Ask Martin Vol. 7: Technique

Question: I just read this interview with Dr. Bondarchuk. In it, he says the two reasons U.S. hammer throwing lags behind is because of the way we train (lack of special strength) and technique issues. You have talked a lot about how to train special strength, I would like to know what you think some of the major flaws in the U.S. style of technique is compared to what Dr. B teaches. -Jeff

The biggest technical issue holding Americans back is that we like to pull the hammer. We tend to be big and strong and try to muscle the hammer instead of pushing it and working with it. In fact, this is the biggest problem among all the world’s throwers, myself included. Take, for example some of the top American throwers from the past decade: A.G. Kruger and Kibwé Johnson.


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7 replies
    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I don’t mean to generalize too much. There are Americans with good technique and people all over the world with bad technique. This is just the most common problem I see with american throwers, myself included (even though I’m throwing for Switzerland now).

  1. zach
    zach says:

    I’ve been thinking about the arm thing a while now. I am starting to think about it with a tight rope walker analogy. Those guys use the long pole to stabilize themselves on the rope. If they have perfect balance, their arms never have to tighten up to pull on the pole because a correction is never needed. I think that pulling on the hammer may not just be a misleading way of perceiving force generation, but a balancing crutch as well. This comes from lots of reps trying to stay long and relaxed, getting into my 4th turn and feeling out of control, and restoring a feeling of control by pulling or dragging. Maybe it is just me, but I think we have to strive to learn balance without using the hammer, so that it is free to “fly” around us (Youri talks about letting the hammer “fly” at clinics). Any of this make sense to you Martin?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Zach – I think you are exactly right. When I pull, it is because I am out of position. I assume it is the same for others. When you are bent over or off balance, you can’t push the hammer. You then pull the hammer out of desperation to try to find a way to go faster. But in the end, it only makes things worse.

      Like you say, we need to strive to be on balance and let the hammer fly. You need to be in the proper position to push around (fly) you.


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  1. […] I told him I didn’t mind at all being somewhat of a poster child for the not pushing the hammer discussion. I’m okay with it for several reasons. I knew I didn’t push. Also, you gotta call a […]

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