Running with rocks
Credit: Kevin Arnold

Arms may not be the first thing you think of when running, but keeping them strong can help

As the owner of the Advanced Athletics Training Academy in Victoria, B.C., Marc St. Jules has trained several top Canadian runners. He says that most athletes don’t think much about their arms when running, but they should—having strong arms and using them properly are huge components of running efficiently. Work these arm drills into your run and you’ll be running faster before you know it.

1. Concentrate on keeping your arms in a plane: Most people cross their body when they swing their arms, wasting the energy their arms help create. Keep them at your side moving back and forth in line with the direction you’re going.

2. Add some weight: Get your arms stronger so they’ll help you longer. Carry light dumbbells (one or two pounds) for part of your run, or just pick up some rocks for a kilometre. A killer running-specific arm workout, says St.Jules, is to use those same dumbbells while running stairs.

3. Pull yourself up the hills: When you come to a hill, imagine there’s a rope to the top. Now pretend you are pulling yourself up it. Reach forward, grab the rope and pull it straight back. It will make the hill a little easier and keep your arms in the proper vertical plane.
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