Presented by

This week's column:

Six Simple Steps to Straight Line Speed

No. 4: Arm Swing

Aug. 24, 2011




Sara Sayasane sprinting

Sara Sayasane leads the sprint in the San Francisco Inline Marathon.

photo: Michael Chevedden


Ask the Coach!

How you swing your arms when you skate depends on your speed. When cruising at moderate speed, your arms should essentially float. That is to say, they should be relaxed and loose with no tension and no forcing.

But when sprinting, arm swing is more exaggerated. You swing your arm back until it forms an angle of about 45 degrees with your back.

Then, on the return swing, you bend the arm at the elbow, move it past the hip and bring it up until your hand is just past the far side of your nose.

But don’t get too wild. Swinging the hands past the shoulders can twist your torso out of alignment, and swinging the hands up and over the head can cause bobbing. Either way, the extra movement wastes energy and can cost you a heart beat or two, just when you are headed into oxygen debt and need all your strength.

You can get even more from your arm swing if you consciously pull your arms through on the upswing. Time-trial world champions Derek Parra and Tony Muse credited this “pulling through” technique with generating extra speed during high-speed sprints.

Skaters often neglect to learn proper arm swing technique. Don't make that mistake. Remember that, especially for fast sprinting, what you do with your arms is as important as what you do with your legs.

Cheers, Bill

No. 5: The 'D' Loop Recovery

Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your

World renowned coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating in his weekly advice column, "Ask Bill Begg!" ... Every Wednesday on the Inline Planet.