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Throwing Sports Strength Training


Can weight and strength training increase speed and power in athletes that participate in throwing sports?

Throwing Sports Strength Training

Throwing Sports

Top-throwing athletes have amazing arm speed. To succeed in throwing sports athletes need to be able to generate quick explosive power. This means the ability to propel the arm forward with substantial velocity for maximum object delivery like a baseball, javelin, hammer throw, shot put, discus, etc. Combined with sports technique training, throwing strength and power can be increased by training with weights. Here is a three-phase training plan to improve throwing performance.

Full Body

  • The arm provides only one part of the delivery process.
  • The legs, core, shoulders, and general flexibility need to work cooperatively to exert maximum thrust and achieve maximum object speed.
  • The natural ability to throw fast with power is largely determined by an individual’s muscle type, joint structure, and biomechanics. (Alexander E Weber, et al., 2014)


  • Preparation should provide all-around muscle and strength conditioning for early pre-season conditioning.
  • Athletes will be doing throwing training as well, so fieldwork will need to be able to fit in.
  • It is recommended not to do weight training prior to throwing practice.
  • Do the session on a separate day if possible.


  • 2 to 3 sessions per week



  • Warm-up
  • Squat or leg press
  • Bench-press or chest press
  • Deadlift
  • Crunch
  • Seated cable row
  • Triceps pushdown
  • Lat pulldown
  • 3 sets of 12
  • Cool-down


  • Between sets 60 to 90 seconds.

Weight Training

  • This stage will focus more on the development of strength and power. (Nikolaos Zaras, et al., 2013)
  • This leads to the start of competition and tournament play.


  • 2 to 3 sessions per week


  • Strength and power – 60% to 70% for one-rep max/1RM
  • The one-repetition maximum test, known as a one-rep max or 1RM, is used to find out the heaviest weight you can lift once.
  • When designing a resistance training program, individuals use different percentages of their 1RM, depending on whether they’re lifting to improve muscular strength, endurance, hypertrophy, or power. (Dong-Il Seo, et al., 2012)


  • 5 sets of 6
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Incline bench press (Akihiro Sakamoto, et al., 2018)
  • Hang clean press
  • Single-leg squats
  • Back squat
  • Lat pulldown
  • Pull-ups
  • Combo crunches


  • Between sets 2 to 3 minutes


  • This stage focuses on maintaining strength and power. (Nikolaos Zaras, et al., 2013)
  • Throwing practice and competition are the priorities.
  • Before competition begins, take a 7- to 10-day break from heavyweight sessions while maintaining throwing workouts.
  • Weight training during competition should provide maintenance.


  • 1 to 2 sessions per week


  • Power – lighter loads and faster execution than in the preparation stage.


  • 3 sets of 10
  • Rapid movement, 40% to 60% of 1RM.
  • Squats
  • Power hang clean and press
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Lat pulldown
  • Incline bench press
  • Crunches


  • Between sets 1 to 2 minutes.

Training Tips

  • Athletes have individual needs, so a general program like this needs modification based on age, sex, goals, skills, competitions, etc.
  • A certified strength and conditioning coach or trainer could help develop a fitness plan that can be adjusted as the athlete progresses.
  • Be sure to warm up prior to weight training and cool down afterward.
  • Don’t try to train through injuries or try to progress too fast – it is recommended not to throw or do weights when treating or recovering from an injury. (Terrance A Sgroi, John M Zajac. 2018)
  • Focus on the fundamentals and practice proper form.
  • Take a few weeks off at the end of the season to recover after hard training and competition.

Body Transformation


Weber, A. E., Kontaxis, A., O’Brien, S. J., & Bedi, A. (2014). The biomechanics of throwing: simplified and cogent. Sports medicine and arthroscopy review, 22(2), 72–79. doi.org/10.1097/JSA.0000000000000019

American College of Sports Medicine (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 41(3), 687–708. doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181915670

Zaras, N., Spengos, K., Methenitis, S., Papadopoulos, C., Karampatsos, G., Georgiadis, G., Stasinaki, A., Manta, P., & Terzis, G. (2013). Effects of Strength vs. Ballistic-Power Training on Throwing Performance. Journal of sports science & medicine, 12(1), 130–137.

Seo, D. I., Kim, E., Fahs, C. A., Rossow, L., Young, K., Ferguson, S. L., Thiebaud, R., Sherk, V. D., Loenneke, J. P., Kim, D., Lee, M. K., Choi, K. H., Bemben, D. A., Bemben, M. G., & So, W. Y. (2012). Reliability of the one-repetition maximum test based on muscle group and gender. Journal of sports science & medicine, 11(2), 221–225.

Sakamoto, A., Kuroda, A., Sinclair, P. J., Naito, H., & Sakuma, K. (2018). The effectiveness of bench press training with or without throws on strength and shot put distance of competitive university athletes. European journal of applied physiology, 118(9), 1821–1830. doi.org/10.1007/s00421-018-3917-9

Sgroi, T. A., & Zajac, J. M. (2018). Return to Throwing after Shoulder or Elbow Injury. Current reviews in musculoskeletal medicine, 11(1), 12–18. doi.org/10.1007/s12178-018-9454-7

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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