Everyone wants to break those benchmark distances. Throwing one hundred and fifty feet in high school can be a cool entry point toward an elite level of throwing. Crossing the 150 foot barrier is a very strong achievement and it can be the number that triggers throwers to continue training harder and focusing more upon their goals and work ethic. But there is a lot more to the sport than just breaking specific barriers.
This begs the question...what kind of numbers need to be hit in the weight room to hit 150 feet? Do coaches know how much their thrower needs to bench to throw 150 feet? What about the Olympic lifts? Do athletes and coaches know how much they need to clean or snatch? What other lifts are needed to cross that 150 foot mark?!?! Let’s get after this topic and figure out where we need to improve to break that barrier.
Welcome to the Party
Since 2008, we have had dozens of high school throwers smash 150 feet in the discus...ironically, both men and women! With that success in the circle, we have taken their training protocols, their results, and their weight room numbers and formulated what it takes (on average) to smash 150 feet as a high school male discus thrower.
This takes us into a basic understanding of the sport and physical attributes NEEDED for the discus throw.
What is Needed?!?!
Throwing the discus comes down to a few basic principles. Throwers are competing in about an eight foot circle. They have a weight that is already prescribed. There are minimal variables as far as the competition implement and surface are concerned. We always know the implement is 1.6 kilos and we always know the size of the circle will be the same. This leads us to the qualities and necessities to throw very far.
Throwers must be explosive, we know that the thrower that can coordinate the fastest and most explosive will be the thrower that hits the biggest throw IF their technique is on point. That takes us to the next step, we know discus throwers need technique. Along with technique and explosiveness, discus throwers need to be strong and have good trunk control. Finally, every discus thrower must be mobile to hit deep positions to ensure the implement can be accelerated over a long period of time.
Must be explosive
Have good technique
Be strong and have trunk control
Maintain excellent mobility
Now that we have established the qualities needed to throw huge bombs...what can throwers do in the weight room to trigger those qualities?!?!
Speed, mobility in the thoracic spine, tension throughout the upper back, mobility in the hips with incredible stability to decelerate a heavy load? These are consistent themes we need in the throwing and it sounds perfect for…
1. THE SNATCH!
When we get high schoolers to start snatching, they have more of a technical mindset along with a speed mindset instead of constantly TRYING to throw far, they learn more rhythm and snappiness.
If you want to throw 150 feet, you need to snatch -----> 175lbs or about 80 kilos!
2. The Clean
This will take us into our second lift, the clean. The clean focuses on strength, power, speed, mobility, and TECHNIQUE. This enables a great transfer to the circle to throw 150 feet.
Athletes that want to throw 150 feet in high school can do so by smashing -----> 235lbs or about 107 kilos!
The next discussion is a hot topic. Does this lift REALLY transfer to the circle? Does it REALLY help athletes get a better hit on the shot. How much upper body work do throwers need to execute to hit a big throw?!?! What is that lift…?!?
3. Bench Press
My old coach, Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk studied discus and shot putters and found a solid transfer from athletes when they would bench up to 180k. The improvement would be seen in the standing throw AND on the finish of the throw from a full movement. Tricep strength and shoulder strength would improve dramatically leading to bigger bombs! So what is the number needed?
Hit that 150 footer with….------> 275lbs or about 125 kilos.
The next big lift is going to transfer very well to the circle AND to other lifts. It can spark a huge hormonal response that in turn will lead to greater muscle protein synthesis. It also enhances mobility in the thoracic spine, lower back and hips. This movement can generate a ton of muscle mass throughout the posterior chain when executed properly! That movement?
4. High Bar Back Squat
The movement needs to hit with the bar high on the traps and full range of motion from the hips with the hamstrings draped over the gastrocs. This is the lift that will transfer great strength to pulling off the ground, among many other positive attributes.
To smack 150 feet, make sure you squat FULL DEPTH with -------> 300lbs or 137 kilos!
Our next movement is similar but targets the trunk a bit more. The abs and back will get smacked with a ton of tension. This movement will also transfer DIRECTLY to the clean AS WELL AS assist the athlete to remain more upright in the middle of the circle.
5. Front Squat
It’s important to be mobile in the upper body, to squeeze the abs and maintain an upright posture and use full range of motion while executing the front squat. This will directly impact the receiving position in the clean while also drastically improving dynamic trunk control.
To hit a 150 foot bomb, make sure full depth is engrained and work toward ------> 275lbs or 125k!
These lifts all work very well together. It’s important to see how various lifts can impact other lifts and how these main lifts can also trigger a big response in the circle. Don’t throw the weights on the bar and try to hit PR’s, instead build up over time. Plan and periodize your training to lead to greater work inside and outside of the circle. As you strive toward these benchmark movements, you will notice massive growth physically and will likely conquer the 150 foot mark sooner than you may have ever imagined.
"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