Tag Archive for: Training Methodology

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 Volume 2

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Last month I reviewed the first volume of Anatoly Bondarchuk’s Transfer of Training. In volume one, my coach essentially puts to rest the notion that stronger is better. By laying out the correlations between training exercises and results, it becomes clear that strength gains only equal further throws for beginning hammer throwers. The book shows all of the data Bondarchuk has collected for all track and field events and provides a useful guide to what exercises transfer over to competitive results. Volume two, which was just released by Ultimate Athlete Concepts and available for purchase in the HMMR Media store, continues where volume one left off.
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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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Kibwé and Crystal’s New Website

My training partners Crystal Smith and Kibwé Johnson

I helped my training partners Kibwé Johnson and Crystal Smith launch a website on Friday.  Check it out if at www.turntheright.com if you get a chance.  Both of them are very accomplished throwers. In 2007, Kibwé won the silver medal in the 2007 Pan American Games and competed at the World Championships.  He also holds the collegiate record in the weight throw. Crystal, a native of British Columbia, is the former Canadian national record holder.

Kibwé and Crystal moved to Kamloops after the 2008 season and have slowly transitioned to a new style of training.  Their old style of training was very strength-based.  The new style of training is, in many ways, the exact opposite.  We have ten throwing sessions every week and never lift heavy weights.  It’ll be interesting to follow their website as they discuss their training, their progress, and the transition to this new system.  For example, in one of the first posts, Kibwé compares the two styles of training:

Where most coaches and athletes train for the “fast track” to achieve distance, Dr. B’s system takes time … He said if you take two groups: one group lifts heavy, and the other group is his system, the lifters will grow faster at first and achieve better results. However, after about 4 years, according to his studies, the hammer inclined group always passes the lifting group.

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Mixing Up My Training Again (+Video)

If you’ve been following my training, you’ll know that I started off the Fall with some high volume intense special strength work. Since then, I have been working to transfer that new strength into the hammer.  My coach, Dr. B, estimated that this would take a month or two.  It’s been two months and, right on cue, he’s correct again.  Take a look at this video from this morning’s training.  Both my technique and power are progressing quite nicely. I am pushing the ball much better on every turn. That is something I struggled with earlier this year, especially in the final turn.
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Light and Heavy Hammers (Continued)

I received a lot of feedback on my last post about using heavy and light hammers in training.  Getting feedback is one of the reasons I love writing about the hammer on here and it’s also why I don’t write as much about my endeavors as an attorney.  I like learning more about the sport by sharing information and creating a discussion.  Hopefully you can take something away from it too.  Please feel free to comment on my posts or e-mail me if you ever want to discuss anything.
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Light and Heavy Hammers

As I mentioned recently, much of the time hammer throwers spend training is spent throwing a variety of hammers. While this may seem less than revolutionary, it surprises many people when I tell them that. They often think that the key to success is in the weight room, but it isn’t. Results are first obtained with technique and, consequently, throwing consumes a vast majority of my training group’s time at practice.

We do mix things up though. We don’t just throw the competition 7.26-kilogram (16-pound) hammer. Instead, we throw an assortment of hammers ranging from 5-kilograms up to 10-kilograms. Coach Bondarchuk even gave my training partner Kibwe Johnson a full length 12-kilogram hammer to throw once. We vary things up like this for a variety of reasons. First, by occasionally changing the weight of the hammer we throw, the body is forced to continually adapt and grow. Second, the variation in weight allows us to focus on different aspects of our training. Lighter hammers help us improve our speed and technique. Heavier hammers help us improve our special strength. Each hammer has its role in training. Finally, we spend time throwing light and heavy hammers because our results with those weights correlates better to success than any weight room exercise does.
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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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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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One Step Back … Two Steps Forward

I don’t think anyone will ever understand all the intricacies of Dr. Bondarchuk’s training methodology. That being said, the underlying theory is easy to grasp: one step back and then two steps forward. To help explain, imagine that you want to be the world champion in pull-ups. You head to the local gym one day and do as many pull-ups as you can. You manage to do ten. Determined as you are to improve, you dedicate yourself to doing pull-ups every day. Most people will initially get very sore and tired because their muscles are not used to working in that manner. After a week, they may only be able to manage six or seven pull-ups. However, over time, the muscles will recover and strengthen and what once seemed hard will become easy. After time, twelve or fifteen pull-ups will be no problem.
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