Tag Archive for: Special Strength

Ask Martin Vol. 5: How and Why to Throw Heavy Hammers

Question: I understand throwing 8- and 9-kilogram hammers, but why do you throw full length 10-kilogram hammers in training? -Robert

Many people are surprised when I tell them we throw the 10-kilogram hammer in training. Their jaw then starts to drop when I tell them we throw it on a full-length wire. For some, deviating too far from the competition weight hammer is a big no-no. But for us, it is just another tool to use in our arsenal. The more tools you have, the better chance that one of them will help you improve. Heavy hammers play an essential role in developing special strength, which is more useful and important than general strength for hammer throwers.
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Simplifying Bondarchuk

Not working much in the offseason gave me a chance to spend more time on this site and also work on a few projects that I’ve had on the shelf for years. One of those projects was to write a primer on Bondarchuk’s training. I originally wrote an article along those lines in 2004 after doing years of research, reading, and talking with other coaches about Bondarchuk’s ideas on training. However, as I was about to publish that article, I actually met Bondarchuk and it made me realize I still had a bit more to learn. Then I began law school and my free time vanished.

I still posted the original article on Hal’s Hammerthrow.com site, but I’ve wanted to update it with some new insight and finally had the time to do so this past winter. Thanks to some great feedback by my training partner Ryan Jensen, Zach Hazen, my girlfriend, and others, I was able to get the article published in the April edition of Modern Athlete and Coach. Modern Athlete and Coach is published by the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association. Their organization has done a lot for Bondarchuk (they published his first book in English) and I think they are perhaps the best athletics coaching magazine in the world. They are also very nice to work with and have been kind enough to let me republish the article here.

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One Month Training Journal

I’ve learned many things from coach Bondarchuk about training, technique, and life. But, as I’ve said before, one of the things I respect the most about him is his openness. In my first few weeks working with him he told me that the more you share, the more you’ll learn. In a local newspaper article last summer, he repeated his mantra, saying “If you don’t share your secrets, your information, you can’t improve . . . If you don’t learn from each other, there is no progress.” That philosophy is one of the reasons I started to write so often about our training methods on this site.
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Book Review: Bondarchuk’s Transfer of Training in Sports

This article from the HHMR Media archives is being provided as a free preview. For access to other archived articles from Bingisser’s Blog and additional premium content from other authors, become a member now.

“We will free ourselves from naive and abstract types of conclusions: as for example, to throw the hammer such and such distance it is necessary to do the barbell squat a certain number of time, the power clean a certain number of times and so on. The time of primitiveness has already passed and the time has come to look at the problem all the more seriously.”

-Anatoliy Bondarchuk in “Transfer of Training in Sports,” available from the HMMR Media Store

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November Training Update

I received a new training program last week. For the month prior I had been doing a high volume of work focusing on what we call “special strength” (e.g. working the core muscles used to accelerate the hammer). Coach Bondarchuk told me that the prior program would wear me down and it would take me another training program or two to transfer the new strength into my actual throw.
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Training Tools Vol. 1: Essential Hammer Throw Special Strength Exercises

With the help of Mike Mai and Zack Midles, the Evergreen Athletic Fund‘s first clinic was a success on Sunday. We had ten athletes ranging in age from 8th grade to college, as well as local high school and college coaches. We are thankful to everyone who helped put on the event, and for the donations we received from it.

While most of the time at the clinic was focused on hammer throw technique, I also spent a little bit of time talking about one of my favorite subjects: special strength. I have previously discussed how I feel this an area most Americans neglect in their training. Since that post, I have received numerous e-mails asking about what other special strength exercises are helpful to the hammer throw. I thought it would be helpful to demonstrate some of what I was talking about, so I’ve posted a video below that demonstrates some essential hammer throw exercises.

Most of the exercises I cover in the video fall into the following categories, in no particular order:

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And Now for Something Completely Different

Coach Bondarchuk is a scientist, graduating with a degree in Pedagogical Science from the University of Kiev over 40 years ago. Like all scientists, he likes to experiment. He’s been experimenting for decades, searching for the best training methods. I am now one of his research subjects.
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An Introduction to Special Strength

One of the big things that sets Coach Bondarchuk apart from the typical American coach is how he approaches weight training for the hammer throw. Most coaches simply think stronger is better. To a certain extent, this is true; strength is a necessary component to success since you need to be strong to throw the hammer far. However, strength is not sufficient to throw far, and after a certain baseline level of strength is attained, you reach a point of diminishing return where strength’s correlation to success falters. Coach Bondarchuk takes a slow and steady approach to weight training. This is an approach that will get his athletes to the level of strength they need over the long term. His athletes do not aim to be the strongest and will take plenty of time to develop strength. In the short term, this also means they will have more energy that can be used to take the volume of throws needed to improve their technique, another essential element to success.
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