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 arm swing?

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.

In distance runners, I try to coach 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
For distance runners the active swing and rhythm of arms can provide a great trigger to “keep the legs turning over” when fatigue kicks in during the latter parts of a race.

Arm Swing


Try this drill – Arm Pull Backs:

Why: Arm pull-backs develop a compact arm swing and help create the tempo and rhythm of a high running cadence.

How: With a level head, level shoulders and a straight and slightly forward-leaning posture, jog forward while alternately pushing your arms backward as they are held at 90 degrees (or less). Concentrate on pulling your upper arm backward by contracting the muscles around the shoulder blades. Keep your arms swinging in a plane parallel to your torso and do not rotate your body to assist the movement.


Send us a message or leave a comment and let us know if you have any questions! We all have our own thoughts on the matter, and we all have something different that suits us.

See what’s up next week for our #RunFormFriday tip! For more in depth understanding on how to put this into practise, get in touch and we’ll see how we can help!