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HMMR Podcast Episode 122: The Polish Secret (with Szymon Ziolkowski)

Szymon Ziolkowski is one of the most successful throwers in history. Despite competing in one of the most competitive times in history, he maintained an international level for nearly 20 years, spanning from the 1996 Olympics to the 2014 European Championships, capturing multiple World and Olympic titles in between. He joins us on this week’s episode to discuss how Poland has become so dominant in the throwing events, what he learned from decades at the top of the sport, and what he did in training to help keep him there. Read more

Finding the Right Hammer

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Autumn is the time of year that most people work on three things: technique drills, heavy weight training, and heavy hammers. While our annual planning model doesn’t follow that same route, I am in the middle of a training block where I am throwing just the heavy 9-kilogram (19.8-pound) hammer. In this respect, hammer throwers around the world are ahead of the other event groups. I know many shot putters that throw only the competition weight hammer, out of fear for ruining their rhythm. I know others that might dabble only with light shot puts. But it seems the majority avoid heavy shot puts. It is a similar story in other events. Despite this, it can still be difficult to find training hammers in various weights.

This post is not about rehashing why this is an important part of training (the two main reasons are: overweight implements help develop special strength and, as I pointed out again last week, training variation is critical). What it is about is how to find the best implements to train with. After nearly a decade of training in Seattle I had amassed a personal arsenal of perhaps 30 hammers with 18 different weights ranging from 2-kilogram to 16-kilogram (plus an adjustable weight hammer I inherited from Ken Shannon). Now that I have moved to Zurich I have slowly been increasing my club’s inventory with the help of Polanik. This is essential to becoming a good hammer thrower. Even if you focus on the weight throw throughout the winter(which again, I am not a fan of), it is still helpful to have a variety of weights to use so that you can work on different aspects of the throw. Read more

Announcing a New Sponsor

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A decade ago I was searching all over for a 6-kilogram hammer. At the time the IAAF had changed the official junior implement from the 16-pound (7.26-kilogram) implement to this new odd weight of 13.2-pounds (6-kilogram). And it was nearly impossible to find. The large equipment suppliers offered 12- and 16-pound varieties for high school and senior athletes. Some of them also had 14- or 18- pound hammers for training, but not what I was looking for. Then I heard rumors of a Canadian company that had discovered a polish supplier. It was like I had discovered gold, and within the next week I was the proud owner of a Polanik 6-kilogram hammer.

The same thing happened to me in 2005 when I started to train with Bondarchuk. He Told me to throw the 10-kilogram hammer one session and I had never even seen one. Again, none of the American suppliers were helpful nice they did not carry anything that heavy, but Polanik had just what I needed. For the past decade I’ve been a Polanik thrower, and that makes me proud to announce that they are my new official equipment supplier. Read more