Activator Instructions

▼ VIDEO: How To Adjust Your Activator

▼ VIDEO: How to do the ACTIVATOR Technique


ACTIVATOR Poles (patented)

Did you know that there are 8 current/recent studies on the ACTIVATOR Poles at hospitals and universities across Canada and at the renowned Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in the UK?  Benefits may include improved core strength, posture, balance, improved confidence for walking; reduced impact on hips and knees and increased endurance!  Health Care Professionals are recommending the ACTIVATOR Poles for rehab and many conditions because they were designed by an occupational therapist with eight unique features for increasing safety, performance and stability.   We hope you enjoy the ACTIVATOR Poles that have been built for walking and active living!

Unique Components of the ACTIVATOR Poles:

Button-Locking System:  An easier and safer method vs turning locking systems.  200 lbs of weight bearing capacity per pole.  Maximum suggested weight of user:  300 lbs
New – Ergonomic CoreGrip (patented): Designed for improving core strengthening while providing greater comfort and supporting the wrist in a neutral position to reduce strain.
Strapless:  To reduce the risk of injuries.  A study by Knobloch (2006) found the highest rate of injury for Nordic walking is related to the strap.
Bell Shape Tips:  Provides greater stability than boot shape tip
3 Anti-Vibration Features:  Reduces vibration and impact on joints
Carbide Steel Tip:  Provides stability in slippery conditions, trails & beaches.
Telescoping:  4′ to 6′ inches.  Poles are collapsible for storage & travel
New – ACTIVATOR2 Poles designed for individuals up to 6 ft 4″ and collapses shorter for travel.

Adjusting Your ACTIVATOR Poles

When you first get your poles you will need to adjust them for your height.

Step 1: Stand tall with your poles upright and relax your arms so that your elbows rest at a 90-degree angle. This is the correct pole length for your height.

Step 2: Notice the perforated holes on the top portion of the pole. Pull the bottom portion of the pole downward and turn it until the silver stripe lines up with the holes. Continue to pull down on the lower part of the pole until the button pops into the correct hole for your height. You may need to adjust the pole slightly up or down before the button locks securely into place.

Adjusting Your ACTIVATOR 2 Poles

Extend poles: Open both flip-locks tabs (grey). Pull below flip-lock to extend the middle and lower sections. Lower section may be stiff to pull initially.

Set pole length: Adjust the pole length so that you can stand with your elbow bent at slightly less than a 90 degree angle with your hand resting on the ledge of the CoreGrip and the bell tip resting on the ground.

Secure button lock A-B: Looking at holes A and B in the middle section, turn the lower section of the pole until you see the white stripe in the holes marked A and B. Pull on the lower section of the pole until the button locks into hole A or  B.

Secure button lock 1-6: Repeat above securing the button lock in a hole marked 1-6 in the upper section. Confirm pole length and close flip-lock tabs. Collapsing: open the flip-lock tab, push the button lock and at the same time push in the section Close flip-lock tab.

▼ VIDEO: How to Adjust your Activator 2 poles

 ACTIVATOR Technique

Step 1: Take hold of your poles

Make sure that the CoreGrip with the letter “R” is in your right hand and the pole CoreGrip with the letter “L” is in your left hand. Hold onto your poles with an easy grip, making sure your hands go all the way around the CoreGrip .

Stand tall and place your elbows at your sides at a 90-degree angle. Ensure the poles are always completely vertical. Keep your elbows bent the entire time you are walking.

Step 2: Begin walking

Step forward with the poles and walk in the same manner as regular walking: swing your right arm forward (with your elbow bent at 90 degrees) as your left foot steps forward. Keep the poles vertical and in front of your body at all times. Be sure that your upper arms swing forward and backward from the shoulders (not elbows) like pendulums.

Step 3: Check your posture and grip

Don’t grip the handles too tightly. Instead, press down on the Ledge with the outside edge of your hand to engage your upper body and core muscles and to increase your stability and balance. Significant off-loading of weight into the poles will only occur if you are applying a downward force to the Ledge.

Important:  This technique was developed in conjunction with the specific features of the ACTIVATOR poles.  A study by Bechard (2015 unpublished) at UWO found significant off-loading for the knee joint when using the Activator technique.

Quick Tips

Adapt your poles to different terrains & winter!

Hidden beneath the rubber boot tip of each pole is a sharp carbide steel tip, which provides increased stability on wet and uneven terrain, such as grass, trails, gravel, sand and snow.   This feature allows you to stay active all year round and are an excellent tool for preventing falls in the winter time. You can also purchase snow baskets to keep the poles on top of the snow while winter walking or snowshoeing.  To attach the baskets, take off the rubber tip and push the basket to the 3 grooves and then rotate the baskets until you achieve a tight fit.

Using your ACTIVATOR Poles on your travels

Collapse your poles to their shortest length (29 inches).  They generally will fit in a medium size suitcase by placing them on a diagonal. Durable Urban Poling carrying bags are available to protect poles while in storage and in transit; the bags also make carrying easy.  Take the rubber tip off to expose the carbide tip for walking on trails, beaches and hikes.   

Replace your tips periodically

Your ACTIVATOR poles come with a high-grade rubber tip for stability, off loading & reduced vibration. Replace your bell shaped tips when the tread wears out, or roughly one year with regular use.

Gradually Increase your time

Start by using your poles for only 1/3 of your maximum walking time and gradually increase your distance/time.

Take care of your poles

Store your poles in a dry, moderate-temperature location.  You can also purchase a carrying bag for travel or storage.

Read carefully through the User’s guide and the precautions listed before using your ACTIVATOR poles (guide is at the top of this page and comes with your poles). 


Consult your health care professional (physician, therapist or other) before using the poles if you currently use a cane, crutches or walker and for training for any medical condition that affects your balance, stability, ability to grip the handles, vision, depth perception or coordination, or if you are currently recovering from an injury or surgery.

DO NOT use the ACTIVATOR Poles on stairs unless trained by a therapist or other health care professional.
ACTIVATOR Poles should not be used on ice.
Always use both poles.
ACTIVATOR Poles may help to prevent or break a fall, but falling on them may affect pole integrity. Do not use poles that have been fallen on or that have been damaged in any other way.
Replace your poles approximately every 2 years if you are over 200 lbs or a heavier user.  Use exceeds more than 5-10 km per week.
Ask your therapist how to use the poles for transferring out of the car and use both poles.

Winter Poling

When walking on snow covered surfaces, remove the rubber tips to expose the carbide tip which will provide better traction.  Add snow baskets to prevent the poles from sinking deep into the snow.
– Mandy Shintani, OT


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