LAST UPDATED ON Friday October 31 2003


LAST UPDATED ON Friday October 31 2003

Beginning Weight Training for the Throws, a Program for the Young Thrower

by Patrick Wyatt.

Patrick Wyatt is the head track coach at Sweet Home High School in Amherst New York. His article pertains to a basic training schedule for the beginning thrower. Sweet Home throwers have won 12 New York State championships in the shot and discus since 1981 and the best results by their throwers have been: Men Shot Put (12lb) 18.28m (59'-11" 3/4), Discus 1.6Kg 52.00m (170'-7"), Women Shot Put 15.09m (49'-6"), Discus 52.42 (172'0")

For the past 10 years we have used the following method with great success. We have had throwers increase their strength levels consistently with few, if any, Plateaus. At the heart of this routine is our belief that at the beginning of a thrower's Career in high school that 50% of your training time should be spent in the weight room. A lack of strength is the one universal problem that can prevent a thrower from improving And learning technique. Weights are the best method for acquiring strength and have A "self motivating" factor built in! If today you bench press 100 lbs and 10weeks later You bench 140 lbs you know your getting stronger and if you keep training you will get Even stronger in the future. We use a "split routine". It consist of dividing the body into two parts, the upper And lower body and working one part one day and the other the next. Remember this is a basic program for young high school athletes. As much as possible we have tried to isolate the body areas. The following will give you an idea of how we alternate upper and lower body schedules.
I Mon. I Tues. I wed. I thur. I Fri. _ I WEEK 1
I upper I lower I upper I lower I upper I
I mon. I tues. I wed. I thur. I fri. _ I WEEK 2
I lower I upper I lower I upper I lower I

We do not hold Saturday or Sunday workouts. It is our belief if the athlete gives You five days of effort they can have the weekend to study and relax with their friends and Family. We also have many competitions scheduled on Saturday through the season but if Saturday is clear it's off. We base our workout on the basic exercises to develop power! They are as follows:
Lower body: back squats (wide stance, to parallel depth)
Leg sled or leg press (shoulder width feet placement never less than 12reps)
Lung walk(traveling down hallway or gym ,use dumbells total 10 rep/leg)
Leg extensions and leg curls (alternated pause at top of each rep)
Heel raises ( free hand -or with barbell or dumbells)
Upper body: bench press (medium grip -fore arms parallel when bar at chest)
Incline dumb. Press (good stretch at chest push together at top)
Alternate standing dumbell presses (plams forward, press together at top)
Lat pull downs( medium grip bring bar to chest)
Tricep push downs (performed on lat machine or standing with e-z curl bar)

Five exercises / body area is our basic approach. Now we will change up on exercises 4 and5. But the first three are permanent. You will notice that squats and bench presses are first. That is because they are in, our opinion, the basis of all body power. Now you will have Problems get some athletes to squat. They will give you all sorts of excuses why they can't Do them. I will say that in 35 years of coaching I have seen only one athlete where The squat could not be used because of a back condition. There is no substitute for the squat. It is the best for power development of not only the lower body but also overall strength.


This is the guts of this system.
First rule: IT'S NOT WHERE YOU START THAT COUNTS BUT WHERE YOU FINISH. So start light! Progression is the key success. The muscles must adapt to new overloads in a progressive manner.

Second rule: never increase more than 5 lbs. In arm exercises and 10 lbs in leg ex. Remember progression, the arms in general are weaker than the legs (less muscle tissue). We have found 5 and 10 lb. to be the best weight jumps to maintain progression.

Third rule: IF YOU MISS A PROGRESSION AT A CERTIN REP/LEVEL BUT CAN INCREASE AT ANOTHER THAN MOVE UP AT THAT LEVEL. let's say you are doing 205 lbs. in the Bench Press for 3 reps of 5 sets and you jump to 210 lbs. and can only do 3reps-2 reps- 2reps- 2 reps -2reps on your Ben. Pr. Monday. Now, on that wed. you jump 5 lbs on your 5 rep weight and make it with no problem and the same happens with your 8 rep weight. When you come to the next Monday use the same weight that you did on the previous Monday and failed with. This time you should make it 5sets of 3 reps. But if for some reason you don't, still try to add 5 lbs to your 5 and 8 reps weights and continue.

Here we have found that you should start with no more than 60% of your max for 3reps, About 50% for your 5 reps and around 40% for your 8rep weight. Now this may seem very low and It is but we have found that this brings about more consistent improvement and for young throwers "Time is on their side". We had one boy improve consistently over the 4 years he threw for us ending up with more than a 150 % improvement in both squat and bench press.

Now we work with with 5 sets and do either 3 reps or 5reps or 8 reps in the bench press and squat. Every Monday we do 5sets of 3 reps. This is our heavy day coming off of two days rest over the weekend. Now the next four workout we will do 5sets of 5 reps or 5sets of 8reps on alternate days. Our goal is to Do 5sets of 3 reps with 5lbs more in bench press or 10lbs more in the squat every Monday! Then incease The same with the 5 rep weight and 8 rep weight sometime in the next two weeks. If you can not do 5sets of 3 reps with the new weight than try the same weight again the next time you do 3's on Monday. Increase the 5 rep and 8 rep weights the first week. You should be able to complete the reps and sets With these weights with no problem. But if you can't then stay with them for another cycle. If you can increase the 5's and 8's but not the 3's than continue to increase the weight for the 5 and 8 reps and stay with the 3 rep weight for another cycle. We have found that you will break through during that second cycle and continue to improve. Now if you can seem to improve after two cycles then it is time to establish your max by figuring what your 1 rep max would be from your 3rep weight(see chart) then begin again with new weights (see establishing starting wt. In BP and sq.).


Here is the list of the other exercises in the routine and their reps and sets.


Leg press/or sled 4sets of 12 to 15 reps (1st. set is a warm -up set next three with ex. Weight.
(start with 90%bodyweight or bodyweight) jump 20lbs when you can do 3sets of 15 reps with ex weight.
# important note: only leg exercise that we can jump 20lbs. instead of the usual 10 lbs.

Lung walk (with dumbells held at side) 3sets of 20 walking lunges (10 for each leg) (start with no weight) ( when you can do the trips easily add 5lb to dumbells)

Leg extensions and leg curls (do a set of extensions then a set of leg curls) 4sets of 10 to 12 reps. 1st set warm-up next 3 with ex weight. Start with 20 lbs leg curls 30 lbs ext. keep ratio leg curls 2/3 of leg ext. next jump would be leg curls 30lbs leg ext 45 lbs. and so on.

Heel raises ( done on edge of something (stair) to allow full range of motion) 10 to 12 slow Reps pausing at the top and bottom of 3 counts followed by 30 to 50 reps of bounces (short Quick reps) do this for 3 sets. Weight can be on shoulders or with dumbells held at the sides Or on machine built for this exercise. Add 10 or 20 lbs when you can 12 slow reps and 50 bounces With ex weight for 3 sets with no problem.(this means you can walk normally after the last set!


Incline dumbell press (if no dumb. Available use barbell) incline on bench at about 45 degrees. Do 5 sets of 8 reps (1st set warm-up set next 4sets with ex weight) if you bench 200 lbs start with 30 lb dumbells, 250 lbs start with 35 lb dumbells ,300 lbs or more 40lb dumbells. Or if only barbells available use 50 % of your best bench press. Alternate standing dumbell press (if no dumbells use barbell) here we do 5sets of 8 reps (1st set is warm-up next 4sets with ex weight) I would start with 25 or 30 lb dumbells and about 40% of your best bench press if you use a barbell. Increase 5lbs when you can do all 4sets 8reps.

Lat pulls to chest (use mediun grip pull to chest) do 4 sets of 10 reps (1st set warm-up set next 3sets with ex weight) increase 5lbs when you can do all 3 sets for 10 reps. Tricep push down (done on lat bar elbows in at sides)4sets of 10 reps1st set warm-up increase 5lbs When ex weight can be done 3sets of 10reps. Begin with 20 or 25 lbs.

I can hear you saying "Well this is all fine aren't these starting weights a little low and where are the Olympic Lifts?" Remember rule #1" Its not where you start that counts its where you finish." Starting light helps insure a steady progression. Remember "Milo" and how he started lifting a calf everyday until in year or so he was lifting a Full-grown BULL! THAT MAY BE A LOT OF BULL BUT THE PRINCIPLE OF PROGRESSION IS NOT! Progression, as John Powell states "inch by inch itís a synch. Yard by yard its hard."
As for the Olympic lifts I will agree that some may have some merit (power clean high pulls and push presses) I add them down the road as strength increases and you move on to a different looking lifting schedule. The others (clean and Jerk, and snatch) may help but I feel that the danger associated with these lifts far out weigh the benefits. I have seen more injuries in the snatch than in the rest of Lifting combined.
Now this is a basic schedule used for beginners. As our throwers advance we modified and change this schedule to meet their needs. As they become stronger and begin to handle very heavy weight we will go to a four Days a week schedule. Now we will do lower body workouts on Tuesday and Friday and upper body on Monday and Thursday. We feel that the added rest is necessary for recovery. We will also introduce power cleans and push presses and include them in the lower body schedule. But the basic lifts headed by the squat and bench presses remain as the basis of our training.

Because of our facility arrangements with basketball and wrestling we do not get a gym until 5; 45 or 6; 00pm Which means we lift first then throw. After 15+ years of doing this I have found that lifting first has a few advantages First .you lift fresh so your weight lifting gets major attention, which for a beginner is of major importance. 2. You throw tired which is not all-bad. It makes you concentrate more and builds the ability to throw hard when you're tired. This can be a big advantage in competitions that can take hours to complete. In support of this I have had four of our State championships on their last throws! In fact the majority of our championship winning throws have come in The last three throws. I believe this is due to our training procedures that in reality were forced on us. Of course there are people that would say your athlete did this in spite of this backward arrangement. This maybe true but we have convinced our thrower we have a definite advantage by lifting first! Coaching? maybe but we have all done it. You can turn adversity into an advantage if you can sell it to your athletes. Things like "nobody trains this hard you have got to beat them! You're better, tougher, stronger, and can take more than they can. In the last 100mts this will make the difference!

Well that's it! I hope this can help you set up your program. Thanks and good luck.

If you have questions for Patrick Wyatt you can contact him via mail at 478 Paradise Rd. East Amherst, NY 14051 or e-mail

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