Athletic Walk


The athletic gait has a technical gait defined by its smooth gait . The body lands on the heel of each foot with much less impact than running, producing less force and less damage to the feet, legs, knees, hips, and back. Walking offers exercises for both the upper and lower bodies . The way the arms swing makes the back, shoulders and arms more useful than running or walking normally.


What is the athletic walk?

The athletic walking is a sports discipline of the athletics branch in which you walk at a fast pace but without running, so the athlete’s feet must be in contact with the ground , avoiding jogging.


What is the athletic walk?

Athletic walking is a sport that consists of an intermediate movement that is achieved between walking and running . It is a progression of steps that are executed in such a way that the athlete does not lose contact with the ground at any time , so the athlete must always keep one foot in contact with the ground.


The leg , calf, and foot muscles propel the body forward. The propulsion combined with changes in arms measured make athletes compete using their heel and toe of the foot.  This smooth movement performed correctly increases efficiency and allows for rapid rotation , especially when combined with the forward and backward movement of the hips . The objective of athletic walking is to get from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible, which in this case is walking.


The main characteristics of the athletic gait are the following:

  • Marching must always have one foot on the ground .
  • The technical gesture is based on the action of the gluteus.
  • The support of the foot must be done with the heel and the impulse with the tip.
  • The arms have to be in a relaxed position , and they should set the pace .
  • You can not take off the feet of the ground .
  • It is a sport that requires endurance , flexibility and coordination .
  • Athletes must have a good sense of rhythm , consistency, and good hip mobility .
  • During the race , hydration posts should be placed for the athlete.


At the end of the 18th century, this sport was born and became popular in England , specifically in the London Olympic program in 1908 and gaining strength over time. In the 20th century, athletic walking was recognized as an independent and official discipline . The women were able to participate in this sport in the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.


The technique begins with the movement support on the floor of the leg forward through the heel . Before supporting the leg it can be flexed slightly. The foot is fully supported, with the leg extended giving the body a good base of support . The weight of the body must rest on the plantar arch . The heel of the supporting leg begins to be raised , leaning the body especially on the big toe of the same foot. When contact is lost, the leg moves forward, starting to start a new cycle.

Phases of the athletic walk

There are two different phases in the steps that are taken in the athletic walk:

  • Simple support phase : consists of three different moments, the traction , the support and the impulse . The drive includes the time when the support leg is in contact with the ground. The support occurs when it is possible to make a link between the traction and the impulse and finally, the impulse, which is the moment in which the acceleration begins .
  • Double support phase: this phase is the one that includes the moment in which the push phase ends and the traction phase of the other leg begins . It is the moment when both feet are in contact with the ground in a straight line.


The first step in training is to learn an adequate technique to assimilate the correct movements in each phase . You must familiarize yourself with the march through specific exercises . You must also learn the correct positions while walking and proper balance.

Exercises that provide adequate general physical condition should be performed and then more specifically trained to strengthen the pelvic girdle and lower body, paying attention to the joints and tendons . Strength training is also important to achieve a proper gait. Aerobic capacity and the way in which the specific technical gestures of the gait are executed should be improved .


There are only two basic rules for athletic walking:

  • The athletic walk is considered as a progression of the steps that are taken so that the athlete makes contact with the ground so that there is no loss of contact visible to the human eye. There is a time when the heel of the front foot and the toe of the rear foot seem to be in contact with the ground at the same time . Before the athlete lifts his rear foot off the ground, his front heel must make contact with the ground . Contact with the ground seems to be maintained at all times.
  • The advancing leg must be straightened , in other words it cannot be bent at the knee from the moment the first contact with the ground is made until the vertical position is reached . The rule is that the knee should be straight when the heel hits the ground. Then the knee bends and swings forward taking the next step.


Walking competitions are usually held on the standard athletic track , typically walking distances of up to 10,000m.  The tests of superior distances are carried out on a circuit, it will not be more than 2.5 km , nor less than 2 km when we talk about world competitions or Olympic circuit competitions . For all other competitions, the circuit must not exceed 2.5 km or less than 1 km.


The athletic walking categories are as follows:

  • Infant A and B
  • Category of minors
  • Pre-youth category
  • Senior

Athletic walking competitions

The most outstanding competitions in this sport are the following:

  • Olympic Games
  • World Championship of Athletic March for Teams.
  • Athletics world championship .
  • Junior World Athletics Championships.
  • Youth olympic games.


It is important to have shoes that have less cushioning than running shoes. For the practice of sports walking, stability is very important, so a suitable support must be found so that the foot is aligned with the direction of walking, but at the same time provides flexibility so that the foot develops correctly.

It is important to wear comfortable clothing that allows free movement , clothing that is breathable is ideal to be able to adequately remove sweat.


Some of the benefits that can be obtained through athletic walking are:

  • The impact and overload is much less when running than when running because the “flight” phase does not occur. It is a special sport if you suffer from knee pain.
  • It is a very complete exercise that puts the upper extremities , hips , abdominal and lumbar girdle to work .
  • It helps to strengthen and improve the cardiovascular system , reducing the probability of suffering from heart diseases such as heart attacks and even cholesterol .
  • It helps control weight and helps to lose fat in greater quantity, in addition to helping to tone muscles.
  • Stimulates the production of endorphins , generating a feeling of well – being and happiness.

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