Lifts For Shot Put and Discus Throwers

A few Days ago I received an email for one our Throws Nation members regarding correlation in training (weight room) to actual throws.

This is a very good question. The great Russian throws coach, Anatoli Bondarchuk, found that the combination of the power snatch and the use of lighter & heavier implements, do correlate to bigger throws, and thus should be used.

I have found in our own training program at Arete Throws Nation, the snatch to be the preferred lift for my throwers. When I was throwing my best, back in the day, I found it to have the biggest impact on my throwing results, and it is a big reason why I use it with my throwers.

The snatch does have a great impact on the movement quality of both Shot putters and Discus throwers.

I have been lucky enough to have three 65’+ Shot putter in the last two season, (and I think the two 65 footers will both go between 66′-68′ in the next few weeks). They are all following a weight training program that includes Snatches, Jerks, and front squats. Yes we do cleans and single front squats too (and make sure to use safety bars so you don’t dump the weight on you femur!!), but the basis of my program revolves around the Snatch, Jerks and Front squats.

As I have learned from reading the works of great strength coaches like Issuran, Verkhoshansky, and Bondarchuk, (as well as my mentor Tony Ciarelli) the sole goal of weight training is to make the athlete a better ATHLETE, and that revolves mostly around sport specific strength.

This is where i see a lot of weight training programs fall short. They are concerned about weight room numbers; “bigger and stronger is better” or “you can never get strong enough”. People who follow that methology tend to put up very impressive numbers in the weight room, but are often getting beat by more dynamic athletes with lesser numbers. Often you will see a big beast in the shot put or discus, but he just doesn’t move as athletically as he should/could.  He may looks impressive, and I’m sure he has an impressive bench and deadlift, but when it comes weightlifting for the shot put and Discus, those lifts are not in my top 5 during the competitive season (and honestly, non of my throwers deadlift… heavy pulls, yes… deadlifts…. NO!)

So the final question I was asked was: “Do certain training methods correlate better with throwing. Have any studies been done that support conclusions?”

As far as training methods, yes, and guys like Verkhoshansky and Bondarchuk show that the inclusion of sport specific movement is vital to the athlete’s success. The core lifts for throwers should revolve around the Olympic lifts: Snatches, Cleans, Jerks, and variations of each. Lifting should be about developing dynamic strength for the throw, therefore, you should try to mimic the movement and intensity of the throw as much as possible in the weight room to have the greatest amount of correlation to throwing.

The Arete Throws Nation throwers do many different types of rotational movement to develop rotational strength; this is critical to the thrower. We front squat, as it correlates better to power position, and drive across the ring. We do jumps for explosiveness, throwing strength movements, etc. Here is a sample of a strength phase in-season:

*Pre Workout Active Warm-up 10-15 minutes
1.Snatch (+) – (85/3), (87/2)2, (90/1)2 – ROLL Between Sets
2. Jerks* (80/3)3, (82.5/2)2 *use clean max
3a. FR SQUAT (+) – (90/3)3
3b KB Jumps (+) 3×5 @ 28kg
4. Reaching Lunges (60/5) 4
5. Depth Jumps off 12” box. to 30”/ or 36”+ box
6. MB Throw- Stand Throw position 5×3 each Side. 15lb MB
7. Weighted HYPERS – 4 x 10
7. Landmines 4×10 Moderate weight-accelerate from starting position.

After throw and lift
5 10yd sprints at 75-80%
5 5yd Sprints 100% (about 3 steps)

NOTE (80/3)3 means (80% of your max/ 3 reps) 3 sets

The goal in this phase is to increase strength and that means increased intensity; so heavy triples, doubles, and singles. I want the total volume to be lower, so the athlete is going to become more explosive and fresh for throwing, not over stressed by the weight room. We do this 3x a week, as we want the body’s nervous system to be more focused and prepared for throwing. We also will throw over weighted, competition weight, and lighter weight implements in the ring and into the wall.

More weight room volume will mean central nervous system overload due to the weight room, and the goal is to be a better thrower, not a competitive weightlifter.

You want less stimuli. Makes sense? And its important to note, that my throwers all have developed very good technical positions in the Olympics lifts and like throwing, we always focus on the efficiency of technique. If thats not there, then the intensity is less until the athlete can perform the movements correctly- this is something you should never overlook.

I will write a post about program design soon because you never want to forget that you are a thrower first!

You need to train for Size, Strength, and Speed in phases, or blocks, which is the core tenant of Block Periodization, and its shown to work like a charm! It certainly has for the Arete Throws Nation!!

Good luck, and stay tuned for our upcoming Weightlifting for Shot Put & Discus Throwers program.

Coach Johnson.
Arete Throws Nation


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