In many people’s minds, upper-body exercises won’t build speed. To them, a strong and flexible lower body are all you need to run faster. However, the upper body does play an important role in speed development. If you don’t believe it, try running a sprint without moving your arms. Not so easy, right?
Weighted Arm Swings work on that arm drive motion that is so crucial to speed. This exercise targets the muscle groups that play a role in driving your arms and helps build muscle memory. Olympic sprinters like Tyson Gay and Ronald Forbes use variations of Weighted Arm Swings to help them get an edge.
“[With this exercise], my arms are going to be more open when I’m sprinting, which allows me to get a bigger step and cover more ground,” Gay says.
How to Perform Weighted Arm Swings
- Use light dumbbells or plates, since too much weight will throw off your form.
- Assume a staggered stance and hold the dumbbells by your sides, leaning your upper body slightly forward.
- Drive your arms forward and back as if you were running, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees, and rotate at the shoulder.
Sets/Reps: 3×20-30 second intervals