How to Keep Your Elbows from Sticking Out When You Run

By Jae Gruenke | Natural Running Form

Sep 27

“Don’t stick your elbows out” is pretty common running form advice, and yet it’s a real struggle to follow. This blog post and video will sort it out completely for you.

There are two ways to keep your elbows close to your sides in running, which I explain and demonstrate in the video below.

The first is to use your rotator cuff to turn your arm so it will swing front-to-back, and the second is to activate the muscles of your upper back to bring your shoulder blades closer together. Many runners combine these two approaches.

Ready to go out and give it a try? DON’T! As the saying goes, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Both of these techniques for keeping your elbows in have a number of really negative effects on your running form and will set you up for a variety of injuries, gait dysfunctions (including quad dominance), and disappointing performance. And your running will be no fun at all.

In fact, the advice to keep your elbows from sticking out is just bad advice, period. The way running works requires that they stick out somewhat. There is such a thing as too much, but that’s not nearly as bad as not enough, so don’t try to fix this.

I explain why this is so in the video below. Please share it with whoever told you to keep your elbows in. 🙂

Find a good groove for your armswing by improving your whole-body movement. My free Mind Your Running Challenge is a great place to start. Sign up here:

 The Mind Your Running Challenge

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About the Author

Jae Gruenke, GCFP, is a running technique expert and Feldenkrais Practitioner. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. She has helped runners from beginner to Olympian improve their form to become pain-free, economical, and fast.

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