It comes as no surprise that your legs and glutes provide the majority of the power that propels you along your running track. While there’s no doubt that strengthening these areas should yield good results and boost running performance , there’s a part of the body that runners often overlook. The upper body and arms should be factored in to cross-training discipline, as there can be benefits gained from strengthening these areas.
Exaggerated arm swing on one side
Your arms travel as a counterbalance to your legs while running. If you notice one arm working harder or swinging more, it could indicate an overall imbalance in your gait. You may find your glutes are weaker on one side, and the exaggerated arm swing is your body’s way of compensating. There is no doubt that your running performance can be affected by this imbalance. If you completely neglect to train your upper body, an overall efficiency deficit could occur, as your upper body struggles to match the strength of your legs.
Do you hunch your shoulders or carry tension in your elbows?
Your arms should be as relaxed as possible during runs to maximise running performance – any energy you spend tightening up is just wasted and can’t be used to carry you further. Keep your arms bent at an approximate 90-degree angle, and don’t forget to relax your hands, too. If you feel your shoulders hunching, drop your arms to your sides, raise them out horizontally and give them a shake.
Do your arms flap out and away from your body?
This could indicate a balance issue. You may have weakness in your glutes or abs, and your arms may swing out wide to help counterbalance that. Try doing core strengthening work like planks, but avoid spine-curling exercises like crunches.
While your arms may not provide a great deal of power overall, they may be the difference between scoring a new PB, or not. They provide less than half of one percent of forward velocity during long distance runs, but that small contribution could be just what you need on that final push to the finish.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.
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