Ask Martin Vol. 5: How and Why to Throw Heavy Hammers
Question: I understand throwing 8- and 9-kilogram hammers, but why do you throw full length 10-kilogram hammers in training? -Robert
Many people are surprised when I tell them we throw the 10-kilogram hammer in training. Their jaw then starts to drop when I tell them we throw it on a full-length wire. For some, deviating too far from the competition weight hammer is a big no-no. But for us, it is just another tool to use in our arsenal. The more tools you have, the better chance that one of them will help you improve. Heavy hammers play an essential role in developing special strength, which is more useful and important than general strength for hammer throwers.
Of course, there is always the worry that costs outweigh the benefits. The potential gained strength, some argue, is outweighed by bad technical habits picked up by throwing the heavy hammer. This does not have to be the case. When throwing heavy hammers, it is important to focus first on technique. While the hammer is heavy, it is not impossible to throw with good technique. Take a look at the video comparison below of Kibwé’s throws with the 6- and 12-kilogram hammer. Despite being twice the weight of the lighter implement, Kibwé maintains his form while throwing the 12-kilogram hammer. A thank you goes to Kevin Becker for producing the video.
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mine is question that i want to ask. do you think that after 7yrs of not throwing anything will make a damage to ones career in throws? (discus)
Do you limit the amount of different weights you use in practice? I feel like when you switch from different weight implements it takes a throw or two to get a feel for countering the hammer correctly. If this is the case it would seem that it may not be productive (specifically late in the season) to throw more than two different weights in a practice session because you will spend too many throws trying to counter the new weight correctly.
Most throwers should be able to use up to 3 different hammers each training session, but we often stick to 2 (although with w 2 training sessions a day, that can mean 4 hammers a day). Some throwers take longer to adjust than others, so this definitely plays a role. However, if you throw with various hammers a lot, then you will get better at adjusting. We’ve frequently moved from 5k to 10k in the same practice and can adjust quickly.