Changing your run form should happen globally. Run form is more than your legs, it’s about your whole body. What should you do with your arms when you run? Are you running and wasting energy by moving your arms? A lot athletes at one time or another heard someone tell them that moving their arms was wasting valuable energy that could be used by their lower body.
If you look at the entire body in motion during most activities you will see the utilization of trunk rotation to generate torque. For example, look at any golfer or hitter in baseball. They wind through their trunk, which automatically turns on our “core” muscles, pelvic floor, and pre loads the muscles of the hips, before exploding into the ball. Imagine this same golfer on the tee.. let’s watch him not engage his core and NOT rotate through his trunk… pretty much swing with only his arms. How far do you think that ball will go in comparison?
Moving your trunk generates large amounts of torque that benefits you as a runner
In normal walking as our left leg advances, the right arm comes forward as the upper body/trunk rotates. This is NORMAL motion. When we run, the same should happen; our trunk rotates opposite of the advancing leg and winds our core up to produce more torque and help stabilize our pelvis/hips. Running is a whole body activity and you should treat it as so.
Your body is designed to rotate. When we run, walk, swing a club, or throw, our upper body rotates opposite of our lower body. This opposite rotation engages crucial core muscles that stabilize your pelvis, hips, and spine.
[The image to the left displays this counter-rotation. As the right leg advances, so does the left shoulder. Note that it’s not about punching the arm across, but more spinal rotation.]
Stop fighting your natural motion
When you stop your upper body from rotating, you’re actually fighting your natural motion, producing less torque, and taking our bigger/strong muscles completely out of the equation.
Now here’s the catch.. your TRUNK should perform the rotation. A mobile thoracic spine is the key to performing this correctly and enjoying the benefits during your next run.
Take a look at the photo below. You can see the trunk rotate opposite of the advancing leg. This allows for stronger core contractions and better stabilization when we run.
If you’re told your wasting energy by moving your arms and trunk, simply smile and keep on keeping on. It’s a huge disservice to yourself to fight the natural motion of your body. How do you mobilize your thoracic spine, members can check out this exercise.