Often times when athletes want to get stronger or faster, their training plan focuses on lifting weights and running sprint after sprint. While of course strength training and conditioning does help athletes improve their performance, that alone will not get them faster.
In order to improve speed, you must first know how to move. Incorrect running technique can often prevent athletes from reaching their highest potential. Speed comes from more than just the legs; it is a whole body process. The arms are a crucial component in improving speed and reaching top speed and performance.
Proper Arm Action & Speed
Proper arm action and speed go hand in hand. What an athlete does with the arms while they move is directly related to how fast they will go.
The arms stabilize the torso which allows for athlete’s power to transfer through their hips and legs. The arms and feet work together. Correct arm movement or “swing” results in correct foot movement. The faster athletes move their arms, the quicker their feet will go and the faster they will be.
The more erratic the arm movements are, the more unbalanced their torso and feet will be, ultimately slowing athletes down. If the arms are moving in an uncontrolled motion, the center of gravity will be thrown off and an athlete will lose forward momentum.
Arms produce power and power produces speed. When athletes learn how to use their arms correctly, they learn how to move correctly and thus will move faster.
Here are a few key things to look for to ensure your athlete is moving with the proper arm actions:
- Elbow angle is at 90 degrees
- The hand is open rather than a clenched fist
- The hand should hit the height of your back pocket on the back swing
- The hand should hit your cheek on the upswing
All of these cues will produce power and speed that your athlete needs in order to move faster and reach their maximum power.
Take a look at this video from Parisi Franklin Lakes that highlights proper arm actions and its importance!