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The Most Ideal Way to Hold Your Arms While Running

Running Tip: Mind Your Arms

I have noticed that a lot of people hold their arms — known as arm carriage — differently when running. While some hold their arms low and to the side, others cross them in front of their body, so it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to share a technique that I have learned (and found) to be the most beneficial to my runs.

Here's the deal: Many runners hold their arms too high, which often results in neck and upper back pain. Furthermore, swinging your arms across the body wastes energy that you need to keep running. The most ideal way to hold your arms is so that your thumbs just barely brush below your hipbones (the top of your pelvis) with your palms facing in with each step. Focus on pumping your elbows backward and forward. In other words, do not cross your arms across your body. I like to think of it this way: Swing your arms in the direction you are traveling.


Join The Conversation
elle86 elle86 9 years
That's really interesting... I get neck pain a lot when I run!
Buffy2103 Buffy2103 9 years
Also, don't keep your hands too tight or in a fist or it will cause tension in your arms are back as well. My coach used to tell us to pretend we were holding a potato chip between our thumb and thrid finger, which keep your hands loose.
nancita nancita 9 years
I had no idea there was a proper way to hold your arms while running. Thanks!
lintacious lintacious 9 years
Yeah, I remember reading this on all the beginner's running articles on coolrunning or runnersworld. But it's still hard to do! I have a huge problem with either fisting my hands, or crossing my arms over my torso. I mainly do this when I get tired. I have to consciously remember to put my arms to my side, which is annoying to think about. But I do pump them harder when I am trying to fun faster.
marygrace marygrace 9 years
i'm not really sure where my arms are held while i run. it feels normal to me though, and i think if i tried to focus on holding them in another way it would seem unnatural and take my attention away from actually running, if that makes sense.
sportsaholic21 sportsaholic21 9 years
We used to spend an hour every day during the indoor season practicing our running form against the wall to optimize performance...I'm always critiquing the forms of the people at the gym (in my head) My coach always used to say "your hands should swing from your pocket to your jaw to produce speed"
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Wow, now I know...
AMP AMP 9 years
I hold my arms too high, and I'm constantly tensing my shoulders. I've been trying to release them and swing more freely, but its hard to re-learn how to run. I'm going to keep practicing though.
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 9 years
when i am running fast i pump my arms more but that was just what became habit in track. When i am going for a nice jog i do what is stated above
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
That is actally a good tip. Since I started running I have just been trying to watch others and pick up their techniques but they explains it perfectly :)
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