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The Block Arm

The term “block” arm is a bit confusing. You step into the circle and you are told not to open the block arm, leading to the hips falling into the circle and the block leg literally BLOCKING your entire upper body. When this happens, the spine angle is extremely upright and there is a tremendous lack of rotation. What can you do to improve the block arm? What are the actions of the block arm and how can it be optimized for MASSIVE throws?!?!

The History

For the purpose of this article, the “block” arm will refer to the left arm movement during the shot put spin. If you throw left handed, simply translate this information for the right arm movement.

Just as in regards to the “block” leg, the block arm is a horrible term being used. Throughout history, throwers like Al Oerter and Robert Harting would use the left arm as a means of opening the upper body, enabling the hips to fully rotate from a lengthened position out of the back, to a closed position in the middle and ultimately a massive opening at the finish.

However, the term “block” arm has developed into the left arm LITERALLY blocking the hips from rotating out of the back, leading to an open hip position in the middle, poor spine angle and thus a literal BLOCKING of the finish.

It is our goal to clarify the actions of the left arm and to extinguish the usage of the term “block” arm.

Action of Block Arm or Simply….LEFT ARM

The overall action of the left arm during the spin is very, very simple. It opens, closes and opens. That’s it. Coaches should not teach a thrower to hold their left arm closed out of the back of the circle. This reverses the hip action to closed/open/closed or blocked off at the finish.

We will be referring specifically to the movement of the left arm during the SPIN in the shot put.

Out of the Back