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Role of Arm Mechanics During Sprint Running: A Review of the Literature and Practical Applications

Macadam, Paul, MSE1; Cronin, John B., PhD1,2; Uthoff, Aaron M., MSc, CSCS1; Johnston, Michael, PhD3,4; Knicker, Axel J., PhD5

Strength & Conditioning Journal: October 2018 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - p 14–23
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000391
Article

ABSTRACT THE IMPORTANCE OF ARM ACTION DURING SPRINT RUNNING HAS BEEN AN ONGOING DISCUSSION AMONG PRACTITIONERS. ALTHOUGH SOME COACHES BELIEVE THAT THE ARMS SERVE TO MERELY PROVIDE BALANCE TO THE ROTARY MOMENTUM OF THE LEGS, OTHERS BELIEVE THAT THE ARMS ARE VITAL TO SPRINT RUNNING PERFORMANCE AND CONTRIBUTE TO PROPULSIVE FORCES. ALTHOUGH A LARGE BODY OF RESEARCH HAS BEEN UNDERTAKEN INTO THE EFFECTS OF LEG KINEMATICS AND KINETICS ON SPRINT RUNNING PERFORMANCE, THE ROLE OF ARM ACTION REMAINS AMBIGUOUS AND UNDERINVESTIGATED. THEREFORE, THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW IS TO IMPROVE UNDERSTANDING RELATED TO ARM MECHANICS DURING SPRINT RUNNING AND PROVIDE PRACTICAL CONTEXT GUIDELINES.

1Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT Millennium, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand;

2School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia;

3British Athletics, National Performance Institute, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom;

4A-STEM, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom; and

5Institute of Movement and Neuroscience, Research Centre for Neuromechanics and Neuroplasticity, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany

Address correspondence to Paul Macadam, paul.macadam@gmail.com.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Paul Macadam is a PhD candidate at Auckland University of Technology.

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John B. Cronin is a Professor of Strength and Conditioning at Auckland University of Technology and holds an adjunct professorial position at Edith Cowan University .

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Aaron M. Uthoff is a PhD candidate at Auckland University of Technology.

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Michael Johnston is Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for the British Athletics team.

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Axel J. Knicker is a Senior Lecturer of Movement and Neuroscience at German Sport University Cologne.

© 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association