In running, the swinging of the arms is just as important as how you strike the ground. Arm swings help stabilize the body, maintain your balance and promote energy efficiently.
Try running with your arms straight on the sides and not swinging them just like an adjutant. It feels unnatural and tiring. Your pelvis and legs exert more energy than usual.
Proper arm swing techniques will in fact help you run faster and more efficiently. They help determine your stride and cadence so you’ll be able to run faster, longer, and with less perceived effort.
I first got this tip from Coach Noy Jopson during our Xterra Challenge in Timberland. When running uphill, try to move your arms faster like punching an upper cut to the air. It works! I get to tackle uphills faster and it was less tiring.
I also love swinging my arms faster when sprinting to the finish line. Despite being tired from the previous kilometers, you’d be surprised how much power you can still deliver by just swinging you arm faster during the last stretch.
I use to believe than keeping my arm swings at a minimum help conserve energy. Thus, I can run longer miles. But after making the simple change from the arm swing techniques, not only I was still able to run longer distances, I was able to improve my finish times too.
Arm Swing Tips for Runners
Here are some tip for runners on how to maintain good arm swings.
- Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle
- Keep shoulders relaxed and minimize the up and down movement.
- Relax the hands. Pretend holding a banana lightly. Don’t clench in a fist, hyperextend or flop around.
- Arms should not swing across the body.
- Elbows should point backwards, not outwards. Put more emphasis on the backward movement. The forward swing will move naturally and relaxed.
- Hands will pass the body at about hip height. Hands should neither pass above the waist nor too low below the hips.
- When running uphill, try pumping the arms like making an upper cut to encourage more power and movement to the legs.
Arm Movement (Forward Running tips) Video by Karhu
Here’s a great video from the shoe brand Karhu. It shows the proper arm swing techniques and clear illustrations on what to avoid.
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