Does Running With Your Hands Behind You Make You Run Faster? – Truth Or Myth?

According to research done at the University of Michigan, extending your arms backward increases the running speed. Running with your hands behind the back is also known as the Naruto Run, which has everything to do with drag, a force that slows down the runner. Physics claims that drag is affected by various factors such as the velocity of the moving object, material density it will pass through, and the surface area of the object’s side facing the direction it is moving.

Naruto running is faster as it decreases the surface area affected by wind resistance that could reduce drag hence increasing speed. However, this theory may not work and is inefficient because Naruto running might not utilize the body to its full capabilities.

Will You Run Faster With Your Hands Behind Your Back?

Will You Run Faster With Your Hands Behind Your Back

The theory that running with your hands at the back makes you run faster is not true because you cannot get as much knee lift as it is in normal runs. Since your arms will not be swinging, you will have no counterbalance, which means your tripping chances will increase. Running with your hands behind may mentally slow you down since knowing the run is more dangerous can affect you psychologically.

What To Do To Run More Efficiently

What To Do To Run More Efficiently

If you watch a group of professional runners, you will notice that they all drive their elbows far back with every stride. Moving your arms backward shifts the balance more upright and forward and makes the feet land close beneath the body and push backward. The strategy also helps to ensure both movement and force travel in the forward and backward direction. Putting your arms in front of the body makes them swing back and forth across your midline, which misdirects motion and wastes force in the sideways and rotational movements.

Your arms affect balance and cadence and may influence the movement of your legs and feet subconsciously. Therefore, people who train runners claim that swinging arms is the most effective way of getting athletes to start running more efficiently.

How Can You Swing Your Arms Effectively?

If you want to determine whether your arms are swinging effectively, you should pay close attention to your hands. If you see your hands during a full stroke as you run while you look forward at the path ahead, you are probably swinging them too far ahead. Your hands should disappear below and behind the peripheral vision at every backswing.

You can touch your waistband with every stride to ensure that your arm drives back and opens up behind your body. Also, keep focusing on how you put the elbows behind your hips and only pump your arms backward.

Running involves creating a comfortable rhythm. Running with your arms relaxed down by the sides can make you very uncomfortable and place additional work on the back, hips, and legs. Arm swinging is an essential part of stabilizing the body as you run.

Arm swinging when running can help you reduce your overall energy expenditure and propel you forward. This improves your overall running rhythm by enabling the lifting of your body off the ground with every stride. Moreover, this helps relieve stress on the lower body while improving pelvic rotation and making things easy on the legs.

To improve your arm swing, you need to study your motion and follow the tips mentioned below to correct your arm swing’s form.

Bend The Elbows: When running, your elbow’s bend fluctuates a bit. Ensure that you keep the elbow bend in an 80–100-degree range so you can improve efficiency. The elbows should be tucked and close to the sides in the same motion place and avoid swinging them across your body.

Swing From Your Shoulders: Swing your arms from your shoulders rather than the elbow when moving them. Avoid lifting the shoulders up and down as you swing, which will help get rid of tension while staying relaxed. You should also avoid moving your shoulders forward and backward and instead keep your shoulder in a fixed position.

Relax The Hands: Clenching the hands into a fist causes the upper body to be tight, making it hard for you to keep the shoulders relaxed. Relaxing your hands will also make your arms relax.

Focus On Arm Drive: Improving your arm movement behind the body can be pretty challenging. If you focus on pushing the elbow backward, the forward motion happens naturally. Although it may take you some time to get used to and feel like you are working harder at first, increasing your arms’ drive removes the strain from the legs and makes it easy to lift your feet.

Bad Running Habits And How To Avoid Them

Swinging The Hands Across The Body

When running, all the movement should be forward or back. Running in other motion will sap energy. If you cross your hands over your body’s midline, you will force your upper body to work harder, and you will also cross your legs over each other. Ensure that you are aware of where your arms are at all times to break away from this habit.

Looking At The Feet

Looking down at the feet cuts off valuable oxygen. Therefore, you should avoid looking where you are and instead look at least a few feet ahead of you.

Squeezing The Fists

If you squeeze your fists, you put a lot of pressure on your hands which then transfer to the forearms and shoulders. That energy then travels to all parts of your body. You can feel the pressure of not relaxing your arms and hands on your legs. If you feel like the body is tightening up, you should let your arms fall to the sides and loosen the shoulder, shaking out your hands.


Some people believe that running with your hands behind you can make you run faster. However, this is a myth as the only effective way to increase your speed is to run while winging your arms.

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