6 - HOW TO HOLD AND USE YOUR ARMS AND HANDS
1. Arm swing is very important as it counterbalances the motion of the legs and fascilitates hip rotation. Some argue that an aggressive (but controlled) arm swing can help develop more power in the rotation of the torso--which can then mean more power to the legs.
2. Bend the elbows at about an 85-degree angle and continually hold at that angle. Avoid the tendency to pump the forearms up and down (i.e., opening and closing the elbow angle) during each swing cycle. As exceptions, the elbows can be held at something less than 85 degrees when sprinting or if taking shorter, quicker steps while going uphill; and can be held at something more than 85 degrees if taking somewhat longer steps while going downhill.
3. Hold the hands in a relaxed fist with the fist traveling from (or just behind) the waistband to an area no more than sternum high and not crossing the centerline of the body. In general, the fist should not pass far enough behind the body for light to be seen between them.
4. Keep the elbows close to the body during their swing cycle. Do not "chickenwing," a term that refers to elbows flailing around well away from the body.
5. If you want a simple demonstration of the value of a proper arm swing while racewalking, try race walking with your bent arms glued to your chest or planted on top of your head--and not swinging at all. If you want a simple demonstration of the value of the proper elbow bend, try race walking with the arms straight--then incrementally increase the angle of the elbows until your fists are touching your shoulders.
Icabod holds his elbows at a constant angle, not opening and closing the angle during his arm swings.