All too frequently, when focusing on running technique the main areas addressed are the biomechanics of the legs and feet, but what about the movements and use of the upper body and arms?
In my coaching experience, there are huge gains to be made for an athlete when they learn to integrate correct arm and upper body mechanics into their technique.
Its useful for individuals to strike a balance between:
– Using the arms actively to maintain rhythm and to set a steady leg cadence
– Generating power, balance and stability
– Staying relaxed and smooth
– Cutting out any excessive rotation through the torso by maintaining control of the arm swing
– Being efficient in their movements for the given pace
If you don’t believe how important your arm swing is, try this drill:
1) Jog on the spot
2) Keep your arms still by your side
Notice how much harder it is to run/balance with your arms still.
The added benefit of a stronger arm swing is that it adds elastic energy across your torso. With opposite arm moving with opposite leg, as they both come back you get a great store of elasticity in your muscles as your stretch from shoulder to hip. This helps give us free energy to “ping” them forward for the next stride.
Your hands and fingers can still be nice and relaxed – no need to run like a track sprinter! They can just act as the pendulum weights on the ends of your forearms.