In a normal stride, arm swing plays a very important role since it counterbalances body rotation, regulates cadence (steps per minute), increases forward motion, and provides some lift for the runner.
The backward-swing motion of a runner's arm helps to increase forward motion. It does this by counter-balancing the support and push-off actions of the leg that is currently in contact with the ground. In contrast, the forward-arm-swing acts both as a rest period in preparation for the backward motion and as a counterbalancing action for the airborne leg that is in the recovery phase. Without these counter-balancing functions, your body would have very little rotational stability.
Though minimal compared to leg action, the runner's arm motion also propels the runner's body upward providing a certain amount of lift. You will often see many runners trying to compensate for weakness in their lower extremity by increasing their arm motion.
Ideally the runner's arms should be able to swing freely at the side of their body in a relaxed, straight motion. The runners arms should swing the same distance back as forward, much like a clock pendulum moving in a straight line with no lateral deviations. The correct execution of this action has a considerable positive effect on maintaining a constant horizontal velocity.
Even minor restrictions in a runner's shoulders results in wasted energy, decreased performance, and possibly injury. In many cases, an appropriately designed exercise program can eliminate these problems.
For chronic restrictions, a few sessions of Active Release, Graston will help you to increase your performance.
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