Run Drills: Active Arms = Better Run Efficiency and Performance

Done correctly, running drills improve run skill and overall performance. Often, drill focus is on lower extremity movement but the arms play a very important role in stride mechanics.

Here is a simple drill that can easily be incorporated in warm-up, main-sets, warm-down, or long run.

The Drill: While running, exaggerate the movement of the shoulder joint with a goal of raising the elbow behind you as far as possible.

  • A common challenge is cadence will slow due to the exaggerated arm movement. Strive to keep the cadence at 90+ even with the larger arm movement. The back may feel tight, the stride feel awkward. That is okay. You’re feeling new movement patterns and improving run mechanics.
  • Another challenge is looking down which collapses the torso. Be sure to look up. Elbow movement behind may be limited indicating a need to stretch or other physical limitation. As with any movement, only work within the parameters of your ability.

The video demonstrates the drill. This athlete does an awesome job of staying tall but does find her cadence slowing. Like most of us, she has some homework to do but that is the joy of performance progression.

Train Safe and Run Fast!

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