Coach Wil Fleming and I go back a ways. We competed against each other back in college and while he has moved on starting his own gym and running a great blog and podcast, we still keep in touch to talk about training occasionally. A few years ago I did an interview for his blog about Westside Barbell. This year he provided input in our coaching roundtable about Olympic lifting for the throws. And just last week we chatted about specific strength for his new venture: The Performance Podcast.
My training talk with sprint and hurdle coach Gary Winckler seems like it is going on forever. But, after nearly 7,000 words, it finally comes to a close with today’s final installment. After a wide-ranging conversation covering reactivity training, periodization, planning, coaching, technique and more, this final part talks a little about Bondarchuk before looking at some of the issues facing coaching today.
In addition using heavy shot puts a great way to develop specific strength is through the use of specific developmental exercises. These are exercises that Bondarchuk defines as exercises that use the same muscles, same systems, and parts of the competitive movement.
There are lots of specific developmental exercises you can use for the shot put, but here are 7 exercises I have been using in my own training or with my athletes lately.
Over the past few months I’ve contributed to the popular Juggernaut Training Systems webpage with a series of posts on specific strength. I’ve talked about the theory of specific strength, the debate about youth specialization, and how to create specific strength exercises for your sport. My latest post was published today and starts to talk about how to take specific strength exercises and implement them into training.
Earlier this week top high school throws coach Nick Garcia explained on his blog about how he determines whether his throwers will use light or heavy implements in training. After researching the practices of the top shot put coaches in the country, the main theme he noticed was that everyone had their own approach. So he created a systematic method to track and test his athletes to determine which combination of implements and what timing of each was best for them.
I love the simplicity and individual nature of Garcia’s approach. But it isn’t the only approach out there. I use a variant of it myself. Bondarchuk has commented on the topic too. And coach Larry Steinke has an interesting approach that he explained at the Canadian National Throws Conference in October. Steinke uses a basic formula to determine whether an athlete should throw heavy or light hammers in training.
One of the core concepts at the heart of Bondarchuk’s training methods is his exercise classification scheme. Bondarchuk has written about dozens of different periodization models that can be used for a variety of sports, but all of them make use of his four-category system of classifying exercises from general to specific. The concept is straightforward, but not one that I have spent a lot of time on here talking about.
In my latest article for Juggernaut Training Systems I take a look at how both Bondarchuk and Yuri Verkhoshansky use their own systems to define special strength exercises. By looking at two leaders in the field of special strength, we start to see what common elements special strength exercises need. I also explain my own five tips for selecting a special strength exercise:
My previous two posts (available here and here) discussed the findings from my graduate school thesis when nine of the top American shot put coaches were surveyed. I would now like to address my thoughts on the findings and how I apply the training theory of using multiple weighted implements. First off, each of the coaches surveyed have had extreme success applying their theories to this training method. What they do has obviously worked for them. Furthermore, the fact that each of these coaches have successfully applied this training theory in different ways is proof that there isn’t just one right way in doing it. Therefore, I needed to come up with my own way of applying this training theory.
Over the last decade, youth sports have undergone a drastic transformation: general athletic development is being replaced with specialized preparation at earlier ages. This transformation began a long time ago, but has been accelerated as people saw the success of Tiger Woods (shown to the right) and the Williams sisters. Now I see more kids choosing to focus on one sport year-round than the three-sport letterman of years past. This is the topic of my most recent article for Juggernaut Training Systems.
This trend is bad, but the common reaction against it is to focus again on only generalized training. As I argue in the article, there doesn’t need to be a choice between specialized and generalized. A combination can work even better and I bring in some examples from the throwing world.
My first post for HMMR Media laid out how top American shot put coaches choose what weight implements to throw in training. The data came from my master’s thesis on the resistance training methods of elite shot putters, where I asked nine of the top shot put coaches in the USA a wide range of questions. These coaches were chosen based off of the results they had in International Championships, USA National Championships, and NCAA National Championships.
After I asked them what weighted implement they used, the next logical question was to ask how and why they used each one in training. Just as each coach had a different formula for what implements to use, they also had their own approaches to when they would use them.
While I spend much of my time on this site talking about the hammer throw and training for the hammer throw, it is important to remember that much of what I talk to is just as applicable to the other throwing events and even other sports. Training principles are fairly uniform. Facts like how the body adapts to stress or the how to increase power output are the same for other sports. The main difference is how they are applied.
With that in mind, Chad Smith asked me to contribute regularly to his site Juggernaut Training Systems. Smith was an elite shot putter before starting the JTS webpage, hitting a personal best of 19.46-meters as a post-collegiate in 2009. Since then he has switched to other strength sports, most recently winning the 2012 North American Strongman championship. He has also worked just as hard on his website as he has in the weight room. The site provides training information for a variety of strength sports, from throwing to strongman to powerlifting to Crossfit and more. Over the past year it has grown tremendously from around 20,000 visitors per month to over 300,000 a month.
Every month or two I will be posting a new article on JTS. The content on this site will not change and I will also post with the same frequency here. My posts for JTS will instead focus on the new topic of applying concepts like special strength to other sports. My first post, found below, indeed talks about special strength, but focuses on a key factor of all training missing in many online training articles: context. Too often articles focus on theory or practice, but they leave out the most important element of context.