Training the Arm Swing for High Performance

by Nicholas Mortensen, PhD, CSCS, USAW
NSCA Coach May 2024
Vol 11, Issue 1


This article explains the connections between the upper and lower body and their influence on performance and recovery strategies in sprinting.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach Â»

Related Reading



  1. Arellano, CJ, and Kram, R. The metabolic cost of human running: Is swinging the arms worth it? Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 2456-2461, 2014.
  2. Benz, A, Winkelman, N, Porter, J, and Nimphius, S. Coaching instructions and cues for enhancing sprint performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal 38(1): 1-11, 2016.
  3. Brooks, LC, Weyand, PG, and Clark, KP. Does restricting arm motion compromise short sprint running performance? Gait and Posture 94: 114-118, 2022.
  4. Clemens, H, and Myers, T. A research review of Jan Wilke’s ‘What is evidence-based about myofascial chains?’ by Holly Clemens. 2016. Retrieved September 2023 from https://www. myofascial-chains-holly-clemens/.
  5. Haugen, T, Seiler, S, Sanbakk, O, and Tonnessen, E. The training and development of elite sprint performance: An integration of scientific and best practice literature. Sports Medicine – Open 5(1): 44, 2019.
  6. Hamner, SR, Seth, A, and Delp, SL. Muscle contributions to propulsion and support during running. Journal of Biomechanics 43(14): 2709-2716, 2010.
  7. Hinrichs, RN, Cavanagh PR, and Williams KR. Upper extremity function in running. Center of mass and propulsion considerations. International Journal of Sport Biomechanics 3: 222-241, 1987.
  8. Hutchinson, A. There’s new data on how your arm swing affects running. 2022. Retrieved December 2023 from
  9. Ignjatovic, AM, Markovic, ZM, and Radovanovic, DS. Effects of 12-week medicine ball training on muscle strength and power in young female handball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(8): 2166-2173, 2012.
  10. National Collegiate Athletic Association. NCAA Division 1 Championships. Retrieved December 2023 from https://www.ncaa. com/sites/default/files/external/track-field/results/d1/outdoor17/ final/023-1_compiled.htm.
  11. Sackey, AS, Schutte, KH, and Venter, RE. Modifications in running kinematics in fatigued running, do not influence the oxygen cost of transport. International Journal Applied Exercise Physiology 8(1): 2322-3537, 2019.
  12. Wilke, J, Krause, F, Vogt, L, and Banzer, W. What is evidencebased about myofascial chains: A systematic review. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 97(3): 454-461, 2016.
About the author

Nicholas Mortensen

Nicholas Mortensen is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Exercise Science at Siena Heights University. He is also an adjunct professor ...

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