Everyone wants to break those benchmark distances. Throwing fifty feet in high school can be a cool entry point toward an elite level of throwing. Crossing the fifty 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 fifty feet? Do coaches know how much their thrower needs to bench to throw fifty 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 fifty foot mark?!?! Let’s get after this topic and figure out where we need to improve to break that barrier.
Welcome to the Party
Throughout the last decade, we have had dozens upon dozens of fifty foot throwers. They have been consistent every single year, including fifty foot women! Because we have had so much success with athletes busting through the fifty foot barrier, we have organized all of our information, all of our research and data from each athlete and put their numbers and lifts together to layout a basic practical execution to hit fifty feet!
This takes us into a basic understanding of the sport and physical attributes NEEDED for shot putting.
What is Needed?!?!
Throwing the shot comes down to a few basic principles. Throwers are competing in a seven foot circle. They have a weight that is already prescribed. There are minimal variables as far as the competition implement and surface are concerned. 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. Along with technique and explosiveness, shot putters need to be strong and have good trunk control. Finally, every shot putter 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 fifty 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 fifty feet.
Athlete’s that want to throw fifty feet in high school can do so by smashing -----> 235lbs or about 106 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 fifty 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 fifty 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 fifty 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 a massive growth physically and will likely conquer the 50 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