The hands play a much larger role in moving the entire body than most people might think. When it comes to running, the hands become even more crucial because they help govern the tension in your shoulders and upper body. Clenching the hands with conventional fists is considered a cardinal sin for runners because the tension created from this fist restricts the movements of the arms and shoulders which decreases running speed and efficiency. Whether you're a world class sprinter or a high school track member, you don't want to waste any potential energy because of poor running technique.

There are very few runners who have detailed and specific strategies for what to do with their hands (and fingers) when running besides just trying to “relax" them. Most runners simply try to relax their hands to avoid creating unwanted tension in the shoulders. I bet however, that if there was a way to use correct tension in the hands in order to achieve a stronger, faster, and more balanced stride, they would do it. In fact, there's evidence from watching film of world class sprinters like, Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson, Usain Bolt, and Tyson Gay that they dismiss the “do what everyone else is doing" attitude of relaxing their hands while running. Instead, by creating CORRECT tension, they are able to run more efficiently. Now, I'm going to teach you how to create this same CORRECT tension. It starts with learning three different hand positions that will help you achieve the best internal balance in order to run faster and with less stress on the body.


Let's start out by recognizing the anatomy of the hand:

Running Technique

(photo for illustration purposes only)

If we flex at the DIP Joint (what occurs when you create a conventional fist in your hand) you restrict your potential to harness more power throughout the body. This is because the muscle that connects to the DIP Joint via tendons does not go past the elbow. So instead of creating a full unified body, your “max power" is only coming from the elbow down which leaves a disconnect between the fingers and the rest of your body. And when it comes to running the goal is to use every inch of your body, in this case your hands, to translate into better hip mobility, stronger strides, and efficient force transfer.

WeckMethod recruits the PIP Joint to create a muscle communication that extends past the elbow (see left side of image above) and has a radial and humeral origin. This connection past the elbow creates a path of “correct tension" in the shoulders which opens and lengthens the upper body. This desirable posture is not only good for the lungs and your strides but is also great for unifying and coordinating your upper and lower body. The humeral origin of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis is also important because it has a direct correlation to your Lats which gives you a mechanical advantage in speed and control when you learn how to fully harness the FISTs listed below.


Unlike a conventional fist, the CoreFIST aligns the bones of the fingers, hands and wrists with structural integrity. The joints of the fingers are kept straight (not bent like a conventional fist) and the fingers in a CoreFIST triangulate to a central position in the palm. You'll notice with your hand that the pinky and the thumb attach to the carpal bones directly, while the three middle fingers only connect to themselves and the base of the fingers. It's important to seal the fingers in the CoreFIST with your thumb because of the close relationship it shares with the middle finger through a muscle that connects them both as well as the relationship to the carpal bones. This helps fortify the structure (the bones, muscles, and connective tissues) which allows you to harness correct tension, putting yourself in a position to fundamentally change the way your body moves without restricting movement in the arms and shoulders. Your shoulders will actually feel more stable and more mobile when you squeeze a properly aligned CoreFIST.

To incorporate this into your running, you need to first set the middle finger correctly. Everything in the CoreFIST revolves around the middle finger being “pegged" into the palm. When the fist is set correctly you'll experience a feeling of “lift" and lightness through the shoulders and the back from the fascial connections of your body. The lightness through the shoulders almost immediately guides your chest to open up for better breathing while running. With the shoulders loose, you're also put into a position which allows you to “run tall" and focus on running stride as oppose to shoulder and neck hunching.


The heart of the B-Fist, similar to the CoreFIST, comes from pegging the middle finger into the center of the palm. Notice however, that with this fist, the index finger and thumb are disengaged from the fist. The tip of the middle finger is perfectly aligned with the tip of the elbow and it creates an internal circuit that can ordinate around a bone structure that is fundamentally stronger.

When you're tight and incorrectly tensed, you're not running your best. By properly organizing your hands you set the ideal hand and wrist alignment which reduces the carrying load of the shoulders. Freeing up the shoulders straightens the back and allows you to run in an upright position to conserve energy and reduce muscle stress. The internal circuit the B-FIST creates travels down the fascial connection between the shoulder and the opposite leg, eliminating any restrictions and making a more fluid and powerful stride. The B-FIST is like a relaxed CoreFIST that can be held comfortably for long periods of time, which makes it ideal for mid and long distance running.

3. The C-FIST

If you have the need for speed, then the C-FIST is for you as it's primarily used for acceleration. Similar to the CoreFIST but instead the fingers are open rather than folded in. To position your hand into C-FIST, you flex the hand itself while you extend the fingers. When done correctly, you should be able to form a diamond shape by putting your hands together (Note: the fingers will be spread slightly and the joints of the fingers will be straight).

When you flex the hand and extend the fingers you initiate a tension that creates a balance between the extensors of the forearm and the flexors of the forearm. This helps unify from past the elbow to the fingertips and will have a tensional balance effect that bypasses the biceps and the triceps and goes to the big stuff (lats, pecs, traps, delts). The ability to free up the big muscles comes from redistributing the tension in the hands. The big muscles, like the Lats for example, are major players when it comes to running and sprinting. They have a clean connection between your core, glutes, and hips which govern activity in the power of ground strikes, length of strides, mobility in the hips, and the rotation and counter-rotation in the core. Any unwanted tension or restrictions in any of those areas will drastically decrease the performance of your running.


If you're looking for that extra competitive advantage, the hands represent an untapped domain that can help you run better. While the gains from optimal usage of the hands may be small, they are significant for those who want to run faster, move with greater efficiency, and free up restriction in the body. Some people get these three hand positions right away and others take longer to adapt it to their running style. The results however, are worth the time spent.

Learn more about the FISTs with WeckMethod Essentials

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