How to Do the Floating Arms Experiment

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This experiment is an activity that many kids learn in science class. It demonstrates how your muscles release restrained energy. In the experiment, you press your arms against both sides of a doorframe or against a stationary object, and the mind tells the muscles to stay floating in position for a few moments after you release your arms.

  • Stand in the doorway with your arms at your sides relaxed.

  • Raise your arms slowly until the back of your hands touch the doorjamb, the surface that the door touches when you close it.

  • Continue to press your hands into the doorjamb for one minute, exerting as much pressure as you can without hurting yourself. Press hard with consistent power for the entire time.

  • Step out of the doorway and into the room while relaxing your arms.

  • Feel your arms rise as if they are floating. Your muscles have released the energy you exerted and stored when you pushed against the restraining doorway.

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