The track and field section in athletics consists of running, jumping and throwing events. Women can compete in four throwing events -- the javelin, discus, hammer and shot put. To perform at your best, practicing the throws on their own isn't enough. You need a balanced training regime that builds strength and power. A five-day schedule allows you to combine all of the qualities you need without extra-long sessions.
Upper-body Strength Training
Any throwing event requires a tremendous amount of upper-body strength. To build functional strength that translates to improved performance, focus on free-weight moves, as these are far more functional, according to a report from the University of Illinois. Base your upper-body training around bench presses, dumbbell presses and rows, as well as pushups, dips and chinups. If you can't manage to lift your body weight yet, use a resistance band to provide assistance. Perform four exercises for three sets of eight to 10 reps each workout.
Lower-body Strength Training
As with the upper body, your legs respond best to free-weight training. Your leg muscles provide support and generate power when you are throwing at maximal effort. Squats, lunges and deadlifts build strong quads, hamstrings and glutes. Pick a weight that you'd find challenging for a set of 10 reps and perform four sets of six to eight with it. Choose three lower-body exercises for each session.
Plyometric exercises involve jumping, leaping and bounding. They build explosive force and power, which will help build a bigger throw. For your lower body, perform jumps onto a box, squat jumps straight into the air or broad jumps, where you jump as far forward as you can. Clap pushups are highly effective upper-body plyometric exercises, but you can perform them on your knees if you're not comfortable with full plyometric pushups. When starting out, learn the correct form and use perfect technique, advises Philadelphia-based strength coach Joe Giandonato in his article "Lower Body Plyometric Training for Female Athletes." Women are more susceptible to knee injuries, which could put you out of action for a long time if you land in the wrong position. Perform one lower-body and one upper-body plyometric exercise each session for five sets of three to five reps each.
Perform three full-body weights sessions each week. Start with your plyometric exercises, then move onto your lower- and upper-body strength exercises. Leave at least two days between each session to allow your muscles to recover. On two other days each week, practice your throwing technique by working with your coach. Take two days each week to rest and recuperate. If you're not sure of any of the strength or plyometric exercises in the gym, ask a qualified trainer for advice on technique.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.