January Training Update

Sometimes I get jealous of distance runners.  While runners need a coach, they can also train alone easier.  This comes in handy when traveling home for the holidays.  In hammer throwing, there is no replacement for the eye of your coach, critiquing your every move at practice.  I was back in Seattle for less than a month over Christmas, but it was enough time for my technique to acquire some rust.  Since arriving back in Kamloops two weeks ago, I’ve been busy fixing it up again.

As was the case in the fall, Dr. Bondacrhuk has been focusing on the start of the throw.  Read more

Mixing Up My Training Again (+Video)

If you’ve been following my training, you’ll know that I started off the Fall with some high volume intense special strength work. Since then, I have been working to transfer that new strength into the hammer.  My coach, Dr. B, estimated that this would take a month or two.  It’s been two months and, right on cue, he’s correct again.  Take a look at this video from this morning’s training.  Both my technique and power are progressing quite nicely. I am pushing the ball much better on every turn. That is something I struggled with earlier this year, especially in the final turn.
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November Training Update

I received a new training program last week. For the month prior I had been doing a high volume of work focusing on what we call “special strength” (e.g. working the core muscles used to accelerate the hammer). Coach Bondarchuk told me that the prior program would wear me down and it would take me another training program or two to transfer the new strength into my actual throw.
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Fall Training: Video Update

Since returning from Europe, I have returned to training twice a day. While I have taken an extra day off here and there, I’ve let my body rest in other ways. For instance, I’ve only been throwing light hammers (6.5 and 5.5 kilograms) and have done basically no weightlifting over the past six weeks. My strength training has been limited to simple exercises such as sit ups, vertical jumps, and overhead shot put throws. This has allowed me to rest up and correct some bad habits that emerged during the season.
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Beauty and the Hammer Throw

The basic mousetrap may be simple, but it is an engineering feat (bear with me, this post is actually about hammer throwing). With just three parts, it is able to accomplish its task for hundreds as years while more complex versions have tried and failed to be more efficient. But if one part is removed, and it no longer works. There is the beauty, not just in its simplicity, but in the relationship between its parts.
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Training Video Update

My new training program has been slowly doing its job.  The lighter hammers are finally allowing me to better transfer my new strength into the competition weight hammer.  Both my technique and rhythm with the competition hammer have been improving steadily since starting the program last Monday.
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Spring Competition Schedule

Today is the first day of spring and the snow is finally beginning to melt in Kamloops.  We are still training indoors, but plan to start training outdoors again next week.  My throws have been feeling very good this past week, so I am eager to get outside and see how far they are going.  I am also on a new training program that has me throwing heavy hammers again and doing a lot of hammer-specific weight training.  The hope is to get me in good shape before the season starts.  We will be heading down south for a few weeks in April and will start the season at Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic and the Mt. SAC Relays in Los Angeles.
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December Video Update

With previous coaches, I found that video analysis was essential to fine-tune my technique.  Since working with Dr. Bonarchuk, however, I no longer feel the need to watch as much video.  I trust that he knows what he is talking about and just do as he says.  However, it is still helpful to watch video occasionally to visualize what he is talking about.  It has been too long since I have done this.  Below is a video we took at an indoor training session this week.  I was throwing the competition 16-pound hammer.
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Tough on the hands

When I talk to people who are unfamiliar with the hammer throw, one of their first comments is always “You must have a strong upper body.” In fact, most of the speed and power in the hammer throw comes from the torso and legs. Contrary to most people’s intuitive belief, the arms and chest are relatively inactive throughout the throw and I haven’t done the bench press in nearly two years. That being said, a thrower is only as strong as his weakest link. One of the nagging problems nearly every thrower encounters is hand pain. After taking thousands of attempts each year, our hands inevitably develop calluses and blisters. I bring this up since I have developed a nagging blister on my middle finger as my body adjusted to the rigors and volume of training full-time. If you think most blisters are annoying, try having one on your finger while a quarter-ton of opposing force is pulling away from you in each turn of the throw. It is in this respect that a strong upper body is important. There is nothing you can do but bear the pain and wait for it to heal. Read more