Winter Training for Throwers
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN...
By Chris Dyrmishi
Winter Training. The time of year where athletes and coaches alike look to make significant changes, improvements and adaptations in preparation for the upcoming season. This training looks very different for each event and even for each athlete, but there are some general similarities that athletes in the throws community tend to follow.
EARLY WINTER TRAINING FOR THROWERS
In the early months of winter, most athletes go through a general fitness (conditioning phase). This phase can apply to the circle, runway or gym. For example, if you are doing conditioning in the gym, your repetition scheme will be higher. Basically, rather than lifting heavy for 1-4 reps per set, you could be doing 8-12 reps at a lighter weight than usual on exercises such as clean, snatch, squat and bench (typically 50-60% of your 1 Rep Max).
In the circle or on the runway, your volume will typically also increase. This could mean that an athlete is doing more drills than they usually would. This would ingrain good movement patterns for athletes, especially if they took a break after their season ended. Along with drills, you can add lots of throws with an implement into a plan. This could be with a lighter/slightly underweight implement to reintroduce the athlete to the movement at a lower intensity. The best way to improve your throwing is to throw!
Overall, an increase in volume in the circle, on the runway or in the gym is a great tool to build a strong foundation for an athlete in the early winter period – especially if the athlete has a long competition season coming up.
USING PLYOMETRICS FOR WINTER TRAINING
As well as throwing and lifting weights, plyometric movements are crucial in the throwing events. Exercises such as box or hurdle jumps, squat jumps and lateral bounds are amongst the most popular exercises used by throwers. 3x World Champion Tom Walsh is known to use variations of these movements, one being Box Drops.
Plyometrics are used for many reasons, such as increasing ability to apply force quickly. This relates to the aim of the throws; apply as much force to an implement as possible. Like in the gym, plyometrics at a lower intensity for more reps are popular in the early season to build a good foundation. The intensity increases as the winter season goes on.
WINTER TRAINING EXERCISES
There are many exercises in the gym that athletes can and should take advantage of to maximise results. As a basic template, a session could include...
- One Olympic lift or a variation (clean and snatch – variations include power, hang or from boxes)
- One power lift (squat, bench, deadlift – variations include incline bench, box squat and more!)
- One plyometric movement (e.g. box jumps, plyo press up)
- One accessory or core exercise (e.g. Russian twist, plank)
Although this is a general template, it can be very effective when applied correctly (exercise, set, and repetition scheme used to each athlete based on strengths and weaknesses).
Competition season is only a month away. Work hard, and throw far in 2022!