One of the most challenging aspects of javelin throw training is that you need to be careful about how many throws you take. In the other throwing events, you can take 30-40 throws a day and your body will be fine. In the javelin, the ease of shoulder, back, and elbow injuries from the impact of the throw and overuse forces athletes to take fewer throws.
With fewer throws to train muscle memory and technique, the use of special strength exercises becomes even more crucial. Special strength is any exercise that mimics the throw, training strength and power, but is not actually throwing the javelin. Medball throws and Nockenballs throws are perfect examples. The advantage of special strength is that you are not only able to work on technique and the movement of the throw without putting excess strain on your elbow or shoulder, but you are also gaining strength by training with heavier implements.
1. Overhead Kneeling Arch and Throw
Overhead movements are crucial to transferring to far javelin throws. The javelin throw requires extreme shoulder mobility and the ability to generate power from an extended back. With the overhead kneeling arch throws, focus on getting as big of an arch in your back as possible, and then unwind like a catapult forward into the throw. Try to blend simultaneous action of flexing the trunk while lurching forward.
2. Standing Plant Throws
All special strength exercises are on a spectrum of how closely they transfer to the actual throw. Taking the kneeling throws further and more specific to the throw are the standing plant throws. In this exercise, you will need to combine what you worked on with the kneeling throws but add a dynamic start and proper mechanics in the lower body.
Focus on having a long, stretched-out plant leg that is stiff throughout the throw. You can even step into the plant a little, placing the heel down first and letting the toes then push into the ground. With your back leg, keep a slight knee bend as you transfer into the throw.
3. Box Drop 3-Step
Again we can make the special strength exercise even more specific to the throw by adding the penultimate step. Adding movement to the exercise makes it more difficult to maintain the integrity of the plant and coordinate the body through the finish of the throw. Adding the box drop aspect simulates more closely the speed and impact you will be experiencing when taking full approach throws.
Focus on keeping the medball back while until you plant, and be careful not to collapse the plant leg while you are finishing the throw.
4. Single Arm Ball Throws
Taking the special strength movement extremely close to the actual javelin throw are single arm throws. Be careful not to take too many of these throws as they can also contribute to elbow or shoulder pain similar to throwing the javelin, however, you can use lighter balls and go at a lower intensity and still reap the benefits of the exercise.
You can take standing, 3-step, 5-step, or full approach throws with a light ball. Use these throws as a lower impact version of the full javelin throw, but still focus on the same technical aspects that you working on.
Taking advantage of special strength throws is a great way to train technique and strength simultaneously without putting excess strain on the body. Try these exercises yourself, and if you want to learn more javelin-specific exercises along with a comprehensive approach to training the javelin, check out our course Learn the Javelin in 30 Days!
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