Did you know that there are actually different ways of walking, and it’s all for the good of exercise? Speed, power, and race walking are actually three different things with whole different meanings, which took me by surprise! It had me wonder, what is the difference between speed, power, and race walking?
I know how confusing it must be figuring out what kind of walks to do for specific purposes. Well, I did all the research and tried to do them myself to feel what set them apart from each other. So read on as I talk about what these types of walks are, what they do, and which one’s best for you to follow!
- 1 What Is Speed Walking?
- 2 What Is Power Walking?
- 3 What Is Race Walking?
- 4 What Is The Difference Between Speed, Power, and Race Walking?
- 5 Which Walk Is Best For You?
- 6 Wrapping It Up
What Is Speed Walking?
Speed walking is obviously way faster than your average stroll around the park, you are walking at an increased pace. Think of it getting closer to a light jog, as your arms have similar movements. However, with speed walking, you have almost a similar speed without the huge impact, making it more beneficial than running for those who are prone to injuries from high-impact exercises.
Speed walking is quite beneficial for the following reasons:
1. It raises your heart rate better than normal walking. This helps with a better calorie and fat burn.
2. Instead of just focusing on weight loss, you also start to shift towards better fitness and increased endurance. You also get to finish longer distances because of the quicker pace.
3. It can increase your muscle and joint flexibility because you use wider ranges of motion. Speed walking also helps tone muscles better.
The usual pace for speed walking is up to 5mph. This may be intense when you first see it, but as you begin walking at this pace, you’ll be able to maintain your breath to walk even longer at the same quick speed.
When speed walking, I highly recommend you follow these tips:
1. Have the proper posture as you walk, with your back straight, your line of vision 20 feet ahead, and with your arms swinging at a 90-degree angle. Take smaller steps to be faster.
2. If you’re new to speed walking, I suggest that you begin slower rather than try aiming for 5mph immediately. You might want to consider intervals to help you slowly pave your way up.
Do a warmup walk for three minutes, do a slightly quicker pace for 30 seconds, go faster for 20 seconds, then do your quickest walk and give your all for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times and do a recovery walk, doing this until your workout is complete.
What Is Power Walking?
Power walking is a general technique similar to fast and race walking combined but without the formal style. However, it does use the arm motion from race walking for speed. You have a similar pace as speed walking, though instead of focusing on speed, it’s an entire body workout that helps with your arms (which affects speed, too).
You are able to reach over 5mph with power walking if you’re able to swing your arms right and change up your posture, walking as tall as you can. Your positioning is to walk very up right and that your head is leveled. Your eyes are the only things moving to look at your feet and surroundings!
The best way to describe it is by walking as tall as you can. Whereas with walking, you’re a bit more relaxed. Think of this type of walking as adding more strength and power all around your body.
Power walking doesn’t burn as many calories as race walking and burns just as much as speed walking, depending on your pace. But it does work on the arm and leg muscles without the unnatural positioning, which is a huge plus!
To do a power walk, follow these steps:
1. Make sure that you walk at a posture that makes you as tall as you can be.
2. It’s best to take on a stride of up to 150 steps a minute, improving your speed and distance.
3. Swing your arms at a 90-degree angle. Your head, arms, and upper body should be at a fixed position as well, improving speed and lessening the energy expenditure.
What Is Race Walking?
With race walking, this isn’t just about speed walking at a fast pace, nor is it about proper posture and standing tall like power walking. It’s actually a combination of both, where you have a certain position set by race masters’ standards. It’s basically the ultimate athletic challenge, with the purpose of you doing smooth strides.
Unlike most ways of walking, it offers lower AND upper body workout with your arms, shoulders, and arms used more effectively. Furthermore, your lower muscles would properly your body forward, making you feel less weighted or even floating.
It’s the smoothness of the walking stride which makes it totally different from power and speed walking. As a result, there is a rapid turnover, which increases your speed. There are two rules to race walking; your feet should touch the ground all times and that your knee has to be straight by the time your heel touches the ground.
Another difference between race walking is its speed, which is much faster than speed walking as you can reach over 8mph. However, you will sacrifice your posture here, as it will be unnatural. This is why race walking requires a lot of training for you to follow the expected posture but still prevent any pain or injuries.
Race walking has its own individual benefits, such as:
1. It burns more calories compared to power and speed walking.
2. You get to use these during walking competitions.
3. You get to learn to run even quicker, thus reaching more speed and distance goals for running.
But do take note race walking shouldn’t be your primary exercise because of the unnatural positioning you’re doing.
What Is The Difference Between Speed, Power, and Race Walking?
The key differences between these types of walking focus more on the goal you are trying to accomplish.
Race walking is very different from speed walking because you don’t hold a natural motion. You follow a certain standard set by the race masters themselves.
With speed or power walking, you don’t require following the formal walking style. However, their difference is that with speed walking, you focus on your stride and speed. With power walking, you focus on your posture and utilize arm strength as you try walking faster.
Furthermore, the calorie burn also varies, as the speed and distance would differ between walks.
Because race walking requires you to spend more energy, it will burn more calories than running even at similar sped with power walking. This is because you have shorter strides and will need to stretch your hips more so than power or speed walking.
With that said, all these types of walks share positive benefits, such as better cardiovascular health and endurance, as well as working muscles around the body.
Which Walk Is Best For You?
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of walking, which one is best suited for you?
Unless you’re in a competition, then you won’t need to do race walking.
Speed or power walking is best suited for regular exercises or to use as training for races. Both these techniques are suited for weight loss and calorie burn!
If your aim is to shape your posture and stay in good shape, you’ll want to try doing power walking.
However, if you would like to focus more on the speed of your walk rather than trying to “walk tall,” then speed walking is more up your alley.
If you want to learn more about the different types of walking exercises to target specific areas, check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
When planning to walk for exercise or with a specific purpose, you have to know your pace and duration. By choosing the right type of run, you can accomplish your goals, whether it’s distance, speed, or stamina you’re after. It all boils down to learning what walk you should do and how to do it properly for fitness.
I hope that this article answers your question, “What is the difference between speed, power, and race walking?” Now that you know the answer, start walking for exercise now! If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on any of these walks, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated.