Training Tools Vol. 1: Essential Hammer Throw Special Strength Exercises

With the help of Mike Mai and Zack Midles, the Evergreen Athletic Fund‘s first clinic was a success on Sunday. We had ten athletes ranging in age from 8th grade to college, as well as local high school and college coaches. We are thankful to everyone who helped put on the event, and for the donations we received from it.

While most of the time at the clinic was focused on hammer throw technique, I also spent a little bit of time talking about one of my favorite subjects: special strength. I have previously discussed how I feel this an area most Americans neglect in their training. Since that post, I have received numerous e-mails asking about what other special strength exercises are helpful to the hammer throw. I thought it would be helpful to demonstrate some of what I was talking about, so I’ve posted a video below that demonstrates some essential hammer throw exercises.

Most of the exercises I cover in the video fall into the following categories, in no particular order:


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19 replies
  1. Zach
    Zach says:

    Great video Martin. Jesse Dotty showed me a nice drill/special strength exercise in 2008: A plate twist with a hammer turn. For a right handed thrower: begin like you are going to do a straight arm plate twist (I like 25 lbs, 45 is doable). Twist right, and push the plate left into a turn. Catch the plate early with a solid right foot touchdown, and then twist left, right, and then do another turn. Repeat for multiple turns. I think this drill is even better with a dumbell in each hand. It iwll force you to push the right hand around.

  2. Kevin Becker
    Kevin Becker says:

    Great exercises Martin. One thing I would add is the importance of developing the “correct” special strength. What I mean by that is to make sure you are pushing every implement in these exercises, particularly the releases. If you pull ahead with your body to propel the implement, you are just developing special strength to get better at dragging the hammer. Whereas if you are able to learn how to push the implement in these exercises, both the special strength and the skill learning will transfer to your hammer throw. Just my two cents.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Great point Kevin. You should always be working on the technique of the exercises. The idea is to develop strength so you can push the hammer better, so it is best to be pushing the implements during the exercises too and enforce other good habits.

  3. Price
    Price says:

    I love the exercises. Have you noticed when executing the pud relelease with the left hand only releasing as a right handed thrower, your low point was on the left leg and the pud’s orbit was a wide sweeping orbit o the left side? I think Youri would have been proud!!! Do you think all of your exercises should follow the same theme… Low point on the pivotoing leg wih as much as radius possible?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I have noticed that. It actually is a bit of a problem with my real throw, since my low point gets too far over to the right and I end up sitting back on the ride side as a result rather than sweeping the hammer out to the left more. I think it helps in the exercises to get as much radius as possible, especially on the left side. However, although keeping the lowpoint in the middle would likely be the best for most throwers (and something I should think about more).

  4. James
    James says:

    Thank you for the great video. I am curious, do you vary the weights thrown/used cyclically? For instance, do you throw a lighter pud with emphasis on speed during the spring and summer?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I haven’t noticed much of a cyclical variation in the weight we use; when we throw puds, for example, we typically throw the same weight. However, during the season we do seem to back off the volume by doing fewer reps or less intense exercises (but we do this with other exercises too).

  5. Phillip
    Phillip says:


    What is the material you are throwing into when you show the hammer winds and release at the end of the video?

  6. Nate
    Nate says:

    Nice video, i know the other guy in the video…I uysed to be a strength coach at the college he graduated from

  7. Jerri Guiski
    Jerri Guiski says:

    I do not know what I was performing prior to kettlebells, most likely wasting loads of time and not getting as fit as I could have been.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Me demonstrating some hammer throw SDEs exercises. […]

  2. […] for his work on transfer of training. But so much focus on the specific side of his training, the special strength exercises for example, blurs that fact that our training is very holistic in nature as I’ve written […]

  3. […] For some good hammer throw specific strength exercises, check out Martin’s video from a few years ago. […]

  4. […] times on this site. Become a member and browse my favorite archived posts for more information and my popular video with even more special exercises for the hammer throw is available here. Also please support Dr. Bondarchuk’s work. His two English books on transfer of training are […]

  5. […] movement (e.g. plate twists, throwing heavier hammers, or some of the exercises I’ve outlined here and in the video […]

  6. […] to you it was to write an article on the topic for . Do you also utilize any “special strength” exercises in your training (e.g. Heavy shots, other exercises that emulate the release […]

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