8 Arm Swing Tips for Skating
- The proper arm swing for the forward stride is forward and backward, along the same diagonal lines as, and in rhythm with, the legs.
- Arms should match legs in terms of force, direction of movement and range of motion. As in running, the right arm drives forward as the right leg drives back.
- Each arm-swing cycle finishes with one arm extended diagonally forward and the other extended diagonally back; the palms of both hands face upward. An imaginary line is formed between the right hand and foot and between the left hand and foot. The arms never cross this imaginary line.
- The arms never cross the midline of the body because this creates lateral motion instead of forward motion.
- The elbows stay close to the ribs as the arms move forward and backward. If the arms move in a wide arc—with elbows far away from the ribs—the arms are forced to swing from side to side, and they will cross the midline of the body.
- Excessive churning of the arms is a waste of energy.
- The upper body stays square to the line of travel during each arm swing; it does not turn or twist from side to side. The shoulders should move easily and stay level with the ice.
- Since the arms and legs work in unison, full arm extension encourages full leg extension. A short, choppy arm swing encourages a short, choppy stride. Think of the windup for a softball pitch or bowling throw. A full backswing sets up forward motion on the throw. Similarly, in skating, a full backswing helps drive the body weight forward.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Laura Stamm of Laura Stamm Power Skating for this story. Kelly Anton, managing editor of the Grow the Game initiative, edited this story.
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