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What Is The Best Workout To Improve Your Throws?

What is the best workout to improve your throws? Our forum members have put together this detailed plan which includes the best throwing workouts, advantages, disadvantages, and more!

By: Workout Of The Week


TOPIC: What Is The Best Workout To Improve Your Throws?

The Question:

Although not a mainstream sport, many athletes take up a throwing sport. Shot-put, hammer, discus and javelin are all apart of throwing competitions.

What is the best workout to improve your throws? Be specific ? be sure to list exercises, sets, reps, etc ...

What are the advantages to this type of a workout?

What are the disadvantages?

Bonus Question: Have you used this workout for your specific sport, did it help, and would you recommend it to others?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - ho_124
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

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Introduction
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Though not popular, throwing sports in North America have earned their place in the Olympic Games. It shouldn't come as a grand surprise either, training for that precise swift throw requires hard work, even more than one would imagine.

You might think: "What's so difficult about the training for a single throw?" Well first of all there are a number of factors to take into consideration. For example speed, strength, power, technique, flexibility etc. In addition these "factors" must be trained separately for maximal improvement in each of these fields.

The final product is that they are integrated together to create a crisp and powerful throw. A comprehensive training program that encompasses all of a throwers is in fact more than meets the eye.

Jarred Rome Jarred Rome
+ Click To Enlarge.
Olympian Jarred Rome.

Just because not a lot of attention is directed toward these sports doesn't mean the athletes should be kept in the dark about the type of training they should be doing. Throwing sports are still quite popular in track and field events, especially in high school. However before we get into the workout, let's discuss what some of the basics of throwing sports:


Javelin:

  • A path of about 30-36 meters long and 4 meters wide is given to let the thrower run. At the end is a line which you cannot pass.
  • Javelin is held in one hand only, the smallest finger closest to the point.
  • The javelin must be thrown over the shoulder or upper part of the throwing arm.
  • The object is to get the javelin as far as possible.


Discus:

  • Starting off in a stationary position.
  • You must throw the discus within a circle boundary until it has landed.
  • The usual technique is to grasp it so it rests against your palm with your fingers grasped around it. Athletes then utilize spinning motions to increase the power at which it is thrown.
  • The object is to throw the discus as far as possible.


Shotput:

  • You start at a stationary position within a circle which you cannot step out of
  • Only one hand is used and the ball cannot be dropped below the level of which it started
  • Again, spinning movements are used to increase the velocity in which the ball is thrown
  • The object is to get the ball as far as possible


Hammer:

  • Starting from a stationary position, you are allowed to let the top of the hammer touch the ground inside or outside the circle
  • Your feet must stay inside the circle until the hammer has landed
  • The usual basic technique is to get the hammer swinging around the body while standing and later using spinning movements of the body to propel the hammer farther
  • The object is to get the hammer as far as possible

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Workout
What Is The Best Workout To Improve Your Throws? Be Specific. Be Sure To List Exercises, Sets, Reps, Etc ...
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It's not smart to just dive into a workout without knowing what your needs are. You have to know what kind of training your body needs and how to address those requirements. Why is this important?

Well because 99.99 percent of people don't have a personalized strength and conditioning coach who basically watches you every single minute of your training, just having a coach doesn't count. Therefore it's advantageous to have the information regarding your routines so that you can learn to create your own and tweak your workout according to your necessities.

First of all, let's break down in general the four different kinds of throws I listed above. It's actually simple. They key thing you must make note of is which muscles are essential to the throw and the way in which they are utilized.


Javelin:

  • Starting from a stationary position the, the athlete hoists the javelin above his shoulder. His hand is just about above his. shoulder.
  • The upper and lower torso at this moment are facing forward.
  • The athlete begins to run down the path and eventually picks up speed. While increasing speed the javelin is brought back by twisting the torso to the throwing side. Now the hand is behind the shoulder and the upper and lower torso are facing sideways.
  • The legs also turn slightly towards the throwing side.
  • A "skipping" or "stutter" step is taken to slow the athlete down or even into a pause temporarily so that the javelin can be thrown.
  • The legs are turned back forward, and in succession the lower and upper torso are twisted forward. The shoulder then swings the arm forward to throw the javelin in a full-ranged arcing motion.


Discus:

  • Starting from a stationary position, throwers usually face the back of the circle with their throwing hand extended.
  • With the leg of the throwing arm they take a wide turning step so their body twists forwards doing a 180-degree turn. The foot arcs around the non-throwing leg so it lands straight ahead about shoulder width apart or a little more even.
  • The non throwing leg then steps behind the throwing leg so it lands in front of it a bit more than shoulder width apart.
  • This lets the body do a final twist of 360 degrees. First the legs turn forward, and in succession the lower torso and upper torso twists to the front.
  • While this is happening the shoulder swings around and the disc is released. The arm remains extended during the entire throw.

Jarred Rome
+ Click To Enlarge.
Discus Throw - Jarred Rome.


Shotput:

  • Foot movement similar to discus.
  • Again you start stationary facing the back of the circle.
  • However the ball is held with the arm cocked near your cheek.
  • The throwing leg steps around the non throwing leg so it lands in front of it a good distance apart. This allows the body to do a 180-degree turn.
  • Following this the non throwing leg steps behind the throwing foot so it lands in front of it more than shoulder width but not too much so you compromise your throw.
  • The final movement is that you twist your body forward in a 360-degree turn and launch your arm straight out to throw the ball. Your legs, lower and upper torso turn in succession with each other.
  • The whole time until the throw, the ball is kept near the cheek with your arm cocked.


Hammer:

  • This is probably the hardest technique. First of all you grip the hammer with both hands and you get it swinging around your body twice.
  • You start stationary facing the back of the circle, your feet are more than shoulder width apart but not by too much.
  • Next you take your throwing leg and swing it around your non-throwing leg. The key difference from all the other throws is that it lands back to its original placing, however you should move forward during the turn so your closer to the front of the circle
  • After four turns you should reach the front of the circle. Your legs turn from facing the back of the circle toward the front followed by the twisting of the lower and upper torso which now face forward.
  • Immediately both your arms swing toward the front and launch the hammer.
  • The whole time you keep your arms extended holding the hammer and you do a total of 4.5 turns.

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KEY THINGS TO NOTE:

If you look at the analysis of the movement in each throw you will notice things in common that I REPEATED on purpose.

  1. First of all you should have noticed that I mentioned the twisting and turning of the legs in each throw. THIS IS ESSENTIAL. Imagine a baseball player trying to throw a ball without turning his legs for extra torque? Try it yourself actually. You will also notice if you've watched the videos that the leg movements are quick.

    From these observations we know that strong legs are essential to generate extra force for the throw. Also explosive/fast legs are required to generate that power in a short period of time. You can have the strongest legs in the world, but if it takes too long to generate force with them, then that's no good.

  2. Second thing you should have noticed is repeated mention of the lower and upper torso movement. Again think about throwing a ball just using your arm and not twisting your lower and upper torso.

    It's from your core and upper body that your body generates more power and channels the energy from your legs into the throw. Again this must be explosive so speed is another factor to take into consideration. From this we can deduce that a strong and powerful core and upper body are needed.

  3. Last, I mentioned a bit about shoulder movement. During a throw all the energy is gathered in the legs and moves up the torso. Then it goes through your shoulder which propels the arm into a powerful throw. Imagine javelin and shotput. The motion is almost like a shoulder press. So from this information we can also conclude that powerful shoulders are a must.
  4. One thing to note is that all the other muscles are still important. Just because the legs, core and upper body and shoulder are essential to a throw doesn't mean all other muscles do nothing.

    For example you're back muscles help balance out the throw while your triceps extend the arm in a graceful motion. All this means is that your training (plyometrics, speed training, weight lifting etc.) will emphasize the aspects mentioned above to a greater extent.

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Workout
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OK so now let's get into the workout. Here's what it will consist of:

  • Resistance training
  • Plyometrics
  • Speed and power training


Resistance Training Routine:

    Again let's look at the throws. Notice how most don't last more than 5 seconds ... some even less. Therefore the training routine for strength and speed should mimic this. There's really no point in going 20+ reps when were trying to gain max strength and speed for power.

    So here's a quick lesson. The muscles in your body are made up of three types of fibers. 2x fast twitch and 1 slow twitch. The IIA and IIB fibers are fast twitch while II are slow twitch. The II fibers are designed for long duration and low intensity action. The IIB however are the exact opposite. They are designed for short, quick bursts of strength and speed. Usually they last a max of 10-15 seconds.

    The IIA fibers are fast twitch, but more of a mix between the IIB and II fibers. They are still designed for powerful bursts of energy but over a longer duration, for example 1-2 minutes. The only downfall is that they are less powerful than the IIB fibers and also have less endurance than the II fibers.

    Looking at this information you should realize that you need to be training the IIB fibers. Why? Because throws are short, and it is important to utilize as much maximal strength and speed from the body as possible in that time. As opposed to, say running a marathon, where you need sub maximal intensity over a long duration.

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    One last note is that you should tweak the program according to your needs. By this I mean don't just blindly follow the program. If you don't like a certain exercise then switch it. Or if you want to add a set or more reps then do so yourself. This also comes with experience. As you train more, you learn more and are able to be more in control of your training routines.

    • Training Split:

      • 4-5 times a week

    • Repetition Range:

      • 3-5 and 8-12. The 3-5 repetition range is low which is designed to work on the IIB aspect of the muscle. The 8-10 rep range is for speed repetitions to work in the speed factor of the muscle. Also it is used in other low key exercises such as wrist curls or trap shrugs why? Well because doing low reps for every muscle would be excruciating and you would over exert the body.

    • Sets:

      • Will vary for each exercise and repetition range. For the lower repetition ranges you do more sets about 4-5. For the higher repetition ranges you do less sets about 2-3

    • Intensity:

      • Intensity should be high for the lower repetition ranges. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the maximal intensity) you should be going about 8-9 for the 3-5 rep ranges. For the 8-12 rep ranges you should go about 7.

    • Rest between sets:

      • Rest between lower repetition range sets should be high 2-3 minutes. Why? Well because IIB fibers take much longer to recover. If you rush it, then you wont be able to push out another 3-5 reps or you wont work the IIB fibers correctly. For the 6-10 repetition ranges rest about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

    • Duration of workout:

      • Keep workouts as short as possible. Shorter workouts are more intense and high intensity is best to get the most out of your workouts. Your workouts should never exceed an hour.

    • Extra techniques:

      • For simplicity sake the only extra technique that will be used is speed sets. These are basically sets where the concentric movement of an exercise is done explosively but UNDER CONTROL, key word is under control. We don't want weights flying everywhere and joints snapping. The eccentric part is lower slowly.

      Monday - Legs/lower back
      Tuesday -
      Wednesday - Chest/upper back
      Thursday -
      Friday - Abs
      Saturday -Olympic lifts *Optional*
      Sunday - Arms

    Monday - Legs/lower back

    Wednesday - Chest/Upper Back

    Friday - Abs

    Saturday - Olympic lifts *Optional*

    Sunday - Arms


Plyometrics:

    Plyometrics are important to any sport requiring power such as throwing sports. They work on the speed aspect and developing the muscle so it can maximally generate strength in as short as time possible which = power.

    One thing to note is that plyometrics for short duration sports such as throwing sports won't leave you tired. That's because you're trying to generate as much force with few reps to work the IIB muscle fibers. Think about a throw for one second. After doing one throw are you dead tired? No. Even after 5 throws you might be breathing a bit hard but your definitely not TIRED.

      Training split:
        Twice a week, placed wherever works best for you.

      Repetition range:

        This will stay low for all the exercises. About 5-10 reps each.

      Sets:

        Sets will be about 3-4 sets per exercise

      Intensity:

        Intensity should be 100% for each rep. If you feel yourself dipping way below this for some reason stop.

      Rest between sets:

        Because your IIB muscle fibers need longer to recover, rest should be 1-2 minutes.

      Duration of workout:

        Keep workouts as short as possible. Remember shorter workouts = more intensity.

    Plyometric Workout 1:

      Tuck Jump 4 sets x 5-10 reps


+ Click To Enlarge.
Tuck Jumps.
Video: Mpeg - Windows Media - Real Player

      Depth jumps 4 sets x 5-10 reps

depth jump depth jump depth jump depth jump
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Depth Jumps.
Video Guides: Windows Media - RealPlayer - Mpeg

      Bounding 4 sets x 5-10 reps each leg (try getting as much height as possible during the jumping to alternate legs)

squat jumps squat jumps
Click Image To Enlarge.
Bounding On The Spot.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

      Power Push Ups 3 sets x 5-10 reps

pushup
Click Image To Enlarge.
Power Pushups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

box jump box jump box jump
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Box Jumps.

      One legged maximal jumps 4 sets x 5-10 reps each leg

jumps jumps jumps
Click Image To Enlarge.
One Legged Maximal Jumps.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

      Bounding 4 sets x 10-12 reps each leg

squat jumps squat jumps
Click Image To Enlarge.
Bounding On The Spot.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

      Push-up jump clappers 3 sets x 5-10 reps (like push up jumps but add a clap, or even multiple claps)


Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Push Up Clap.
Video Guides: Windows Media - Mpeg


arrow Speed & Power Training:

    Never overlook speed and agility training. Speed is important to propel your throws with more power. This is especially useful in javelin where you get a running start.

      Training split:
        Twice a week, placed wherever works best for you.

      Sets:

        Sets will be about 3-4 sets per exercise

      Length of set:

        10-20 seconds will be just fine.

      Intensity:

        Intensity should be 100% for each rep. If you feel yourself dipping way below this for some reason stop.

      Rest between sets:

        Because your IIB muscle fibers need longer to recover, rest should be 1-2 minutes.

      Duration of workout:

        Keep workouts as short as possible. Remember shorter workouts = more intensity.

    Speed And Power Workout 1:

      Sled dragging (load up a sled with weight, tie it yourself and sprint) 4 sets x 10-20 seconds

slep dragging
Sled Dragging.
Video GuidesWMV - iPod Video

        Tire flips (you want those big tractor tires and go as fast as possible) 4 sets x 10-20 seconds

Carrying and Throwing Carrying and Throwing
Click Image To Enlarge.
Tire Flips.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

        Sledgehammer slams (take a sledge hammer and slam it on the tire or hard surface. You should take a big wind up which starts at the back of your body. Also each set you should switch which side your swinging from. Be careful because I'm not responsible for you breaking all your stuff!) 4 sets x 10-20


+ Click To Enlarge.
Sledgehammer Slams.

        Cone sprinting 3 sets x 10-20 seconds

20 Yard
Click Image To Enlarge.
Cone Sprinting.
Video: WMV - MPEG - iPod Video

Hill Sprints Hill Sprints
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Hill Sprints.
Video Guides: Windows Media - Mpeg

      Sled Dragging 4 sets x 10-20 seconds

    slep dragging
    Sled Dragging.
    Video GuidesWMV - iPod Video

      Illinois Drill 4 sets x 10-20 seconds (set up cones in a zig zag and sprint from one to the other and back)


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Illinois Drill.
    Video: WMV - MPEG - iPod Video

      Agility ladder drill (literally millions of drills, choose one you like and one that incorporates lots of torso turning etc) 4 sets of the whole ladder

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    Last notes

    • Don't attempt if you're just beginning. Tone it down a bit. Take out some exercises, take out some sets etc. I would hate to see you overtrain because it isn't fun.
    • Keep in mind that you have to incorporate this into your technique training and drills. You should have a coach who teaches you the technique and gives you a few drills to work on.
    • You have to switch up your workouts every so often about 1-2 months. This is to prevent your body from adapting to the training and leading you into a plateau.

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Advantages
What Are The Advantages To This Type Of A Workout?

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  1. Strength
  2. Speed
    • Speed will be another great aspect you will gain. Your workouts incorporate explosive sets which will be awesome in developing your speed. Also the plyometric and speed workouts will do wonders for your speed.

  3. Power
    • Power is basically strength and speed put together which is the main focus of your workouts. Because of the emphasis on speed and strength you will be able to push out maximal force in a short duration of time, which is useful.

  4. Strong legs and torso
    • This is great to have for any sport. Because this training program emphasizes strong legs and torso, your power generation will be excellent. This can help you in basically any sport if your not just into throwing sports.

  5. Increased performance in throws
    • Obviously with your greater speed and strength you will be able to chuck whatever your throwing a greater distance. That's the whole point of this training. Especially when you incorporate it with your technique and drills training, you will be awesome.

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Disadvantages
What Are The Disadvantages?

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  1. Weak endurance
  2. Higher risk of injury
    • Since your doing a lot of low rep range and explosive movements your risk of injury is higher. Obviously heavier weights put more strain on joints, muscles, bones etc. This is why I suggest a beginner not diving right into the program but gaining some strength first. Also your doing Olympic lifts which are probably the most complicated and dangerous lifts out there. Use dumbbells if you're concerned or starting out.

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Bonus Question
Have You Used This Workout For Your Specific Sport, Did It Help, And Would You Recommend It To Others?

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I have never done this exact workout for throws because I'm not into that type of sport. However I have used low rep ranges and explosive techniques to boost my strength and speed. I also incorporate speed training and plyometrics into my routines all the time. They are amazing for generating power for any type of sport.

I would highly recommend this kind of training to anyone interested in getting their throws farther. I can't stress enough how much it does to develop your speed and strength which are awesome attributes to have.


2nd Place - EAGLES56
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Although not a mainstream sport, many athletes take up a throwing sport. Shot-put, hammer, discus and javelin are all a part of throwing competitions.

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Workout
What Is The Best Workout To Improve Your Throws? Be Specific. Be Sure To List Exercises, Sets, Reps, Etc...
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The best workout to improve one's throws should be concentrated on proper form and throw execution. Despite the diversity of throwing events, form is priority amongst professional and amateur throwers. In laymen's terms; technique is fundamental. Parallel to weight training, improper technique increases injury potential and severity.

Since field (throwing) events vary to such a large degree, the following workout will be very general.

FORUM THREAD
Discus/Shotput Workouts. Discus/Shotput Workouts.
Alright, track season is in a a few months and I was wondering what are some work outs/lifts that I should incorporate/add into my workouts.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

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The Workout (2-3x/week):
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  • 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching to maximize blood flow
  • 5-10 minutes of throw specific drills
  • 5-20 minutes of "throwing approach" *
  • 15-30 minutes of "explosive throwing" **

  • 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps (light, moderate, and 80-95% intensity)

    print Click Here For A Printable Log Of This Workout.

Having a spotter / throwing coach to critique one's form is a great addition and will guarantee quality results faster.

* = "Throwing Approach" is the motion just before the release of the javelin, hammer, shot-put or discus. This is the area where correct technique is essential. A great approach will (usually) yield a great throw.

Think of the body as a spring; if one's elbow is out of place, a ring of the spring won't be functioning to its full potential, the corresponding throw will be directly influenced. Continual repetitions are necessary until it becomes second nature. To truly succeed, the movement should 'flow' naturally.

** = "Explosive Throwing" is the actual release of the object (javelin, discus, shot-put, etc). Follow a protocol similar to 3 or 4 sets of 6-10 progressing from light to 80-95% efforts. Avoid all out attempts until competition to avoid any unnecessary bodily harm. If time permits, set aside specific days for varying intensity but always include progression sets before any max effort repetitions.

See references for specific exercise walkthroughs.

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Advantages
What Are The Advantages To This Type Of A Workout?

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Throwing workouts target one's deltoids as well as one's full body through dynamic movements. These explosive bursts recruit multiple muscle groups from the lower body to the upper body which must work synergistically from the approach to the release. The greatest advantage to this type of workout is the ability to develop smooth, fluid, full body motion (which influences power output) with one's entire body.

Jarred Rome
Jarred Rome
2004 Discus Olympian.

Week #15 - 6/20/2006
1600x1200 - 1280x1024 - 1152x864 - 1024x768 - 800x600
480x640 - 320x240 - 240x320 - 160x160 - 160x120 - 128x128


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Disadvantages
What Are The Disadvantages To This Type Of A Workout?

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Partaking in throwing training in addition to weight training may risk injury in conjunction with overtraining. In addition to the aforementioned, few people train bilaterally (both sides) which leads to imbalances throughout one's body.

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Throwing also places a large amount of stress upon the entire shoulder complex which may increase injury potential in the future. These workouts should not replace an entire workout regimen but could be included in addition to a weight training regimen with lessened shoulder training volume.


Bonus Question
Have You Used This Workout For Your Specific Sport, Did It Help, And Would You Recommend It To Others?

During secondary school I've engaged in throwing events (shot-put, javelin and discus). This workout addresses the basic needs to create an impressive thrower. I have seen improvements with my throws (considerably with javelin and discus).

From my experience, technique is vital and can be even more beneficial than raw power. My school has in the past and is currently training throwers who compete at the national level while following this training protocol. With that in mind, I would recommend this workout to others.

References:

  1. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/eteam35.htm
  2. www.coacheseducation.com/throws/don-babbit-feb-01.htm

EAGLES5


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