How to Train for Javelin Throwing
The javelin throw is one of the few throwing field events in athletics competitions. Unlike the shot put or hammer toss, javelin throwing requires as much flexibility and speed as it does brute strength. Your body must operate as single unit to quickly transfer the force of your lead-up run into a long-distance javelin throw.
Start your javelin training session with 30 minutes of warm-up aerobic activity, like jogging, cycling or swimming. Select your warm-up activity based upon the stage you are at in your training. Swim during the competition portion of the season to reduce your chance of injury, but run or bike during the off-season to build endurance and leg strength.
Stretch your muscles for 10 minutes after your warm-up. Stretch your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps first. Lean into each stretch as you breathe out with deep breaths. Allow at least 30 seconds for each stretch. Follow your leg stretches with stretches for your core, back and arms.
Lift weights on your strength-training days with as quick a movement as you can manage. Load the barbells or machines with weights between 70 and 85 percent of your one-repetition maximum. Use explosive movement exercises like cleans, jerks, snatches and lat pulldowns to build the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your upper body. Train each exercise for five or six sets each week, with each set continuing until you are no longer able to move the bar at a rapid pace.
Train your upper body with plyometric exercises like the overhead medicine ball toss and single-arm overhead throws. Use plyometric pushups, in which you push yourself into the air a few inches to build explosive power in your chest and back. Try bounding, skipping and box jumps to improve your leg strength.
Break down the run-up and throw into smaller sections so you can drill them more effectively. Practice running with the javelin horizontal while staying fast and balanced with the javelin. While running, practice your approach technique by timing your steps and imagining the transition to release. Accelerate into the moment of release rather than coming to a stop.
Make sure you have plenty of fluids available when you train -- such as water or sports drinks that contain sodium -- to avoid dehydration when you work out. Your performance will degrade if you're not hydrated.
Do not throw the javelin if there's even a small chance that you'll hit someone. Javelin tips are sharp and can cause major injuries if they strike a bystander.
Writing professionally since 2005, Ryan Haas specializes in sports, politics and music. His work has appeared in "The Journal-Standard," SKNVibes and trackalerts. Haas holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Illinois.