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Benchmark Lifts to Throw 35 Feet (High School Girls Shot Put)

Throwing training can be extremely mundane, it can be frustrating and arduous. A lot of repetitions are necessary, a lot of focus is needed and this can take a mental toll. Every thrower has dealt with this at some point or another, especially over the last year during the coronavirus pandemic. Oftentimes, training feels like there is no end in sight. That hours upon hours are wasted and success is not imminent. This negativity can have a poor impact on training.

So how can coaches and throwers avoid this struggle? There has to be some way to improve the approach to training. At ThrowsU, we have created various levels to strive toward, as throwers hit benchmark accomplishments, they can work toward the next level that will make them great! This is precisely what we have done with our research over the last ten years as we have compiled our data from various elite level high school female throwers. Now let’s dig deep into the numbers to be a high school female shot putter throwing 35 feet!

To Throw Women’s Shot Far...What do we need?!?

Throwing the shot comes down to a few basic principles. Female throwers are competing in a seven foot circle. They have a weight that is already prescribed at four kilos. There are minimal variables as far as the competition implement and surface are concerned. Some circles can be faster, some circles can be slower but everyone knows they are competing on concrete! 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 shot putters need technique. Up until recently, most women were still just gliding. Now that women are spinning more, technical work has become an even greater priority. Along with technique and explosiveness, shot putters need to be strong and have excellent trunk control. Finally, every female shot putter must be mobile to hit deep positions to ensure the implement can be accelerated over a long period of time.

  1. Must be explosive

  2. Have good technique

  3. Be strong and have trunk control

  4. Maintain excellent mobility

Now that we have established the qualities needed to throw huge bombs...what can female throwers do in the weight room to trigger those qualities?!?!

Really?!?! The Weight Room?

This begs another topic to cover before we dive into the meat and potatoes. Many female high school shot putters still lack weight room work. They have continued to avoid the extra time in the weight room. The first step is to make sure our women are hitting the weights at least 4 days a week. Women who lift weights will have more lean muscle mass, greater bone density and a much higher power output.

These aspects build greater confidence mentally while improving overall performance. When women spend more time lifting weights, their coordination improves, they recruit more high threshold motor units and they tend to be TREMENDOUSLY more explosive. As women improve their coordination, they also carry this over to the shot circle!

Key Movements

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…


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 thirty five feet, you need to snatch -----> 90lbs or about 41 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 fifty feet.

Athlete’s that want to throw thirty five feet in high school can do so by smashing -----> 125lbs or about 56 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. He found this to hold true with women up to about 135k! This would transfer to bigger positions at the front of the circle and a more effective hit off the hand. 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 thirty five footer with….------> 135lbs or about 61 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 thirty five feet, make sure you squat FULL DEPTH with -------> 165lbs or 75 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 thirty five foot bomb, make sure full depth is ingrained and work toward ------> 145lbs or 66 kilos!


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 a massive growth physically and will likely conquer the 35 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

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So what do you do if, even though I am a former professional athlete, you are NOT a certified strength coach AND your best sophomore girl thrower (freshman SP 38’ (now 43’) freshman discus 138’ (now 145‘)) continually experiences back pain when lifting heavier weights? I have resisted loading on heavy weights for fear of injuring her still developing spine. I do meticulously review every technical video I can to correctly teach the lifts - including Olympic lifts. My basic approach has been to push her, without hurting her, by having her perform all the “throwing lifts” but not with heavy heavy weight. Recently a 4 star football kid (One of my throwers) got a bulging disc doing power clean…

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