April 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Part one primarily discussed the role the importance of relaxation in the shoulders (and relaxation throughout the body). The second quick tip that I think can be extremely beneficial, no particular order of importance, is arm drive. I posted an arm swing video here yesterday. A powerful, yet relaxed, arm drive according to Charlie Francis (who has said he has read research on this) slightly precedes leg action.
I have not read any research on arm drive, although I probably should, however, when the arms are pumping like pistons and the shoulders are kept relaxed, from personal experience, the sprint or acceleration does not feel forced. This is a great reason why power and strength exercises are needed for the upper body. Whether or not pumping your arms will make you faster is not the sole reason to promote good arm drive. The arms act as a counter balance of the opposite leg while running. Try running with your hands behind your back and you’ll realize how goofy it is. The point is that proper forward arm swing is needed as a counter balance as well as a mechanism for proper movement efficiency. The video below is short exercises that can teach good arm drive and good shoulder relaxation. A short possibly easy teaching tool for athletes to get into good arm rhythm.
*Progression is key= do not have inexperienced athletes perform this as fast as possible. Rather, start with more controlled arm swings so that you can notice any elevation of the shoulders. Once they can stay relaxed and keep that good arm drive, progress to faster more intense arm swings. This could be used specifically with track athletes as a warm-up to form running.