Sports Reality
PERFORMANCE TRAINING AT ITS BEST Free Sports Performance Consultation

While tight hips are one of the most common problems we see in our Sports Reality athletes, another issue that we see on almost a daily basis is athletes not using their arms to run. This error is one of the first aspects of motor mechanics we work on when the problem presents itself. But why is using our arms when we run so important? When we run and jog our legs are throwing our body’s balance back and forth. We generally don’t notice this when we run and jog, and a great way to understand how this happens is to run with your arms held at your side—it’s not easy and feels uncomfortable. That awkward feeling is due to our arms not being able to counter-balance the movement of our legs which is necessary for us to propel our body in any direction. This act of balancing our arms perform aids us while we move by allowing the body to conserve energy because when we don’t use our arms, the act of balancing is put on our back, shoulders, and hips, which is not natural and results in more of our energy being spent. Another way proper arm swings help to conserve energy is by propelling ourselves in the direction we are heading. A good way to notice this is by running forward and then running backwards. The two directions demand different arm swings due to the direction in which the body is moving. Perhaps the best way to see this in action is to watch any professional athlete who regularly changes direction between running forwards and running backwards. Watch how their arms move; it’s based on how their legs move. Their legs are not moving the same way when they’re running forwards or backwards, so neither will their arms. Overall, pumping your arms when you run is the most natural way to run and is certainly the most efficient and effective. If you don’t think you are using your arms enough when you run, try it for yourself and feel the difference.

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