The Rest Step

There are currently two walk posts in ‘Draft’ mode, awaiting some finishing touches.  They will (hopefully) be published shortly, once the WordPress Dashboard Gremlins and I come to a mutually satisfactory agreement over editing and photo placement (anyone else having post-editing Visual/Text problems recently?)

However, I’m hoping they will cooperate for long enough for me to quickly share today’s revelations with you all!  The Rest Step!!!

Yesterday I was reading a blog post by Blonde Two on the Two Blondes Walking blog, about a recent excursion to Haytor in Dartmoor.  In her post there was a mention of swapping between sets of leg / bottom muscles when walking up a hill.  Any regular readers of this blog will be well aware of my endless over-analysis of my struggles with uphill slopes and hills, and my despair of ever being fit enough to stride masterfully up hills and mountains all day long, without so much as getting even slightly out of breath or burning thigh muscles.  Blonde Two’s comments on using different muscle groups got me thinking on whether there was a ‘correct’ technique, or something more technical than simply slowing my pace, for keeping my forward momentum up a hill.   I headed to Google, and at some point during my procrastination extensive research Google yielded up the Rest Step.
Now, I’m fairly sure that the Rest Step is no doubt actually intended for very long and or steep uphill pulls, and not necessarily designed for what I like to think of as the nursery slopes that I am presently cutting my teethburning my thighsopening my lungs …honing my hill-walking skills on, but if a variation of it helps me get to the top of that hill / rise / slope, and feel better about how I got there, then I’m happy to use it!

Wikipedia describes the Rest Step as: a human walking gait used in ascending steep slopes. Its essential characteristic is a pause of motion with the rear leg vertical and fully extended, while the front leg is relaxed except as needed to adjust the balancing of the climber’s body and burden on the rear leg

A few websites gave different descriptions of how to perform the rest Step, with varying degrees of success and clarity.  But more than one described it as bring vaguely along the lines of the Wedding March, so that was how I would attempt it.

I have a tendency to be a little verbose sometimes.  No really!  So here is a link to a great little description on the Rest Step:
http://www.backpacking.net/bad-back.html#techniques

Armed with a new technique to try out I couldn’t wait to head out and pound the lanes this morning.  There are, unfortunately, no steep slopes within my immediate locality, but there are a couple of rises, that whilst they aren’t exactly thigh-burning, lung-busters, they would have me breathing a little harder at the top, and my legs would definitely be telling me that we weren’t on the flat.  Feeling more than a little self-conscious, I modified my pace on the first slope, and tried out my own (and quite possibly unique) variation of the Rest Step / Wedding March…and all of a sudden I was over the brow of the hill, heading down the other side, with no discernible increase in my breathing whatsoever.  Well I wasn’t expecting that!
I changed my planned route to take in a longer hill, and it was like an epiphany!  All the way up this hill I felt great, and had to keep reminding myself that I was going up a hill!  At the top I felt absolutely no difference to how I might have felt if the last quarter of a mile had been dead flat!  It was quite an Eureka moment for me, albeit on a small, local slope.

Rest Step! Where have you been all my life?!  Is it at all possible that you might be a genuine and real part of the answer to my ‘uphill’ woes?
I am absolutely chomping at the bit to try out my new skill on a proper hill, but with my weekends mostly taken up now with Christmas fairs, I may just have to store up my excitement and anticipation until the New Year.

Impatience

I tried to describe this new technique, and my elation in discovering it, to the husband this evening (him with the enviable fitness and agility of a mountain-goat!)…who just laughed, and told me that I’d “basically just learnt to walk then“!

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2 thoughts on “The Rest Step

  1. It sounds interesting, but I’m a bit nervous of trying that “put all your weight on the locked knee joint” bit. My knees can get…iffy, so it might not be so good in my case. Sounds like it’s doing the business for you, though – good stuff!

    I suppose we all find our own ways. My friend swears by her walking poles, for example, but I find they throw my balance and rhythm off and make it a lot harder!

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