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The Arms Controversy | Boddicker Performance

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The Arms Controversy

by on Mar 3rd, 2009

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We’ve all been there before…entering that last 100m and starting to lock up. It’s about that point where one will likely here “BIG ARMS” or “PUMP YOUR ARMS” or something similar from a coach in the crowd. The theory is that big arm action drives leg action, and you’ll be able to finish stronger. It’s reasonably well accepted that driving your elbows back and through will improve your finishing speed, but it is factual?

A recent study in the February 2009 Journal of Experimental Biology offers evidence that the arms are not driven by the shoulder muscles in running. Those with restricted arm swing performed equally well as those who didn’t. The researchers concluded that the shoulders act primarily elastically to connect the pelvis, shoulder girdle, and arms. Arm swing is a passive reaction to energy transferred from the lower body, and it’s primary purpose is to offset torso and head rotation during gait.

Does it mean that focusing on your arm swing won’t help at the end of a race? You tell me. Does it make you faster? If so, keep doing it.

-Carson Boddicker

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