Running Posture

Running Posture

Natural body mechanics are many – inclusive and diverse. However easy it might seem to grab your running shoes and start running, it is also just as easy to maintain a proper running posture. 

Running abilities are determined by your flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. Even if you’re an elite or a professional runner, there are performance practices that you should adhere to, especially with your running posture. In other words, running is easier when your running posture is fashioned to ensure that you do not get fatigued as easily.

Running posture plays a crucial role in ensuring that you get the health benefits from your running routine. Distance and speed used to run should be considered to pick on the right running mechanics to avoid injuries and physical breakdowns.

Table of Contents

The Aesthetics of Posture

Running Posture for Performance

Although this first point has nothing to do with health or physiology, we can all agree that your posture makes a statement about you as a person. So whether you are running, walking through a park, or just standing talking to a friend, posture is important. It makes a statement and projects a certain image about you as a person.

So it’s important for health and physiology, but it’s also important to your personal power and the confidence that you project in your daily life. So it’s always best to maintain good posture no matter what activity you are doing. 

Running Posture Starts With Your Head

Proper running posture is not only about the lower body parts. It starts from our head and goes down to your feet. When running, make sure that you gaze directly ahead and avoid tilting your chin downwards or upwards (the natural inclination is look down or hang your head). 

When you do this, you get tired faster. The proper running posture for your head is the one that keeps your neck well aligned to your spine. Always keep your ears aligned perpendicularly to your shoulders.

Shoulder Posture When Running

It’s important to pull your shoulders back and assume that you’re pressing a sharp pencil between the shoulder blades. Make sure not to hunch over, as it will impact your speed and endurance. Shake your shoulders and your arms in order to loosen your body, especially when you are tired.

Keeping your shoulders back and maintaining a general upright position will also improve your breathing.

Hand and Arm Position When Running

Your speed is determined by your arms’ movements. Think of a sprinter and how violently they pump their arms during a sprint. (1)

Your arms should be kept at an angle of 90 degrees from the elbow joint during running or jogging. This will help in propelling your body forward. 

Always keep your elbows by your side. If the elbows are pointing outward, you might get slower and lose momentum. The main thing is to keep your arms naturally in motion, as it will improve the rhythm of your stride.

This might seem like a minor thing, but relaxed hands are also quite helpful when running. The more you squeeze your hands, the more you lose the energy you need to maintain the run at a free and flowing pace.

Torso Running Position | The Engine Room

Best Posture When Running

A lot of the energy required to workout is sourced in your torso. It is the boiler room that powers your body. So ensure your torso is mainly straight, or nearly straight, spinal area with a slight forward lean. The main key is to not slump over.

If you generally have good posture, then you will likely have good posture when running. You just need to remain conscious of your posture. 

And likewise, if your posture is sometimes less than perfect, then you need to make a conscious effort to maintain an upright torso when jogging. It will improve your breathing, as well as all cardio functions in your body. 

Hip Position During Running

Experts recommend that a slight lean is allowed during accelerations – the torso should shift slightly forward in line with the hips. Sometimes you might be forced to use the hip base or the gluteus muscles in order to drive functionalities for a powerful stride. Gluteus concept works efficiently when leaning forward.

The Bottom Line for Effective Running Posture

Long Slow Distance Running
Improving your running posture is the best technique needed to take your running to another level. Jogging might be slow compared to running; but a good running posture is also required when you are jogging. A good running form is crucial for your performance. (2)

In addition, it ensures that you reap all the benefits of running while also maintaining a good posture and gait in other daily activities. This increases balance and prevents other conditions such as joint pain and back aches. 

It is therefore vital to work on developing the right running posture. It will strengthen your running form to move you through all activities.

And if you’re a consistent runner, then you likely know the adverse effect of smoking on your workouts. Also, check our post on whether or not a gym membership is worth it, and how good wellness habits start at a young age.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Lindsay, M. (2018). How Arm Swing Affects Your Running Efficiency: MapMyRun. Under Armour.
  2. Winderl, A. M. (2019). Here’s What Proper Running Form Actually Is. SELF.

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