Runners’ legs get all the attention. But if you neglect your upper body, you’re missing out on an opportunity to become a faster, more efficient runner.
Krista Schultz, M.Ed., C.S.C.S., exercise physiologist, coach, and co-owner of Endurance Works in Boulder, Colorado, says,
“Working your arms, shoulders, and back increases muscle strength and promotes good posture, which improves breathing and arm swing.”
Arm swing is the X factor in running well. It drives our body forward and helps maintain cadence and rhythm. Distance runners benefit even more from a strong upper body, because our shoulders tend to slump and hunch as we get fatigued. The drooped posture will ultimately slow us down and could result in injury.
An added benefit: most upper body exercises require a tightened core to keep balance and form, so pumping iron for our uppermost muscles will also enhance our abs and core strength!
Finally, strong arms and shoulders can also give runners an essential boost of speed and a solid upper body can help us maintain balance. Exercise your upper half to get that agility and final burst of swiftness as your approach the finish line!
Now is a good time to chat about our arm form while running…
The proper way to hold your arms when running:
- Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle or less
- Let your arms swing loosely in the direction in which you are running (your arms should not cross the centerline!)
- Keep your hands relaxed with your palms facing inward. Your thumb and index finger should be touching lightly
- Focus on pushing your elbows back rather than pulling them forward
If you’re not sure if you are using your arms correctly while you’re running you can ask a friend to watch, or you can ask someone to video you running and send it to me. I will be happy to give you some feedback!
On to Day 2…we are going to slow things down with our arm exercises and use each rep to build strength and resistance. Use a count of 5 on your way down with each exercise. You will feel the burn much more doing these slowly. If that means you only have time for 2 sets instead of 3, that is fine!
Day 2 exercises: 2 – 3 Sets of 10
- Push Ups
- Tricep Dips
- Bicep Curls
- :60 High Plank (1X)
- Arm Stretches
Arm Stretches: We don’t pay much attention to our arms so after this tough workout it’s important to give them a good stretch. :30 for each one will help with the stiffness and soreness.
“How to” videos: Push ups, Tricep Dips & Bicep Curls
Slow Push Ups:
Tricep Dips: This video doesn’t show the slow motion, but I think you can figure out how to slow it down for maximum impact.
Bicep Curls: Again…slow it down. Love Michelle Trapp!
High Plank: :60 here Crew. You got this!
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