You know that you need a good arm to throw, but did you know that you need equal or more support from your core and legs? Your core, meaning the muscles around your trunk (stomach and back) and pelvis help give the rotating motion power and stability. Your legs are the starting point for the power of your throw, and can help with accuracy as well. Practice drills and strength training exercises that build your arms, core and legs for powerful and accurate throws in the shot put and discus. Building strength is one way to throw farther, the other being working on your technique.
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Make a list of exercises that can be performed on one side of the body at a time and work the arms, core and legs. For example, choose military press, plank, and squat.
Perform the military press with alternating arms. Holding dumbbells, bring both arms up above your head at a 90-degree angle. Press one dumbbell up, keeping the other arm at a 90-degree angle. Lower the first arm and repeat with the opposite arm. Perform this movement until you become fatigued.
Perform a one-legged plank by lying on your stomach with both feet against the wall. Raise yourself onto your forearms and feet, forming the plank. Lift one leg into the air and rest it on the wall, but do not use it for support. Hold it for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Perform a one-legged squat, otherwise known as a pistol squat. Put one leg out in front of you, holding it just above the ground. Squat down as low as possible with the leg you're standing on. Return to standing position and repeat. Perform this motion on both legs until you become fatigued.
Perform the same amount of repetitions for each exercise on both sides to promote balance and coordination. Always perform more sets or more repetitions than you did in your previous workout. Block out three or four days a week for strength training, giving yourself approximately 24 hours of rest in between sessions.
Perform four to eight minute sprint intervals based on your current level of fitness. Throwing shot put and discus requires short bouts of intense energy and power. This kind of effort is mimicked in sprinting.
Perform any exercise, such as running or skipping rope, at 100 per cent effort for 20 seconds. Stop and rest for ten seconds. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes.
Perform sprint intervals once or twice a week. Do not increase the time on the sprint, as shot put and discus do not require endurance strength. Instead, work on increasing the intensity of your movement during the sprint.
Start with the overhead drill. Holding the shot put in both hands, stand on a toe board with your back facing the direction you wish to throw. Bring the shot put between your legs in a swinging motion and hurl it backward over your head with long, straight arms. Perform between 15 to 30 throws for warm-up.
Move on to the pivot drill. Hold the shot put at the neck supported by all five fingers, elbow pointing out. Place your dominant leg in front, putting the majority of your weight on this leg and a slight bend in the knee. Let the toes of your supporting leg gently rest on the ground. Leave your dominant foot in contact with the ground as you pivot in a circle, releasing the ball powerfully when your throwing arm aligns with the direction you wish to throw. Perform this drill 10 to 15 times.
Finish with the standing throw drill. Use this drill to practice throwing without rotation. Stand with your dominant leg in front. Support the shot put with all five fingers at the neck, elbow pointing out. Step back with your supporting leg, bend for preparation, extend and release powerfully.
Practice all three drills and regular shot put throwing three to four days a week. Rest 24 hours in between practices.
Practice the jump turn and rotation without a discus. Stand at the back of the throwing circle with your supporting leg in front and throwing arm in back. Hold your hands out straight to either side of your body. Turn the opposite direction of the throw for momentum. Turn swiftly toward the direction of the throw, hop onto the other foot and continue pivoting until you make a complete circle. Keep your arms extended the entire time. Practice the rotation 15 to 30 times. Try to rotate faster each time you perform the drill.
Practice holding the discus with the vertical throw. Hold the discus in your hand with the edge resting in your four fingers, minus the thumb. Hold the discus vertically, and throw it up into the air. Watch to make sure the discus keeps a completely vertical, straight spin. Repeat 20 to 30 times with your throwing hand.
Practice a rotation with two full turns. Hold the discus horizontally with the edge resting in your four fingers, minus the thumb. Hold your arms out straight to either side of your body. Stand with your supporting leg in front and dominant leg in back. Rotate your body the opposite direction of the throw, swing it toward the direction of the throw and simultaneously pivot, making two full circles with your body. Release the discus at the end of the second circle. Perform this drill 15 to 30 times.
Practice a throw with one and a half rotations, using the exact same form as the drill above. Perform all three drills and regular discus throwing three to four days a week. Rest 24 hours in between practices.
Tips and warnings
- When training for a sport, your sport specific workouts should come before strength training or sprint conditioning. If you can recover fully from sport specific workouts, you can add in extra strength and conditioning workouts.
- If you feel pain at any point during these workouts, stop. Overworking your body will not result in increased strength, but may cause injury. Take 48 hours of rest between workouts if you feel you are not recovering fully.
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