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.
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.”
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- For more from Martinsen, check out these presentation slides.
- Interviewer Shaun Pickering was himself a guest on HMMR Podcast 255 where we broke down the 2020 Olympic action. He’s got plenty more great interviews like this one up on Throws Talk.
- For more on specific strength training, check out the HMMR Classroom, including Lesson 9: Specific strength exercises for throwing and our brand new Lesson 31: Advanced specific strength concepts.
- We’ve had lots of javelin throwers and coaches on the podcast and the GAINcast. Check out javelin coach Mike Barber on GAINcast 175, European javelin champion Steve Backley on GAINcast 156, Olympic medalist Goldie Sayers on GAINcast 106, New Zealand javelin coach Debbie Strange on GAINcast 237, and American champion Dana Lyon on HMMR Podcast 193.
- Thorkildsen had a long and consistent career. We ran some numbers a few years ago to see when javelin throwers hit their peak, which shows some interesting developmental trends.