How to Increase Your Shot Put Distance Fast
You probably won't become an Olympic-level shot putter overnight. However, with a few changes to your technique and training routine, you could add distance to your throw quickly. Shot putters throw in one of two ways — rotational or linear. The linear, or "glide," style is much more common and easier to master. Both methods use the momentum and power generated from the legs out to the arm for the throw. By understanding the physics of the throw, you can hurl the shot farther.
Pick up the shot and stand toward the back of the throwing circle. Let the ball sit at the bottom of your fingers on the pad of your palm, but not in the center of your palm. Tuck the shot into the crook of your neck and press tightly to ensure it doesn't fall out during your glide movements. Point your thumb down toward your clavicle, the National Throws Coaches Association website instructs.
Lean down on your stronger leg — usually the right leg. Bend that leg slightly and let your other leg rise into the air. Push hard down on your right leg to drive your body toward the front of the throwing circle and onto your left leg.
Position your body side-on to the throwing area and feel the power from your legs move up through your body. As you come to the top of your movement, push the ball out keeping your elbow high, the BBC Sport website advises. Flip your wrist and fingers to offer an extra bit of power on release. Your arm and fingers should be totally straight on release.
Release the shot at an angle of around 37 to 38 degrees. This is the optimum angle for maximum distance used by top shot put athletes, according to a report on the Cornell University Library website.
Exercise using a medicine ball. This heavy ball helps build your core strength and explosive power for throwing. Lie on the ground facing up and ask a training partner to carefully drop a medicine ball from a low height to your chest. Catch the ball and throw it back up to your partner.
Increase the distance of the medicine ball drop as you become more confident. This is a popular technique with throw athletes, according to expert coach Brian Mac.
Practice wrist flips to perfect your shot release and strengthen your wrist, the National Throws Coach Association website suggests. Hold the shot in your hand as normal, but raise your hand above your head. Flip your wrist to launch the shot forward.
Run with exaggerated strides, a technique known as "bounding." Mix up your bounds with hops or two-legged jumps over obstacles. This helps develop your lower-body explosive power.
Warm up before throwing with some light jogging and some hand and wrist stretches, author Gerald Carr writes in his book "Fundamentals of Track and Field."
Practice throwing technique with a lighter ball or tennis ball until you feel comfortable with the movement. Using the shot put risks damaging your feet or limbs if dropped.
Do not try medicine ball exercises unless you are comfortable and experienced with the weight.
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.