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ARM MOVEMENT IN RUNNING
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July 30, 2004
ARM MOVEMENT IN RUNNING

A question of arms' movement comes up very often. What should I do with my arms? How should they move? Should I pump them hard? Should they be held at the level of my chest? Should I move them back and forth to help myself move forward and run faster? Should I put my hands in fists? And on and on.

The answer to this is very simple and people familiar with the Rules of Good Running Technique already know it.

Arms performance is a natural balance for legs movement.

Donít drive with your arms Youíre not carrying a football toward the end zone, trying to shed tacklers; youíre trying to move smoothly down the road.

The main function of your arms is not to drive the body forward but to provide balance and equilibrium as gravity pulls you forward.

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As your hamstrings do all the work, there is an easy, natural, rhythmic flow to your arms that provides the balance that keeps you comfortably in stride, but nothing more. Donít force the issue. Let your arms and hands remain relaxed while you conserve energy and move forward.

Sometimes the most important part of doing something right is to not do everything wrong. Thatís certainly the case with running, where itís doing the wrong things that can kill you. It takes a lot of mental focus to do only that which is necessary and let everything else be relaxed, but thatís exactly what it takes to run further and faster.

Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov


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Comments

The arms are playing only a balance role in running. They are reflecting the legs movement and work synchronically with legs rhythm and force. Keep them bent at the elbows and relax them to be free for quick reaction to legs movement.

One thing you can try is run with your arms behind your back. Hold your arms together for the first 10 seconds of your run and then release them. This break from normal habit should enable you to run and use your arms more effortlessly.
Dr.Romanov

Posted by: Dr.Romanov at August 2, 2004 01:50 AM

To me arms are used more than just for balance. I think that it is a well-known theory that the speed of your arm movements translates to fast movements of your legs. So I would think that you need to use your arms to get a high cadence.

--Eric

Posted by: Eric Tobias at August 1, 2004 10:27 PM

being a slightly overweight person, I always used my arms to help myself move faster (can't really say it helped, but at least it felt like I needed to do something and it seemed like the thing to do). Anyway, I tried now to move my arms less and kind of just let them be and it felt strange because all over sudden it takes less effort for me to run.
I was wondering if there are certain things or exercises you recommend to do to train your arms to do the right thing?

Posted by: Paul.D at July 30, 2004 05:36 PM
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