Throwers Offseason Information

Notes and References for Throwers: Weightlifting

Power Lifting: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press

Power lifting is excellent for development of the maximum strength—the peak force that our bodies can deliver.  Compared to Olympic lifting, power lifting involves the movement of large weights at relatively low speeds over shorter distances.  A balanced weightlifting program for throwers involves a blend of power lifting and Olympic lifting movements.  

IHS athletes should be familiar with the power lifts from our gym sessions.  Here are a few suggested references to help you improve your form and lifting program:

Power Lifting Resources

Layne Norton. 15-minute YouTube tutorials on fundamentals of the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press with excellent visuals on proper execution and injury prevention:

Power Lifting Technique.  Wide range of articles and videos on all aspects of power lifting: https://powerliftingtechnique.com/

Olympic Lifting: Clean and Jerk and Snatch

Compared to the power lifts, Olympic lifts involves the movement of weights at relatively high speeds, over larger distances–think speed strength. In competition, the Olympic lifts involve movement of the barbell from the floor to an overhead position. The lower body is used to initiate a powerful acceleration of the barbell, and force is transmitted in a rapid, precisely coordinated sequence through the body kinetic chain.  The speed strength acquired through the Olympic lifts is highly beneficial to the throws.  The role of Olympic lifting for throwers is to develop basic competence and good form to improve speed strength and transfer it into longer throws. The Olympic lifts are used in conjunction with power lifts to optimize an athlete’s development of maximum strength and speed strength.

Like basic throws instruction, learning the Olympic lifts involves development of movement patterns through components of the complete effort. A basic Olympic lifting progression involves development of movement patterns, flexibility and form using a lightly loaded barbell, summarized as follows:

Clean and jerk.  An approach that I have found helpful is to learn the clean and jerk with the following progression: Front squat from a rack, clean high pull from the floor, hang clean, jerk, hang clean and jerk, then moving to the complete lift from the floor.

Snatch.  Generally considered the more difficult of the two Olympic lifts, and more demanding on the shoulders and arms due to the unique movement pattern and range of motion.  An approach that I have found helpful is to learn the snatch with the following progression: Overhead squat from a rack, snatch high pull from the floor, hang snatch, then moving to the complete lift from the floor.

Olympic Lifting Resource

Jim Schmitz.  A pioneer in US weightlifting, Jim has a nice introduction to the Olympic lifts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQSYlG-HA3s

Catalyst Athletics: Excellent videos and written tutorials on technique and program development.  On-line coaching and in-person coaching camps are available: https://www.catalystathletics.com/#

Basic Plyometrics Resources for Throwers

Introduction

Plyometric exercises use neuromuscular stimulation with eccentric/stretch and concentric/contraction movements to develop power (“speed strength”) and help improve throwing and overall speed. Plyometric exercises involve the generation of high muscular forces over short intervals of time.

Lower Body

Jump rope.  Good basic plyometric work that emphasizes the foot and lower leg, coordination, speed and cardiovascular development.  Excellent part for warm up and can be done with regular frequency as it involves lower forces than more aggressive plyometric work. Choose a jump rope compatible with your floor surface (e.g., concrete or wood gym floor); ropes with a bit of stiffness and weight can also be easier to use.

The Rudiments.  Introduced to javelin throwers during our 2022 season, these are excellent basic, low amplitude plyometric exercises that emphasize generating power from the knee/upper leg/hip extension.

Resource (Altis Dan Pfaff): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNjQ2gOizAI

Box Jumps.  Involve increased force generation and can be done in jump up and drop jump forms.  Given the increased load that they impose on the body, box jumps should be gradually added into training and not used to excess (for example, limit work to 3 to 5 sets of 10 reps in a training session), with rest days between sessions.

Resource (Mark Salazar) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLSB_Zn0awM

Upper Body

Medicine ball work provides plyometric benefits to the upper body.  Relevant exercises include overhead and standing throws against walls, drop drills with a partner, twists, and throws from the floor. Plyometrics can involve linear three and five step medicine ball throws, particularly beneficial for javelin throwers.

Resources: 

Partner drills and wall throws, Larry Judge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxWs2gF2FzM

Shot specific movements, John Bowman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXhFvxz9nNEGeneral plyometric movements, OTA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t5lmhnAW_w

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