Discus throwing requires a combination of speed, power and technique. While you need strength in order to toss the discus, the event also requires precision and proper form to translate that power into distance. In particular, discus throwers need agility and explosive power. A workout for discus throwers should focus on generating power in short bursts along with improving agility and footwork.
Quick feet are essential for throwing the discus effectively. The spins and rotations that generate power require your feet to hit precise spots in order to properly execute a throw. Working on jumping and running using a speed agility ladder is one way to improve the quickness of your feet. Another exercise for footwork is the dot drill, which involves running and jumping among five cones placed in an “X” pattern.
The Olympic lifts of the clean, jerk and snatch are beneficial to discus throwers. These lifts add explosive power, which is critical to help athletes transition with force through the various stages of the throw. The snatch provides a complete body workout, while the motion of the power clean and the jerk mimic elements of the discus throw and help to build functional strength. Kettlebell exercises such as swings, snatches, clean and presses and the bottom-up press build explosive strength along with core stretch and coordination.
Plyometric training helps train muscles for explosive power used in a short period. These types of quick bursts are critical for discus throwers making fast, powerful movements. Beginning plyometric exercises include in-place jumps such as butt kicks, rocket kicks, monkey jumps and ski jumps, in which you hop in place 10 to 50 times. Advanced plyometric training includes multi-jumps such as standing broad jumps and triple jumps that are done multiple times in a succession and depth jumps such as box rebounds and box combos.
A periodization program helps build your training toward a peak during your competition season. This means adjusting your workout routines for the off-season, preseason and competition season. Early training can focus on general fitness and weight training, then transition to put more emphasis on technique drills and less emphasis on strength exercises as training moves closer to competition. Weight training can start at four days a week during the early stages of preparation and move to two to three days a week during the season.
- STACK: Footwork With Arizona State Throwers
- BiggerFasterStronger.com: Dot Drill
- Track and Field Coaching Manual; LA84 Foundation
- Everything Track & Field: Kettlebell Lifting for Throwers
- Track and Field News: Adapting Training Plans for the Prep Discus Thrower
Richard Manfredi has more than a decade of professional writing experience, both in the media and at a corporate level. Since 2003, he has worked in the public relations industry, creating and executing campaigns for technology and entertainment companies. Manfredi is also a journalist who has worked for the "Orange County Register," as well as several online publications.