Organic Runner Mom

Running Form. Using Your Arms.

Running Form–What should you do with your Arms and Hands When you Run?

Running Form– How to Position Your Arms and Hands

Running Form– How to Position Your Arms and Hands

Recently I received my fantastic photos from the North Face endurance Challenge in Utah. They were too good not to buy. gorgeous scenery and I actually look like I am having fun when I am running. The more I looked at my pictures though the more I began to wonder, “What is going on

What am I doing with my hands when I run?

What am I doing with my hands when I run?

“Why are my hands open like I am about going to start dancing like a robot?”

Proper running form?

Proper running form?

“Am I bracing for a big fall?”

As I looked at my pictures I began to realize that I am not efficiently using a critical part of my body when I run sometimes, my ARMS! If I am not being efficient then I must not be going as fast as I truly can. When I was little and a figure skater my coach and my mom would constantly remind me to keep my hands and arms up in a strong position but I often let them droop. Apparently floppy hand and weak arm syndrome has transferred over to my running! I must fix this! But how?

Running Form: Proper arm and hand positioning

Your arms play an important role in your running. Your arm swing will help you to set your cadence and stride. The more strength and speed that you carry in your arms the stronger and faster your running stride will be. So what does proper arm and hand positioning look like when you run?

  • Keep your hands loose. Someone once told me to imagine holding a bag of potato chips in your hand. Your hand should be closed but not closed so tightly that you would “crush all of the chips!”
  • Your palms (in a loose fist) should be facing each other (If you look at my positioning in the picture my hands are in a totally incorrect position.
  • Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle. Think of your hips a a line and keep your arms in a 90 degree angle above your hips.
  • Stay relaxed through your shoulders so as not to waste energy.
  • Swing your elbows back and forth in a line.
  • Don’t swing your arms across your body as this will cause your hips to rotate.
  • Use your arm strength to propel your run forward. Use the strength that you have in your arms!

Hopefully these tips will help you. I definitely need to do some work on my running form especially when I start to get fatigued. It can be so easy to get lazy! Perhaps making some corrections to this flaw in my running form will bring me some more speed? Here’s hoping!

Here's one where my arms are in a much stronger position.

Here’s one where my arms are in a much stronger position.

What do you need to work on with your own running form? Do you have lazy arms when you run like me?

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19 responses

19 responses

  1. Some of the best runners I’ve seen have some of the worst running form. Coaches do what they can, but sometimes body mechanics are so ingrained or body types don’t allow for much change. If you really want to work on you arm position, I’d suggest paying special attention during specific workouts, like track speed work, where you can really focus on all-over good form.
    Debbie recently posted…The Striving for Balance WorkoutMy Profile

  2. I am guilty as charged with open hand syndrome as well. I always thought it was ok as I wasn’t tense and squeezing my fists. Who knew?

  3. Love that you call this “floppy hand and weak arm syndrome”….I always refer to waving arms as “floppy runner syndrome!” to my runners! I am really happy when it comes to my upper body posture and strength when I run, but my lower body still needs a lot of work. I am constantly working on my gait and keeping my feet straight…I apparently have “floppy foot syndrome”!
    Ariana recently posted…Get Better at Running By Not Running: Strength Training for RunnersMy Profile

  4. Way back, when I started running, I had a friend tell me to stop clenching my fists and to keep my hands low, near my waist. Turns out it was great advice!

    I always try to remember what my piano teacher told me when I was a kid: pretend I had an egg in my hands. If I clenched too hard, the egg would break. I think about that when I’m running. It’s amazing how much easier running is when your hands are loose!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Race Signs that are off the hookMy Profile

  5. The timing of this post is perfect. I have been thinking about my arms so much during my runs lately. I am trying to remember to run relaxed. I also feel like my upper body need more strength so I am starting to do more upper body strength work at the gym. I love the pics of you in Utah!! Such a beautiful place to run!
    Great tips – have a wonderful weekend! 🙂
    Natalie recently posted…Friday Favorites!!My Profile

  6. I’ve never really thought about my form when running before – especially not my arms. Part of the reason is probably because I can’t see myself when running unlike at the gym where the place is surrounded by mirrors.

    I like your tips though and forms something I’ll keep in mind when I’m next pounding the pavement.

  7. Awesome tips Sandra. This goes on the list of things I wish I had known when I started running. I was really really bad about clenching my fists that would eventually makes its way up to my shoulders.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. So funny you posted this and glad I am not the only one.

    After looking at my last race photos, I realized that if I could translate the energy I waste crossing my arms over my body to actual forward motion, I could speed up my run pace with NO EXTRA TRAINING!

    How is that for a win-win? This is my major goal to work on over the winter – ‘arm form’.
    Melanie Mitchell recently posted…Team Poppy Sports – Bonus GiftsMy Profile

  9. I totally have the same problem! I’m trying to focus on running form and there’s so much going on that I have to think about! I’m better about keeping my shoulders relaxed but my arms definitely do funny things! Thanks for this post!

  10. Pretty sure I carry my arms too high and clench my fists when I get tired. My bigger problems are in my lean…

    They are great photos 🙂
    AmyC recently posted…Long Run FunMy Profile

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