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want to run faster? use your arms!

Thoughtful Thursday! – Arm Swing in Running

Hey guys! Happy Thursday! Hope y’all are having an awesome week and that life is going well! Today’s Thoughtful Thursday blog post is going to discuss arm swing with running. I’m going to talk about why it’s so helpful to have a good arm swing, what a good arm swing motion looks like in running, and lastly some tips on how to improve your arm swing and implement those improvements into your stride.

Why is arm swing important with running?

First of all, proper arm swing with running helps keep your momentum going forward. Many people just let their arms hang at their side not using them as a way to propel themselves forward during running. This momentum and forward propulsion is especially helpful at the end of races as we start to fatigue and when we need more power like when going up a hill or responding to a surge in a race.

Our arms and our legs should be working together with the opposite arm and leg going forward at the same time. When we are using our arm swing well, our arm swing acts as a cue for our legs to pick up the pace or to push off more powerfully. This occurs due to the natural motion and balance that occurs while running. Our arms naturally swing some during the running motion and when our legs or arms speed up, the other tends to follow. If not, the result feels very unnatural and our body seeks to correct It by bringing our arms and legs back in sync.

So long story short, when we increase the force or rate of swing with our arms, our legs tend to respond to that cue and help drive us forward with increased speed, power, and cadence!

What does a good arm swing look like?

For a proper position for arm swing, you want your shoulders nice and relaxed with your elbows bent to about 90 degrees. This allows for a nice, smooth, and effortless motion of the arms and shouldn’t require excessive energy to maintain. Many runners tend to shrug their shoulders while running which makes it hard to use your arms, and also uses a lot of energy and can contribute to sore neck and upper back with running. Other runners try to hold their shoulders very still with running which doesn’t allow their arms to swing freely and also uses a lot of energy to maintain that posture. The key here is a nice relaxed posture that allows for an easy arm swing allowing us to keep our momentum going with as little energy as possible. The other thing to keep in mind is to make sure our arms aren’t crossing over our body and producing a twisting motion. When this happens, we lose energy as our arms are taking our motion side to side instead of straight ahead. This twisting arms swing is not efficient and isn’t helpful for keeping our momentum going in a straight line.

How do I improve my arm swing?

One of the best ways to improve your arm swing with running is to practice it while running! It sounds simple, but by thinking about what your arms are doing during a run, you will slowly start to improve your arm swing and begin to use it on a more frequent basis, like going up hills and picking up the pace to set a new PR! The other way to practice is to use this arm swing during running drills. I know I harp on running drills a lot, but they are a great way to practice good form and implement new

changes to your running technique.

Guys that’s our Thoughtful Thursday for this week! Thanks for reading and make sure you stay up to date with all things TEMPO TRAINING!

For a video that talks about arm swing with running, click here:

Until next time,


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