Technique > Upper Body and Waist > HANDS

Figure 1.
Marinelli Study
race walking in slow motion
Hold each hand in a relaxed first with the thumb on top and pressing lightly on the index finger. (Bonnie Stein, who teaches race walking in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, offers an image of a relaxed fist that works for me. Pretend you are holding a small bird, firm enough that it can't fly away, but soft enough that you do not hurt it.)
A review of photos of top race walkers often shows them with hands in all sorts of positions. Figure 1 at the top of this page is a good example. No matter how you hold you hands, there should be enough tension in them to keep them from flopping around.
Suggestion: (It works for me.) As you race walk with elbows bent at about 90 degrees and hands held in a relaxed fist, if you rotate your hands outward so the curled fingers are on top (thumbs away from each other), the angle of the arm swing will tend to move outward (away from my centerline). If you then rotate your hands inward so the curled fingers are on the bottom (thumbs toward each other), the angle of the arm swing will tend to move inward (toward my centerline). By rotating your hands inward and outward to different degrees, you should be able to adjust the angle of your arm swing quite naturally. (I find that having my thumbs near the top (about midway between the inward and outward rotational limits) gives me my desired angle of swing.)
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