Want to get faster? Maybe you need to change the focus away from moving your legs faster and start to think about moving your arms faster. Many people think the secret to sprinting and getting faster, is they need to have powerful legs, however, while the legs are important, how powerful the arm swing is, also almost equally important.
How is this so?
When an athletes arms are engaged, the body moves faster. The reason for this is that a powerful arm swing increases the efficiency of the legs during the running process. The arm swing reduces the necessary work and energy of the legs because the arms stabilize the torso which lets power efficiently transfer through the hips and legs. The arms in motion allows the chest to open up, allowing a more natural breathing pattern, and thus allowing forward momentum to be sustained more easily. Increasing the speed of the arm swing will increase the turnover of your feet.
In order to get the power of your arms to transfer to the torso, hips and legs, the arms cannot cross or “flap”. This action of crossing in front of the body in a powerful manner throws off the body’s center of gravity, which throws off the body’s balance and causes you to lose forward momentum. In order to use the arms to produce power and speed they need to power forward and back. To do this a 90 degree elbow angle needs to be maintained, so that the power generated is pushing forward, not sideward. An open hand is preferred to a clenched fist,. This hand should rotate up to your cheek and on the way back, driving the elbow back using the shoulder as the pivot point is crucial. The hand on the backswing will be around the height of the back pocket to get a maximum power push.
The mechanics of arm action is just one of the areas we focus on in our linear speed class. We know that if we get the mechanics of powerful arms synced to proper mechanics of powerful legs, we have a truly powerful athlete!
If you have questions on running mechanics or becoming a stronger, faster, more powerful athlete, please let us know! We will be happy to help!