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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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Coach Myslinski as a player at Tennessee.

Training Talk with Tom Myslinski (Part 2)

Enjoy this training talk? Become a member to read more in-depth chats with top coaches from a variety of backgrounds like Dan Pfaff, Vern Gambetta, Derek Evely, Gary Winckler, Joel Jamieson and many more.

Earlier this week we began a training talk with NFL strength coach Tom Myslinski of the Jacksonville Jaguars. To start off the conversation he talked about his influences and how he has adapted them to American football. Today we continue with part two, where he talks about the role of special strength training in the programs he creates for athletes. He also provides insight on what feedback he gathers to optimize training for his athletes. Read more

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Talking Specific Strength on the Performance Podcast

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.
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Coach Ken Foreman coached Gary Winckler in college and served as a big influence on him.

Training Talk with Gary Winckler (Part 4)

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.
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Shot Put Specific Strength Exercises

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. The exercises shown in the video are:

  1. Medicine Ball Stand Throws
  2. Nieder Press
  3. Shoulder Punches
  4. Sand Bag Stand Throws
  5. Sidewinder Press
  6. 3-Step Javelin Chain Puts
  7. Nelson Kettlebell Throws

For some good hammer throw specific strength exercises, check out Martin’s video from a few years ago.

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Implementing Specific Strength

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.
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Canadian record holder Jim Steacy.

The Steinke Formula

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.
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Juggernaut Training Systems

Creating Special Strength Exercises

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:
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A sample graph of training results from my own training.

Finding the Right Weight Implements For Your Throwers

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.
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Youth Athletics and Specialization

tiger_woodsOver 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.
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