3 Arm Movement Tips to Enhance Running Efficiency

May 21, 2024

Achieve Better Running Efficiency with Better Arm Movement

When we think about how to improve our running efficiency, we often instinctively focus on our legs and our leg cycle pattern. However, we often neglect our arm movements and do not fully appreciate just how crucial a role our arms play in our running success.

Have you ever experienced putting in extra effort while running, only to find that it doesn’t seem to significantly improve your performance? Despite feeling like you’re exerting more energy; you don’t see a notable difference in your results. It’s possible that while you’re working harder, you’re not working more efficiently. Much of the energy you’re exerting may be going to waste.

If you’ve ever noticed your arms swinging in front of your body and crossing the midline, you might be inadvertently creating unnecessary rotation through your trunk. Valuable energy is being wasted in this side-to-side movement, or lateral motion, instead of being used to propel you forward.

Here are some tips on how to use your arms to help you keep that forward momentum and improve your running efficiency:

  1. Keep Your Arms Parallel

Aim to keep your arms moving in a forward-backward motion rather than crossing in front of your body. Imagine your arms moving in parallel lines on either side of you.

  1. Elbow Angle

Maintain a roughly 90-degree bend at your elbows. This allows for a more controlled and efficient swing, reducing the chances of your arms crossing over.

  1. Move your hand Chin-to-pocket

A great movement to practice before is what we call chin-to-pocket. Imagine move your hands from your hip (pocket) all the way up in a straight line towards the side of your face (chin). It is a bit more of an exaggerated movement than what you would do on you run, but reminding your self to keep movement your hands chin-to-pocket will help you keep them straight and parallel to your body.