Tips for a proper arm swing
- Keep your arms at a 90-degree angle
To envision this, never let your hands drop below your waistline, or go above your shoulders. Think of your arms as a pendulum, moving smoothly back and forth, tucked closely to your body so the elbows aren’t opening out wide, or collapsing in. This will allow your hips to rotate fully so you are in fluid motion.
- Resist the urge to lift your shoulders
If your shoulders, neck, or upper back get sore when you run, it’s because your shoulders are moving up and down with every arm swing. To see what it feels like to run with no shoulder movement, stand up and put your right hand on your left shoulder. Swing your left arm back and forth, putting your mental focus on the point of your elbow. Switch sides. You may need to practice this a few times before the swing starts to feel natural, but you’ll remove the tightness and feel more relaxed as you run.
- Run with loose hands
Some runners clench their fists, which causes unnecessary muscle tension. Your fingers should be curled inward, as if you were running with an egg in each hand that you don’t want to crush. Keep your thumbs on top and don’t stick them down into your fingers. Your thumb position will also be a reminder to run with your palms facing each other, instead of with your palms facing down.
- Push your elbows back
Make the emphasis of your arm swing a backward push instead of a frontward pull. You’ll see that when you push your elbow back, your arm will naturally come forward on its own. The one exception is when you’re running up hills. Because of the increased effort, you’ll want to focus on moving your arms forward. It will take some of the work off your legs as you find your legs will lift up more easily.
As you can see, your arms are just as important as your legs when you run. There is a lot of information to remember about proper arm swing, so take it one step at a time. Soon you’ll notice a better flow in your running, and maybe even a new PR!