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17 March 2006

How fit should a thrower be?

The build and training depends on the event.

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Typical build: This depends on the event. Athletes in discus, shot put and hammer events have a short, stocky endomorph build. Javelin athletes on the other hand have a leaner, athletic build.

Cardiovascular fitness: Although cardiovascular fitness is not as important as in many of the other athletic events, throwers still need to be super fit. They have to build up enough momentum in a few seconds to propel an object through the air.

Resistance training and muscles: There are several dimensions to conditioning. It is especially important to have good core integrity (abdominals, lower back, and torso). Strength, range of motion and flexibility of these body areas are therefore particularly important. The core should be worked from all angles: back, ab, and side hyperextensions, and rotational torso.

There is an overlapping sequence of joints involved in the throw. Full-body and multiple-joint weight exercises help to balance the strength between muscle groups and prevent injuries.

Explosive strength is more important than raw strength. For example, it is not that important that shot putters are able to lift a heavy weight but that they can throw with speed and strength. Weight training therefore consists primarily of explosive training, not necessarily with the maximum weight.

Drugs: Throwers may be tempted to use drugs such as EPO. Drugs bedevil the Commonwealth/Olympic ideal and it may be less a matter of whether athletes use performance-enhancing drugs than who gets caught.

 
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