It is easy to think about the throwing events as strength events. But in the end, the implement is often not that heavy. The bigger challenge is coordinating the whole body to add speed to the element through elasticity, as well as strength. German national discus coach René Sack joins this week’s podcast to discuss how he thinks about this element of the throw and exchange ideas about how to address it in training.
Notes and quotes
A former elite thrower himself, Sack is currently the German national coach for the women’s discus. In additional to overseeing the event nationwide, he leads a group of throwers in Halle including World and European Championship medalists Nadine Müller and Shanice Craft.
- 4:00 – Changes in training heading into an Olympic year.
- 6:00 – Integrating and modifying block training.
- 8:00 – When to peak in an Olympic year.
- 11:00 – Thoughts on American discus throwing and strength vs. elastic throwing styles. “You need to lift a certain amount of weight to be successful, but at the end the discus weighs 1 or 2 kilograms. It is not that heavy, so you have to be fast and elastic to really throw if far. “
- 13:00 – Training elasticity.
- 15:15 – Reactive throws and creating plyometric throws.
- 17:30 – The impact of heavy implements on reactive strength. “You have to put some more weight in the throw. The women’s discus is light so sometimes you need more weight to make it a bit more plyometric. They need to have the strength to get the speed at the end. “
- 20:45 – Elasticity, eccentric strength, and ideas on training reactive strength for the hammer throw.
- 25:00 – Finding movement rhythm and learning to watch movement.
- 26:45 – Medicine ball progressions for reactive strength, and defining what is too heavy. “What are you trying to do: work on power output or reducing reaction time? What weight you choose will help that out. If you are trying to train elastic stuff with an 8-kilo ball it won’t work, just like training strength with a 2-kilo ball. “
- 30:45 – Periodizing specific strength work.
- 34:00 – Deep dive in butterfly variations for throwers.
- 36:30 – Understanding muscle slings and the hip-shoulder connection.
- 37:45 – Bringing more intent and quality to medicine ball training: “Just throwing around a med ball doesn’t give you anything, just sweat and bored athletes. You have to give them a task or look for specific movement qualities. “
- 43:30 – Ideas from Nick Garcia and being creative with facilities and equipment.
- 48:00 – The Halle throws meeting.
- 54:00 – Spinning in Germany.
To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- This month’s site theme is reactive strength. Join HMMR Plus so that you don’t miss out on our archives and new resources, including the previous episode and our most recent GAINcast.
- In Video Lesson 16, Sack shares his framework for developing specific strength in the throwing events along with video examples from training, including many discussed in this episode including this reactive throw with Nadine Müller.
- To learn more from Sack, listen to our interviews with him on Episode 79 and Episode 136. Vern and I also discussed his recent presentations on GAINcast 94. You can also find him on Twitter at @ReneSack.
- Sack has contributed articles to HMMR Media on athlete monitoring and individualization. You can find them all here.
- We dug deeper into finding intent in medicine ball exercises in this article.
- One book reference in this lesson is Muscle Slings in Sport by Kurt Tittel, available in English and German.