When it comes to strength training for high school discus, there are a lot of throwers who think they can get away without strength training. They think that because the women's discus is so light, that they only need to work technique to throw far. We've actually heard throwers brag that they can throw far without being strong as if that's a good thing!
Here's the deal. Strength training as a female discus thrower WILL make you throw further. If you can already throw 120 feet without strength training, congratulations, you are talented! But if you put serious work in the weight room and hit the benchmarks that we are about to layout you will be a 150+ discus thrower. Then you will not only be a talented thrower but be on your way to serious college recruitment and maybe even a state title!
The good news is that this line of thinking is getting less and less common, and there are a ton of girls out there getting into the weightroom, crushing lifts, and making tremendous progress in their throws. So what strength numbers should you hit to be able to throw 120ft no question? Read on...
1. The Snatch
Not many high schoolers master the snatch. It is not commonly taught in the weightroom, and we scratch our heads as to why? The snatch transfers to the discus throw in a multitude of ways including thoracic (upper back) mobility, hip mobility, explosiveness, strength, and technical comprehension. In addition, the snatch is a great way to train serious strength without the high load or higher entry-level mobility requirements as the clean.
If you want to throw 120 feet, you need to snatch -----> 90lbs or about 41 kilos!
2. The Clean
The clean carries many of the same benefits as the snatch, only you can amp up the weight more for greater absolute strength building. Developing the ability to catch a clean in the hole develops lat and ankle mobility. Even if you can't catch the whole way down, the power clean allows you to move a lot of weight very fast.
What should you hit in the clean to hit 120 in the disc? -----> 125lbs or about 56 kilos!
3. The Bench Press
Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuck's (previous world record holder in the hammer) was convinced by the research that he did on throwers that the bench press actually had a greater transfer to the discus than the shot put! The peck undergoes an enormous amount of stress at the finish of the discus throw. Having a big bench press will allow you to take advantage of the stretch reflex of the pec when catching the discus back at the front of the circle, and accelerate out of that position as rapidly as possible.
To consistently hit 120 ft in the discus, you should bench ------> 135lbs or about 61 kilos.
4. High Bar Back Squat
Back squatting high bar as opposed to low bar increases hip mobility and greater core control. One variation of the back squat we like our discus throwers perform are timed back squats for reps. The ability to change direction rapidly out of the hole transfers well to the speed and power development necessary to accelerate the discus.
Of course, back squat is also one of the best indicators of absolute strength. So what should you back squat (FULL depth) to throw 120 ft? -----> 165lbs or 75 kilos!
5. Front Squat
The front squat is essentially a more sport specific version of the back squat, with greater reliance on trunk control, activation of the quads, and overall mobility. The front squat is also an essential substitute for athletes with back pain who still need to develop absolute lower body strength.
To throw 120 ft in the women's discus, you should front squat -----> 145lbs or 66 kilos!
120 feet is the entry point to high-level discus throwing. If you are serious about getting to the next level with your throws, these are essential weight room numbers to hit. Always remember however that these numbers are averages. Some throwers may not get close to these numbers and be able to throw over 120 feet. Other throwers may crush all o these numbers and not be able to hit the distance. As always the most important thing is that you are doing everything you can to be the best thrower possible!
"Our aim is to provide concise and concrete education and training on the throws, helping coaches and athletes learn what they need to do to succeed and become champions."
- Dane and Trevor