This is the time of year when many throwers are in their “hypertrophy” phase of training where the focus is on increasing muscle mass. As I mentioned in my interview with Vern Gambetta, the concept of building a base in the off-season is a bit outdated for elite athletes. So is the related concept of hypertrophy. To put it simply: bigger is not better.
It is a time honored tradition for men to work on getting bigger muscles. But bigger muscles are not necessarily better for the throwing events. You need more powerful muscles and, contrary to popular belief, the two do not go hand in hand. Bodybuilders have notoriously large muscles, but their power is nothing compared to Olympic lifters even in the lighter weight classes. I read a study yesterday concluding that changes in fat-free body mass (i.e. muscle) has no significant correlation to distance for rotational shot putters.
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