At the core, the ideas behind a warm up are relatively straightforward and well-understood: increase muscle temperature, increase range of motion, dial in an athlete psychologically, increase heart rate, prepare the joints, ligaments, and tendons for movement and impact, and much more. Together the warm up should prepare the athlete physically and mentally for training and competition. In most sports, the timing and execution of a warm up is simple. But in winter sports, challenges appear all over for something that should be one of the easiest parts of training to implement. Read more
The first day of training in the snow each year fills me with the excitement of a schoolboy arriving to the first day of class. The snow mutes the air, leaves a still, peaceful and relaxing silence to train in. I am not alone either. I was excited to see some of my young throwers not only train without complaint in the snow this year, but hit a few personal bests and brag about training in the snow on Facebook. It is a merit badge in winter throwing.
But it gets old. Fast. First is the physical element. I put together some tips for throwing the snow last year, and while it makes things better the weather still drags on you. Walking to retrieve the hammer drains the legs more and more every training. While you may think it would be good to be warmer, the slushy snow is just more slippery with throwing shoes on.
Throwing in the winter can present all sorts of challenges, but as I keep repeating on this site, it is important to throw the hammer year-round. The weight throw might look like the hammer throw, but nothing can replace the real thing. Throwing outside is the best option since you can get more feedback from your results, and I posted some tips for doing that last month. But it isn’t possible for everyone. In some places the winter is just too extreme to have a productive training session outside. Elsewhere, you are constrained by limited sunlight. If you work a normal job, or even a part-time job, it can be difficult to find daylight hours to go throwing (luckily our new facility this year has some lights since that was the major issue for me last season).
It might surprise people, but we get surprisingly little snow in Zurich. The winter months remind me more of overcast Seattle than the snowy alps nearby. Just this week we received our first snowfall of the year. Many people go inside to throw the weight at the first sign of snow. But it is important to throw the hammer in the winter. It isn’t that hard either.
I may not be from the midwest, but I’ve learned a few tricks that make throwing in the snow very easy. And, if that fails, you can check back in a few weeks for some ideas on building an indoor throwing cage. Read more