner or later there is a good chance that inequality of length is going to cause you some problems.
Definitely a visit to the podiatrist. They will assess your foot, walking style and can give immediate advice and temporary inserts if you don't have time for porper orthotics. I have had an ongoing foot problem that I have managed myself for years but in prep for VdlP this Sept sought advice. Turns out to be a Mortons Neuroma. The orthotics, acupuncture and advice gives me the best chance of completing my 2022 Camino.
 

wisepilgrim

Camino App Maker
Time of past OR future Camino
Many
I agree with the posts above about sticking to your current gait, or to at least get many months of practice in with a new one as the Camino isn’t the place to discover new gait injuries.

But the bigger problem, at least with my gait, is that if I do it for too many hours along the meseta I appear to transcend time and space.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
I agree with the posts above about sticking to your current gait, or to at least get many months of practice in with a new one as the Camino isn’t the place to discover new gait injuries.

But the bigger problem, at least with my gait, is that if I do it for too many hours along the meseta I appear to transcend time and space.
I know the feeling
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
I might give Alexander a try, too. My thought with the "push-off" technique is to mix in a different walking style to wake up some unused muscles and relax some overused ones. I'm concerned that the gait I've been using all this time, while okay for the golf course, might fail on a 500 mile walk.
Changing things up a little might prepare the feet, shins, spine, etc in the way that, say, taking a probiotic or a vaccine prepares the body for changes to come. Emphasis on the "might."
Good luck with your toes and the ball of your foot. I agree the Camino is not the place to start walking different and I'm not sure you want to wake up amused muscles.
Best of luck.
 

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2023 Camino Guides
Top