What Does It Do if You Hold Your Arms Up While Running?

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Runners seem to have many different techniques for their daily sprints. Some keep their arms down, some pump their arms over their heads and some hold their arms at their waist. It may seem like simply a case of personal preference, but using proper technique while running can make a big difference in your endurance.

Purpose

  • You might not realize it, but your arms play a big role in how well you run. How you hold your arms when you run can cause you to run faster or take longer strides. Holding your arms wrong can also cause your run to be more difficult, potentially making the distance you can run quite a bit shorter. If you're not running efficiently because you're holding your arms wrong, you might become frustrated with the sport and give it up.

Arm Placement

  • Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, keeping your arms close to your body so your elbows don't open too wide or collapse inward. Don't let your hands swing above your chest or below your waist. If your hands swing too low, you'll bounce more when you run. If your hands swing too high, you'll get fatigued faster, your shoulders will tense up and your steps will get shorter. Also, don't let your hands cross in front of your midsection, because this too will fatigue you more. By keeping a proper posture, you'll be able to keep your running motion smooth and rotate your hips fully.

Shoulders Down

  • Hold your shoulders parallel to the ground, keeping the muscles relaxed, without pulling your shoulder blades together as you run. If you hold your shoulders too tightly, your muscles will tense up when you run and you'll get fatigued faster. Let your shoulders roll forward slightly and hang loose. You may feel tempted to lift them when you run, but don't. Tensing your shoulders and holding them up can cause your shoulder, neck and upper back to feel sore. If you feel your shoulders tightening when you're running, drop them and shake them out lightly.

Hands and Elbows

  • Hold your hands loosely when you run to avoid increasing tension, which will cause you to feel more fatigued. Keep your wrists loose too. Some runners suggest that you pretend you're holding a butterfly in your hands that you don't want to crush. While you're holding your hands loosely, focus on pushing your elbows back when you run instead of pulling them forward. This will keep your stride easier and lighter.

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  • Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
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