March Training Update

It’s been nearly two months since my last training update on here. However, it seems like you all enjoy other topics more since I had a record number of readers last month. Lately I’ve also enjoyed talking about other topics more because my results have been reliably mediocre.

I tend to be optimistic about training. When I have a bad day or bad week of training, I tend to write it off since a step back is actually part of the my plan to progress forward. However the past two weeks have been different because this step back was not planned. I picked up the flu right around the Swiss Indoor Championships. While it was never that bad, it drained my energy for a while, left me five pounds lighter, and somehow stole most of the technical progress I’ve made in the offseason.
Read more

My Goal of Becoming a Shot Put Champion (Seriously)

My goal for tomorrow: a medal in the shot put.

U.S. Olympic hammer thrower Loree Smith recently wrote a detailed post on goal setting for hammer throwers. She provided, better than any sport psychologist I have ever heard, the best explanation of how useful goals can be.

To summarize, athletes need long term goals, short terms goals, and flexibility. I believe the long term goals are the most important for a hammer throw since shortcuts and quick success are hard to come by in such a technical discipline. It takes a certain type of athlete to train year after year towards a goal that may be a decade away. But those as the type of athletes that succeed in the hammer throw. I’ve seen many talented throwers give up the hammer after one day since they were not able to throw further than their shot put best. That was probably the right move because they didn’t the mental prerequisites to be a good hammer thrower.
Read more

Learning the Hammer Throw

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.

In the last issue of Track Coach, my training partner Ryan Jensen and I published a short article about learning to throw the hammer. Our approach is simple: get kids throwing as fast as possible and then start to refine their technique. The article is built on our experiences in coaching, watching Dr. Bondarchuk coach, and learning to throw ourselves.

I actually learned to throw the hammer twice and the first time I was unsuccessful. I first threw the hammer at at age 15 and began to coach myself. Even after three years of training once a month, I was still just using one or two turns in competition and had no concept of what the event is about.

When I was 18, I met Harold Connolly and began learning all over again. This time, I had a plan. For weeks I did drill after drill, but not one throw. Harold’s theory was to perfect the basics of technique before ever entering the ring. Even after I began throwing, drills took up a significant part of my training for the next four years. My footwork was great, but in hindsight that isn’t where my focus should have been. My footwork has never been a problem, but I still have issue with my balance and rhythm. Drills can’t replicate the true rhythm of a throw. Only a throw can, and that should have been my focus from the beginning. Read more

Ask Martin Vol. 10: The Winds and Entry

Question: My question is prefaced by two different wind and entry techniques. A few years ago at the NTCA, one coach spoke about keeping your shoulders facing forward in the winds and winding around your head and getting your hands down as the hammer comes to 0º, before entry into the first turn. Others at the conference felt that you should turn your shoulders to the right, catching the ball at 270º, still getting your hands down by 0º and pushing into the entry. -Bill
Read more

Litvinov on Hammer Technique

Earlier this month, Sergej Litvinov, Jr. posted some insightful comments about hammer technique on Facebook. Litvinov, Jr. is one of the top up and coming throwers in the world. He has a personal best of 78.98m and placed 5th at the 2009 World Championship at a young age of just 23. He’s also had the benefit of learning the event from his father, the former Olympic champion and world record holder of the same name.

Sergej Litvinov Jr.

Litvinov, Jr. posted a link to this hammer throw instructional video. The video takes a subjective approach to hammer throw technique and says that the position of the low point during the winds should be individual for the athlete. Litvinov, Jr. quickly replied that this is wrong; the low point should never be on the left side for a right-handed thrower.
Read more

The Paradoxical Nature of the Hammer Throw

When I wrote about my training last month, things were going quite well. Distances were at an all time best, but my technique was mediocre. This month has seen the reverse. My results have declined, but my technique is progressing. This reversal often happens in my training and is one of the many paradoxes in the hammer throw. You would think that my best results would occur when I had the best technique, but it doesn’t always work that way. This time the cause of the apparent paradox is the intense special-strength oriented training program I began in November. I would complain about the crazy amount of volume, but I think Kibwé‘s new program has me beat. Nevertheless, my energy level has plummeted and my results have slowly gone with it.
Read more

An Introduction to Biomechanics

I recently came across a biomechanical analysis of the hammer throw at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. While the report is brief, it perfectly illustrates a few points that all hammer throwers need to know.

2009 World Champion Primož Kozmus showing a solid hammer position.

Basic physics tells us that there are three main variables that impact the distance of the throw: (1) the velocity of the hammer at the time of release; (2) the angle of release; (3) and the height of release. Obviously other factors also come into play, such as the wind, the density of the air, and so on, but these factors are the same for everyone and cannot be influenced by the throw. The height of release also plays a relatively small role since it remains fairly constant despite attempts by Harold Connolly in his prime to try to throw will taller shoes.
Read more

Ask Martin Vol. 7: Technique

Question: I just read this interview with Dr. Bondarchuk. In it, he says the two reasons U.S. hammer throwing lags behind is because of the way we train (lack of special strength) and technique issues. You have talked a lot about how to train special strength, I would like to know what you think some of the major flaws in the U.S. style of technique is compared to what Dr. B teaches. -Jeff
Read more

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.
Read more

Olympic Champion Primoz Kozmus

Ask Martin Vol. 4: Push the hammer

Question: What puzzles me is why no one ever gives a definitive statement about how to achieve hammer acceleration. If it is pushing with the right hand, driving with the right foot, dropping onto the right foot early, lowering the left shoulder on the entry, etc. Why not just say so plainly!! It seems to me that someone needs to step-up to the plate and say: this is how you make the hammer go faster, and this is how you best counter the forces that you produce. –Ray
Read more