Shotput is an athletic field event where competitors take turns throwing a heavy metal ball from a 7-foot diameter circle using one arm. The shot is pushed -- called putting -- as opposed to thrown under or over arm. Shotput combines an initial drive with the legs followed by a strong arm action so athletes must develop whole body strength and power to be successful at shotput.
The push press develops whole body power and inter muscle/joint coordination. Grasp a barbell using an overhand shoulder-width grip and rest the bar across the front of your shoulder. Lower your elbows so they are below your hands. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale and brace your abdominal muscles. Bend your knees and descend into a quarter squat position while maintaining an upright torso. Exhale and explosively extend your legs and arms to drive the weight above your head to arms' length. Lower the bar back to shoulder level and repeat. This exercise can be performed using dumbbells and also using one arm at a time.
Plyometric push-ups, sometimes called clapping push-ups, develop explosive upper body pushing power. Adopt the push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulders, your abs tight and your head, hips and knees aligned. Inhale and lower your chest to the floor. Forcefully extend your arms so that, as your arms straighten, your hands leave the floor. Clap your hands while you are in mid air. Land on slightly bent arms and immediately descend into another repetition. Avoid this exercise if you have any history of wrist injury.
This exercise develops strength and power in the legs, hips, back and arms which is essential in successful shotputting. Place a barbell on the floor. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes just under the bar. Bend forward and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Lift your chest, arch your lower back slightly and drop your hips so that they are just below your shoulders. From this position, explosively extend your legs and hips and simultaneously stand upright. Pull the bar up and under your chin while keeping your elbows higher than your hands. The bar should move smoothly from the floor to your chin in one unbroken movement. Lower the bar to your hips and then to the floor. Continue the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.
Performing box jumps will develop the explosive strength in your legs which is especially important as the shotput is initiated by a powerful leg drive. Adjust an exercise step so that it is set to knee height. Stand around 24 inches from the step. Bend your knees and descend into a quarter squat position, swinging your arms behind you as you do so. Swing your arms forward and upward and jump up onto the top of the step. Climb back down, reset your position and repeat. You can make this exercise more challenging by using a higher step, wearing a weight vest or holding dumbbells in your hands.
Medicine Ball Chest Pass Throw
This exercise will develop your upper body power and uses similar muscles to shotputting. Adopt a staggered stance with your right foot around 24 inches in front of your left. Hold the medicine ball in both hands. Raise the ball to chest height with your hands on either side and slightly toward the rear of the ball. Lean back slightly to "wind up" the throw. Contract your abdominal muscles, thrust your shoulders forward and extend your arms to explosively push the ball away from you. Either throw the ball to a training partner or at a sturdy wall. Retrieve the ball and repeat. Alternate leading legs on a set by set basis.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- 101 Shot Put Drills; Rob Lasorsa and James Peterson
- Medicine Ball For All Training Handbook; Patrick Mediate and Avery Faigenbaum
- Jumping Into Plyometrics; Donald A. Chu
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.