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:
- Plate Twists: There are so many variations of this exercise that it never gets old. The traditional twist is done while holding a plate in front of you with your arms parallel to the ground and then you twist from side to side. As shown in the video, you can add a little orbit to the twist or bend your arms, do them while seated, or use do endless other variations, such as mimicking the wind motion while holding a plate in your hand.
- Bar Twists: These are similar to plate twists, but are done with a bar on your back instead. You can also get inventive with the bar and do twists such as these.
- Hammer Releases: Throwing other implements and mimicking the release phase can be very helpful in developing special strength. You can throw medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells, weights, or puds. You can throw them with one arm or both. Use your imagination and work with whatever you have handy.
- Hammer Drills: The hammer itself can also be used to develop special strength. The easiest way to do this is to throw with a heavy hammer. However, you can do sets of winding and releasing with the hammer. Winding with multiple hammers, heavy hammers, or homemade devices is also great.
Finally, the most important thing about special strength is to be imaginative. There a numerous exercises that I have not shown or mentioned that are just as effective in developing special strength. Other movements should be used in training so that your body has a variety of movements to adapt to. The exercises I chose are only intended to give athletes and coaches a good idea of some important exercises and variations to use in training. If you have question about this topic or would like to add your favorite exercise, please post in the comments below.