Race Walking Technique

Hips - Common Technique Problems

When using your hips, be careful not to swing them out to the side.  Some lateral motion is necessary, because the human body does not move in straight lines.  However, limit the lateral motion as much as possible.


Correct Hip Motion - Hip swings mostly  forward

Incorrect Hip Motion - Hip swings too far out

Let’s look a little closer at what happens when you use your hips properly. Observe the angle the front leg makes with the ground.  The greater the angle, the more the ground pushes you back when you strike it.  This phenomenon is known as braking force and will impede your progress. When you reduce the angle the foot makes with the ground, you reduce the braking force.  Conversely, the longer stride caused by extending the hips allows your foot to strike the ground with a minimum of braking force. So use those hips!

Proper arm swing must also take into account the way the arm crosses in front of the body. The arm swings forward as if shaking someone’s hand. 


Get the Feel Using Hip Drills

If you are still having trouble understanding what proper hip action should feel like, try this simple exercise:

  1. Find a fairly long and steep hill. Start at the bottom and walk as quickly as you can, folding your arms across your chest like a vampire in a B horror movie. This prevents your arms from counter balancing the forces in your hips. 

  2. For about 15 yards, maintain this fast pace.  Feel the tugging sensation in your hips.  Continue walking, but for the next 15 yards, try to exaggerate the sensation you feel in your hips.  Allow your muscles to work with your hips, following the motion of the tugs. Be sure the movement is forward and back, not side to side.

  3. Finally, bring your arms down into normal walking position.  Allow them to swing while continuing to exaggerate your hips.  Your hip and swing leg should feel as if they are being whipped forward in conjunction with your arm swinging back.

If you use your hips correctly on the hill, you will feel a dramatic effect.  Your stride will be more powerful and longer in the rear.

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Introduction Basic Technique Rules Foot Placement Foot Strike Knee Carriage Rear Foot Transitioning Overstriding Hips Hand Position Arms Posture Shoulders Hills and Crowns Championship Form