Over the years I have had numerous inquiries regarding the proper holding of Nordic Walking pole grips. Some people have complained that NOT holding the grips at all makes them lose control of the poles, especially in windy conditions. I couldn’t agree more.
Others don’t seem to be able to ween themselves from constantly holding the grips, just as it is usually done with trekking/hiking poles.
Here is a simple explanation of what is generally considered to be an optimal technique for using poles equipped with straps:
Grip the pole handle, as your hand moves forward, past your hip and plant it solidly into the ground when it reaches the front of the stroke. At the moment of the pole plant you should be firmly gripping the pole handle.
As your hand pushes back (firmly and slowly) by your hip, open your palms slightly, relax your fingers and keep pushing into the strap. As the pole reaches the rearmost position of the stroke, the grip should be almost totally released. This creates a greater stretch of your arm and causes greater spinal rotation. With correct Nordic Walking technique there is an unmistakable swing of your shoulders and hips.
And here’s a link to the whole article:
Hope this helps. One key is to remember to START slowly gripping the pole, as it moves FORWARD past your hip, and fully and firmly gripping it as you plant the pole, and starting to release the grip almost right after the plant, and especially, while the hand is crossing the hips going backward, with an almost full release in the rear.
You shouldn’t completely release the grip and rely just on the straps, but grip it firmly while planting, with your fingers LOOSELY controlling the pole throughout the stroke.
It might make a bit of conscious drilling and a number of miles to instill the technique in your muscle memory, but it is definitely worthwhile.