kettlebell-swings

Ask Martin Vol. 31: General Prep

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.

Hey I was thinking about something that you said in your last Podcast. You said that at an elite level, nothing that is done in the weight room has very much positive correlation, which is of course one of the first things that you notice when you read Transfer of Training. Obviously, although there isn’t significant correlation of any single exercise once you reach an elite level, the thought must be that the entirety of the experience has some positive correlation or that there are benefits of weight training that are more indirect but still important. Is that the case? –Coach Dan Read more

Blackboard-Tactics

Ask Martin Vol. 30: Throwing Tactics

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Question: I’m doing my PE A-level coursework at the moment and I have to come up with three good and bad tactical strategies. If you can help me it would be appreciated. -Jake Read more

treadmills

Ask Martin Vol. 29: Cardio for Throwers

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Question: My athlete is on the cusp of breaking into senior elite competitions, but her fitness is lacking. What can I do to improve this? I was thinking about integrating times runs in to build a little fitness? -Coach Henry Read more

weightroom

Ask Martin Vol. 28: Strength Coaching Throwers

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.

Question: I am working on a collegiate strength training staff and, among other sports, I am responsible for the strength training for throwers. I am wondering if you have any input on how to balance strength training with the different phases of throws training. For example, if there is a phase of throwing heavy implements, what would be best to do in the weight room at that time? -Coach Nicholas
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Ask Martin Vol. 27: Throwing Injuries

Do you have a question for me? “Ask Martin” questions are chosen from inquiries submitted by members. So join now and you’ll also get access to a wealth of other training information.

Do you have any tips on maintaining a heathy back or addressing common back injures while throwing? -Andrew

Believe it or not, this is the first time I have written about injuries in throwing events. I have never thought about writing about it since, to be honest, I haven’t really had any injuries. But maybe that fact is itself worth writing about.
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Ask Martin Vol. 26: Throwing In The Other Direction

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In other throwing events it is common to throw in each direction. How many throws should you take in the opposite direction and how good does technique need to be in that direction? My concern is that training just to one side might provoke scoliosis or other spinal injuries. -Thomas

Throwing in the opposite direction is indeed less common in the hammer throw than in other throwing events. Tony Dziepak has compiled a list of ambidextrous throwing records which include impressive performances like Hank Kraychir putting the shot 20.55-meters with his right hand and also going over 18-meters with his left hand. With the amount of technique involved, it is natural that hammer throwers generally do not throw as much in the other direction. But in looking at the necessity of it, the same rules apply to all throwing events.
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The question of how to divide volume is the similar to the age old tortoise and the hare fable.

Ask Martin Vol. 25: The Tortoise and the Hare

Do you get the same benefit of exercising for 30 minutes a day if that exercise is broken down into shorter segments — for instance, three 10-minute sessions? –New York Times Reader

This question was not directed to me, but it is just as applicable to track and field athletes and throwers as it is to readers of the New York Times health blog. Volume is of the main component of any training plan. But not all volume is created equal. For example, if a thrower takes 180 throws per week, that could be divided up in a number of ways, including three sessions of 60 throws, six sessions of 30 throws, or even twelve sessions of 15 throws. Each option will have a different impact on the body and end up with different results. It is therefore important to know if one way is better than the other when putting together a training plan, even if all the options end up with the same volume in the end.
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Ashton Eaton's unconventional shot put technique uses his strengths to eliminate his liabilities

Ask Martin Vol. 24: More on Strengths and Weaknesses

Question: Is it better to train the implements that the athlete throws best or to train the implements that the athlete struggles with? Try to improve where the athlete already throws well and improve that or attack the weak points (or balls that the athlete does not perform best with)? -Frederick Hannie

I began responding to this question last week by discussing the specific question of whether a throw should focus on throwing implements they are good at, or ones they are bad at. The short answer is that rather than making the decisions based on what hammers they are good at, they should instead focus on what hammers will help them throw further.

But after I finished the question I left open the bigger question: should training focus on strengths or weaknesses. It would be nice to focus on eliminating weaknesses and focusing on strengths, but athletes have limited time and energy and coaches must often make a tough decision between the two. In addition, strengths and weaknesses come into play not just in the training plan, but also in technique where there also might not be the choice of pursuing both paths simultaneously. My approach is to look at the problems in steps by focusing on eliminating liabilities, focusing on the transfer, and then creating your own individual mold that capitalizes on your strengths and uses creative thinking.
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Choosing the right hammer takes effort and experience.

Ask Martin Vol. 23: Strengths and Weaknesses

Question: Is it better to train the implements that the athlete throws best or to train the implements that the athlete struggles with? Try to improve where the athlete already throws well and improve that or attack the weak points (or balls that the athlete does not perform best with)? -Frederick Hannie

Choosing the right weight hammer for training takes effort and experience.

Choosing the right hammer takes effort and experience.

This is quite a complex question, so I will try to break it down into the two core points I see: (1) whether a thrower that focuses their training on weights they can throw the best; and (2) the broader question of whether it is best to design a training plan that leverages the strengths of an athlete or focuses on eliminating weaknesses. Since the questions go in two different directions, I will address only the first one below and get to the second question in another post later this week.
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Ask Martin Vol. 22: Travel Tips

Question: Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of jet lag? -Greg

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It’s the traveling time of the year again. Collegiate athletes in America are starting to make trips across the country for the various rounds of the NCAA Championships. The best throwers will then start their international season, demanding trips to Europe. While travel is fun, it can only hurt your performances. In the best case scenario, the travel takes nothing out of you. In the worst case, it can ruin a competition. And jet lag is just one of the things that can affect you. After more than a decade of international competitions I have a few tips that I can share that should reduce its impact.
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