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Uphill Challenge

A form exercise that teaches the importance of the arm swing, especially for hill-running, and promotes improvements in arm technique and arm power

Tags: middle school, form



  1. Hold your arms behind your back and charge full speed up a hill.
  2. Repeat a few times.
  3. Then, run up the hill normally using your best arm action.
  4. Repeat a few times.
  5. Note the differences in comfort, power, and speed in armless running versus normal running.
  6. For a more playful version of the activity, restrain the arm swing by carrying two small cups, each filled halfway with water. Or try balancing tennis balls on big spoons in each hand. The goal is to not spill the water or drop the balls. The key is to keep running at full speed – no walking!

Performance Points:

  • Run at full speed up the hill, both with and without using the arms.
  • When running with arm swing:
    • Drive the arms powerfully.
    • Keep the elbows bent at about a 90 degree angle and swing the arms from the shoulder, not the elbow.
    • Swing the arms straight, forward and back, without any sideways movement.
    • Keep the shoulders and hands relaxed.
    • Maintain relaxed upright posture, with only a slight forward lean; don't hunch too far forward.
    • Lift the knees higher than when running on a flat surface.
    • Extend the driving leg by powerfully straightening it at the ankle, knee, and hip joint.

Training Specifics:

When: As the main workout

You Need:

  • A moderate hill
  • Optional: props such as large spoons and tennis balls or cups with water


  • Teaches the importance of the arm swing, especially for hill running
  • Promotes improvements in arm technique and arm power, which improves upper body balance and enables powerful and efficient leg movements

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