Most of the time, runners don’t give much thought to the size of their biceps. Why should they, too? Their legs ultimately matter the most. So upper body exercises are irrelevant for runners?

Can you go further with strong arms?

Depending on the style of the run, arm size and strength may influence how well you run:

Sprints & Arm Strength

This holds somewhat true for sprints. Sprinting aims to provide the most forward propulsion possible in the shortest amount of time. The runner is propelled forward by the added thrust from the arms. For this, having strong shoulders is especially vital. In competitive sports, where races are decided by hundredths of a second, arm strength can be the difference between win and defeat, even though it is less important than arm technique.

Runner distance & Arm strength:

Bulky arms are a disadvantage when it comes to long-distance running because arm strength has little to no effect on performance and only adds more weight. The proper method is what counts. From your hips down, your entire body moves in response to your arm swing. Your stride frequency automatically rises as you swing your arms more quickly. Since our brain coordinates the movements of our arms and legs, slow, prolonged swings have the opposite impact.


How to hold your arms correctly while running

  1. elbow bend should be no more than 90 degrees.
  2. Swing your arms lightly in the direction you’re running in (your arms should not cross the centerline)
  3. Maintain a relaxed grip with your palms facing in. Your thumb and index finger need to be gently in contact.
  4. Instead of dragging your elbows forward, concentrate on pushing them back.
  5. Your running form is effective because of the right arm technique. However, until you develop your upper body, you cannot run with the best form (especially your core muscles).

The benefits of upper body strength

Naturally, having strong leg muscles is essential for running quickly, but many runners disregard the value of upper body strength for effective running:

  • Your back and abdominal muscles are crucial for stabilizing your upper body. Your forward propulsion will be reduced as a result of compensating motions caused by a weak core.
  • You must have a strong upper body to ensure an effective flow of energy from your body to your legs. Without it, the right arm technique cannot support your legs as well as it should. You can run more quickly and with less energy if you use an effective running form.
  • Additional advantages include protecting your spine from the impact of running thanks to strong abdominal and back muscles. As a result, the minimization of the risk of injury depends on a strong core.

The best workouts for strengthening your stabilizing muscles (pelvic, stomach, and back muscles) are challenging total-body moves like planks, push-ups, and burpees. So be sure to incorporate them into your workouts as well!


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