HMMR Podcast Episode 268: Training athleticism for throwers (with Åsmund Martinsen)

When Åsmund Martinsen began working with a young Andreas Thorkildsen in 2001, they set about making the “most athletic javelin thrower in the world” in order to develop a special talent. They developed a program based on the balance of strength, speed, flexibility and gymnastics, to create a “superathlete” that happened to throw the javelin, and remain healthy enough to contest for all major titles over a long career. On this week’s podcast Martinsen breaks down the training of two-time Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen with guest interviewer Shaun Pickering.

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Notes and quotes

Åsmund Martinsen began working with the Andreas Thorkildsen at age 19 in 2001. Under his tutelage, Thorkildsen won medals at all major Championships over an 8 year period, including 2 Olympic Gold Medals, a World Championship Gold in 2009 and 2 European Titles, becoming the first javelin thrower in history to hold all three major titles. Martinesen was a former javelin thrower himself and a school teacher by profession.

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 6:30 – History of coaching a young Andreas Thorkildsen: “We weren’t trying to make him excellent at anything, just good at everything. No weak spots, and therefore less risk of injury.”
  • 10:45 – Modeling and developing Thorkildsen’s technique.
  • 14:15 – Finding consistency and injury prevention: “The goal of today’s training session is to make tomorrow’s training session as good as possible. In there lies a progression and health issue that you must be able to train tomorrow. So don’t do anything stupid.”
  • 16:45 – Gymnastics training for javelin: “When you swing on rings of parallel bars you get stronger, but you also get more control. You have to control the muscles around the joint, which makes it easier to know where your arm is when you are throwing.
  • 22:30 – Approaching strength and size.
  • 27:00 – Throwing volumes.
  • 28:45 – Breaking down Thorkildsen’s hip injury.
  • 31:00 – Balancing teaching and coaching.
  • 32:40 – What would you do differently?
  • 34:45 – Advice for young athletes and learning from the best: “Younger throwers should go on YouTube and look at the 10 or 20 best throwers. See what they are doing alike and you see the box of boundaries you should be inside. Don’t just copy the best thrower; there will always be variations.”
  • 36:30 – Developmental focus for young throwers.
  • 39:45 – Advice to young coaches: “Be humble. Bring in help. You have to search for knowledge and don’t be afraid to use other coaches.”

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.

Further reading