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How Can I Get Faster

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The Hulk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 5/18/20 at 8:15pm
I come from a different strength sport (Olympic lifting) & so one of my challenges has been to get faster, especially in the events that feature rotation. Most of the advice I've heard suggests throwing more often, improving technique, and using lighter implements for speed work. All good advice. But I wondered what else I could do that is more fundamental - in the weight room for instance - to improve speed.
Highland games isn't the only sport that requires sudden changes of direction and explosiveness. There are lots of exercises used by athletes in other sports to supplement these characteristics.
Squats and pulls are necessary to build base strength. For explosive strength, beginner plyometric exercises (unweighted jumps for example), box jumps, drops off low boxes and lunges are a good start. More advanced athletes can use Olympic lifts, loaded squat jumps (30% of squat 1RM) and land mines.
To get faster, you have to be strong, explode fast up, absorb the landing, transfer quickly from down to up, and hold your body position - especially while turning.
Has anyone else found one of these exercises to be most beneficial? Are there other exercises to consider?
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Andy Crowley View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andy Crowley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/19/20 at 12:17pm
What do you mean by "faster"? Are you talking about moving your body across the trig faster? If that's the case, it really doesn't matter how fast you're going if the implement isn't moving fast. I've learned this through many years of outrunning the weights.   The focus needs to be on moving the implement faster and this comes from knowing when and how to apply force, so...throw more and work on technique.
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TomLawrence View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TomLawrence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/20/20 at 8:33am
^^^ Andy's advice is good.  As I often quote Craig Smith, "There is no amount of not throwing that will make you a better thrower.  Now go throw."

The other wisdom that seems to be sound and prevalent is to drill fast finishes and go backward from there.  People do this by drilling their throws in reverse order.  For example:

Stone
  • toes to board
  • Braemar
  • one turn
  • full spin or MSA

Weights
  • throws from the board
  • one turn
  • two turns

Hammer
  • pull straight around to release (I've seen it but it doesn't seem to be common)
  • one turn
  • two turns
  • three turns

Sheaf
  • bottom drills
  • full throws

WOB
  • pulls from the ground
  • full throws

This doesn't work for everyone and does have the drawback that it can get you in the habit of needing to progress into a throws rather than being able to step up and just do it, so look at it purely as drilling.  As you get closer to a game do a lot less drilling and a lot more live throwing under pressure.

Tom


Edited by TomLawrence - 5/21/20 at 9:20am
Aim high. Stay hungry.
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Sammy68123 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sammy68123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/21/20 at 11:03am
Originally posted by Andy Crowley Andy Crowley wrote:

What do you mean by "faster"? Are you talking about moving your body across the trig faster? If that's the case, it really doesn't matter how fast you're going if the implement isn't moving fast. I've learned this through many years of outrunning the weights.   The focus needs to be on moving the implement faster and this comes from knowing when and how to apply force, so...throw more and work on technique.

+1.  

Your speed will usually come in the last parts of the throw.  My mentor, retired pro Sean Betz, has always suggested making your initial winds (hammer) and first spin (WFD) slow.  Then you can let the implement itself create momentum to help build speed.  I particularly remember practicing hammer under his observation and he'd ask "can you go even slower" (at the beginning)? 

For me, if I concentrate on slowing down at the beginning, the technique comes together wonderfully (as in "a-ha, YES").  The speed will be the natural result.
Teresa Merrick
Bellevue, NE
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