Rethinking drills for the hammer throw

Back in December, I invited Sergej Litinov to Zurich to present a workshop and work with some of the Swiss hammer throwers. Since I first got to train with Litvinov in 2004, I have been impressed by the different perspective he brings to the event. He conceptualizes the hammer throw different than any other thrower I know. Back in August 2017 and September 2018 he joined member hangouts to try and explain his approach, but only seeing him with with athletes in person do you really get to understand how to put the concepts into practice. Read more

Adding variation to plyometric training

If you see how plyometric training is put into practice, you often see a small group of exercises being used over and over in the same manner. Hurdle jumps, countermovement jumps, and drop jumps are all staples of plyometric training. They all train similar properties, in similar ways, using the same plane of movement. Read more

Lessons on achieving impossible goals from The Dawn Wall

Living in Switzerland means it is hard to avoid the mountains. The more I explore them, the more I am amazed by climbers. Some adventure sports are simply about who has the most courage. Climbing is about who is the most focused on their goals. I have never climbed a mountain or even gone bouldering, but as a spectator of the sport I am captivated by just how focused the best climbers are. While more often than not they fail, every time they succeed my jaw drops a little more. Read more

A good warm up never gets old

It’s cliche to say that the warm up is the most overlooked part of training, but despite hearing more and more share creative ideas for warming up over the past few years, I still see more bad warmups than good warmups. Running a few laps and stretching is still more the rule than the exception. Read more

4 more things I learned from Frans Bosch

Two years ago I compiled list of four key points I learned from Frans Bosch’s work after reading his book Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach. Since then I’ve had the change to try out some of the concepts in training, talk more with Frans Bosch, and see how John Pryor has implemented the ideas. Therefore I thought it was time to add to that list. Read more

Understanding and implementing hip lock into training

As John Pryor mentioned on this week’s GAINcast, hip lock is one movement attractor emphasized by Frans Bosch that he immediately grabbed on to and saw results from. Look at people experimenting with Bosch’s methods on social media and you’ll likely see a variety of exercises aiming to improve hip lock. The problem is, much of what is going around lacks context and a full understanding of both the function and intent of these exercises. Read more

Understanding the orbit in the hammer throw

Hammer throwers have a tendency to be isolated. To start with, we spend most of our times turning around in circles in a cage. But beyond that, we sometimes get so focused on what we are trying to do that we forget why we are trying to do that. Read more

What exercise classification can and can’t do for your training

You can classify exercises in a number of ways: on a scale of specificity, by the plane of movement, by degrees of freedom, by the speed of movement, or through various other methods. One approach is that of Anatoli Bondarchuk, who we have covered many times on our podcast and in our webinar on his training methods, which divides exercises into four categories based on his definition of specificity. In talking with coaches over the past few years, his method provides a simple tool that coaches in any spot can implement. But let’s be clear, it also has it’s limitations, like any method of exercise classification. Exercise classification is the start of a process, not the solution itself. There are certain things that exercise classification can and cannot do. Read more

Two methods to break down complex sports

In many ways, track and field coaches have it easy. When I am coaching a hammer thrower, for example, I have just one athlete to worry about, one movement to train for, and one technique to master. Athletes in open-skilled sports, on the other hand, have a much more difficult puzzle to put together. How do coaches decide what to focus on in training and programming in such a situation? Read more

Ashton Eaton, the shot put, and individualization

Ashton Eaton may be the world record holder in the decathlon, but when you watched him throw shot put that was not the image that came to mind. To start with the implement always looked a size too big for him. He also adopted an unorthodox technique in which he started with his other foot and then shuffled across the ring in his tennis shoes. Watch him take a few throws and you are reminded more of a masters thrower at a neighborhood track meet than the world’s best athlete. Read more