Any talk about implementing a specific strength training plan brings up the inevitable discussion of disrupting the athlete’s rhythm. In the throwing events we will often throw hammers that are heavier or lighter than normal in order to improve specific strength. There is no doubt this improves strength, but you also cannot deny that it changes the movement’s rhythmic structure. For this reason some coaches only throw the competition implement. No matter your conclusion, the important part is the analysis: as a coach you need look at whether the training will help your for the sport and the athlete. Where it might be a good idea to do certain types of special strength training in one sport, it could be inadvisable in another. And while one athlete can handle a certain loads of special strength work, another might break down. Throughout this all the overarching factor to consider is where the sport falls on the skill-strength continuum. Read more
At the start of the month I published an article in Athletics Weekly about specific strength. In it I give a brief introduction to exercise classification, specific strength, and some tips on implementing it to your event. Tom Crick also helped provide some great graphics to illustrate a few examples.
The article is adapted from my book The Ball and Chain where I cover this and other topics in more detail in Part IV: Training for the hammer throw. If you like it and want to learn more, pick up a copy of the full text. We also have some additional resources on this topic available for HMMR Media members, including Nick Garcia’s article on exercise classification for throwers and a post I wrote about specific strength in theory and practice. But this article isn’t just about the hammer or about throwing; it takes a look at a general idea that can be applied to any sport or event. Read more
Last week I reviewed Bondarchuk’s latest book on long-term development. By my count Bondarchuk has now published 8 books in English as well as 6 limited release booklets. He has written about topics from transfer of training to strength training to long term development. He also just released the final volume of his periodization series. But there is one topic that has been missing so far from his bibliography: throwing. Read more
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This month I will be posting about three new books from Bondarchuk. Even though he just turned 75, he has been as busy writing as ever. The first book I will cover is Champion School: A Year to Year Model for Developing Elite Athletes. With the help of Dr. Michael Yessis, who also translated Bondarchuk’s successful Transfer of Training series, he turns his attention to the big picture of long-term development. Read more
Last weekend we held our first weekend training camp for the Swiss hammer throwers. As part of the Swiss hammer project we gathered together the top athletes and coaches for a chance to learn from each other and have a bit of fun. Even though I get to work with my throwers all the time, they benefited a lot too. Having a weekend focused only on hammer let us take a step back and analyze a few things we have overlooked. Read more
Over the past few weeks I have been reading a few new books Bondarchuk is releasing soon. I’ll post reviews later this month, but one point caught my eye already. In describing technique in the discus throw he refers to the wind-up as “the cast.” The was obviously yet another issue related to the translation, but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate this new description seemed. The cast in an integral part of fishing. Or at least so I am told. Maybe Bondarchuk is inadvertantly on to something here. Read more
Last month I wrote about how to stay low in the hammer throw. It is important not to let your body rise up along with the hammer during the throw since that prevents effective acceleration of the implement. But there is an extra benefit of staying low: it helps you keep both feet on the ground longer. Staying on the ground, i.e. maximizing the double support phase, is an even more important aspect of accelerating the hammer. This is a topic I cover several times in my new book, The Ball and Chain. Read more
There has been a lot of great content online in the past month about periodization and planning. The whole spectrum of the topic has been covered, from articles about the basic science of training to posts about the art of individualization. Below are excerpts and links to six articles that are must reads for any coach. Read more
“When we start out, the fundamentals and basics are necessary to give us a base of support, not unlike a base in running. It’s why learning about the X’s and O’s of coaching, the science behind it, and the history of great coaches cannot be skipped. But as we grow as coaches, the innovations in training shifts to seeing patterns in ideas that may not come directly from our specific discipline.”
I’m a little late on the bandwagon, but I finally sat down with Nassim Taleb’s bestselling book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder earlier in the month. I’ve given the book some time to settle and it has already influenced my thoughts on training more than any of the training-related books I have read recently. Read more