Run Faster with More Effective Arm Swings

In the last post, I described how to use your arms to run better. Now, if you want to get stronger, faster, and more proficient with your movements, practice the arm drive. This exercise will improve your arm swings when you add it to your training program twice a week.

 

Here is how to perform the arm drive:

 

1. Relax the shoulders, and keep a straight spine. Imagine a straight line drawn from your head, through your shoulders to your hip. Bend the elbows to 90 degrees. Use 5 lb. dumbbells in each hand to create a pendulum-like swing from your shoulders.

 

2. While keeping your elbows bent, reciprocally swing your arms straight forward and back like a pendulum. Keep your body aligned in a straight position, and focus the movement to occur at the shoulder joint.

 

3. Keep the arms moving in a straight plane, and don’t let them cross your body. While running, if your arms cross your body, it will cause too much force and will result in too much torque and biomechanical ineffectiveness.

 

4. When your arm is on the downswing, your hand should never pass the beginning of the gluteal muscles (buttocks) because when your arm goes further back you begin to straighten the arm out, which slows you down.

 

5. Perform this movement 10 times on each side. Do two or three sets.

 

Click on this link to see my video of this exercise: http://www.ehow.com/video_12337903_exercise-plans-track-athletes.html

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe, a HealthEase Assistant Manager, is a former professional soccer player in Philadelphia. A personal trainer and group exercise instructor, Joe trains clients and teaches a variety of group exercise classes, including Spin, Step, and Boot Camp. He is also a member of the National Council of Strength & Fitness. Within the fitness industry, Joe aims to make a positive impact on each and every person he encounters.

More Posts

Run with Your Arms!

To run fast, you need good leg movement. No surprise there. However, runners tend to forget it’s a full-body motion and that arm swings play an important role in your running mechanics.

 

Arm swings help your forward propulsion and balance when you run. They are the reciprocal reaction of leg movement. The backward motion of the arm swing helps the opposite leg to push off the ground and, in turn, sets your speed.

 

FIVE TIPS FOR RUNNERS TO MAKE BETTER USE OF THE ARMS:

  1. Relax your hands. When you start to clench your fists that tightness spreads through your forearms, biceps, shoulders, neck, and face. Once you tighten up and lose range of motion in your arms, your stride shortens.
  2. Swing your arms. Speed is a product of stride length and stride frequency, which are determined, in part, by the motion of the arms. If you are lazy or passive with your arm action, you limit your potential for speed.
  3. Watch your arm angles. Your front arm angle should be between 60 and 90 degrees at the elbow, and your back arm should be between 90 and 120 degrees at the elbow. Outside of this range, you’ll run slower and get tired faster.
  4. Lock your elbows. Elbow angle should only change slightly, as a result of elastic response.
  5. Maintain your arms’ range of motion. It should generally be hip to cheek. That is, the hand clears the hip in the back and comes up to about cheek height in front. If you go beyond that, in either direction, you risk injury to the muscles.

In my next posting I will provide exercises to build better arm swings.

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe, a HealthEase Assistant Manager, is a former professional soccer player in Philadelphia. A personal trainer and group exercise instructor, Joe trains clients and teaches a variety of group exercise classes, including Spin, Step, and Boot Camp. He is also a member of the National Council of Strength & Fitness. Within the fitness industry, Joe aims to make a positive impact on each and every person he encounters.

More Posts

Training Assistance for the Blind Exerciser

As a personal trainer, I have helped clients with a wide range of needs. One client in particular stands out because he is blind. This changed my approach to every step of the training process, which is naturally very visual.

 

I implemented a new system of teaching to accommodate my client’s lack of sight and after 18 months of training together he has made impressive strides in reaching his fitness goals as well as in his ability to flow easily through the movements.

 

Here are a few of my techniques that I recommend other trainers use when assisting someone with a sight deficiency:

 

Verbal Cues

 

When implementing verbal cues, break the movement down with as much verbal information as possible. Let’s use the example of a Push-up to demonstrate what I mean.  I would first guide him to an open space. I would then take a few steps in front of him and let him know it’s okay to drop down to his knees on the floor, followed by lying flat on the floor face down.  I would then break the movement down step by step. I would guide his hands to the correct positioning and tell him to straighten his arms until he was holding his torso up at an arm’s length. I would explain his head positioning, and how his body should feel at his major points (such as his shoulders, hips, etc.).  The next cue would be to lower himself downward until his chest almost touches the floor, and he should be inhaling on this step. The following step would be to explain breathing out and pressing his upper body back to the starting position primarily using his chest muscles. This would be the first rep. I would then explain any faults, such as incorrect head placement or flared elbows.

 

Physical Contact

 

It will be necessary to physically guide a blind person through the motion. After gaining permission from the client, use what I call a “ghost” motion. This means I guide the person’s body to move in the correct while explaining how each joint should bend and the form should feel to him.

 

Form

 

When you have a client without sight they will have trouble with spatial recognition.  Movements like the lunge or the jumping jack will be harder to teach, but guiding them by the sound of your voice to “step to my voice” will help them with feet placement, rhythm, etc.

 

Mind-Muscle Connection

 

We want the brain to connect to the movements, and the instructions should be explained as perfectly as possible.  At the beginning of the session I want to work on centering the breath. I then have him follow this step with the Performance Statement. In this step, the client reiterates the steps for executing the movement. We then start the workout and after I explain a movement, I will move him to the Personal Highlight Reel Zone.  In this zone, I have him imagine the last time we did this movement, which I am tracking, and to remember the experience. The next step in mind-muscle connection is the Identity Statement. This step is when I remind my client of how much work we have done, and the strides we have taken. This is positive reinforcement to help them push past their plateaus.  The final step of the workout is to work on centering their breath again as well as lowering their heart rate back to normal.

 

Finally, always train people with the respect they deserve, regardless of any disability or limitation. Your clients trust your expertise and professionalism; make sure they are in good hands.      

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe

Joe Pepe, a HealthEase Assistant Manager, is a former professional soccer player in Philadelphia. A personal trainer and group exercise instructor, Joe trains clients and teaches a variety of group exercise classes, including Spin, Step, and Boot Camp. He is also a member of the National Council of Strength & Fitness. Within the fitness industry, Joe aims to make a positive impact on each and every person he encounters.

More Posts