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Programming/Periodization

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The Hulk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 5/11/20 at 12:53pm
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The Hulk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/11/20 at 1:54pm
I have been an Olympic lifter & coach for decades, but not a thrower until only recently. I have struggled to create a throwing program for myself that avoids overtraining, injury etc. I've read all of the books available but I've decided to take a step back and think about periodization using my weightlifting knowledge.  Here are my initial thoughts - which I'll expand on (and hopefully get feedback on) over time. It's a work in progress.
To keep this simple, I'm going to focus only on a few things. I'll try to layer in more elements later. So this is a throwing program only, ignoring lifting weights. Lifting weights could be added - especially in the first 2 weeks.
It is 4 weeks before a competition, throwing 4 days a week. I'll ignore the caber for now so we have 8 events. To add some exercise variety, I'll add a closely related throw to each event eg. 1 turn WFD. So each week we have up to 16 exercises to play with (excludes warmup/cool-down). I'll suggest 4 exercises per day each day per week. For the first 2 weeks we could use all 16 exercises, cutting that back to the main 8 for the last 2 weeks before the competition. Finally, each of the 4 weeks and days will be light, medium or heavy based on volume. Average weekly reps could be 80 - 200. Average daily reps could be 20 - 50.
With no further ado, here is a 4 day a week, 4 week pre-competition throwing program. Your thoughts?

Week 1 - Medium - Average weekly volume
Day 1 - Medium - Average daily reps - 1 turn heavy WFD, 1 turn heavy Hammer, Standing Braemar stone,  WOB from static start
Day 2 - Light - Lower than average daily reps - 1 turn Light WFD, 1 turn Light Hammer, Standing Open Stone, Sheaf from static start
Day 3 - Heavy - Lower than average daily reps - 2 turn Heavy WFD, 3 turn Heavy Hammer, Full Braemar throw, Full WOB
Day 4 - Medium - Average daily reps - 2 turn Light WFD, 3 turn light Hammer, Full Open Stone, Full Sheaf

Week 2 - Light - Lower weekly volume
Day 1 - Medium - 1 turn heavy WFD, 1 turn heavy Hammer, Standing Braemar stone,  WOB from static start
Day 2 - Light - Lower than average daily reps - 1 turn Light WFD, 1 turn Light Hammer, Standing Open Stone, Sheaf from static start
Day 3 - Heavy - Lower than average daily reps - 2 turn Heavy WFD, 3 turn Heavy Hammer, Full Braemar throw, Full WOB
Day 4 - Medium - Average daily reps - 2 turn Light WFD, 3 turn light Hammer, Full Open Stone, Full Sheaf

Week 3 - Heavy - higher weekly volume
Day 1 - Medium - average daily reps - Heavy WFD, Braemar
Day 2 - Light -  fewer reps - Light WFD, Light Hammer
Day 3 - Heavy - fewer reps - Heavy hammer, WOB
Day 4 - Medium - average daily reps - Open stone, Sheaf

Week 4 - Light - lower volume
Day 1 - Medium - light hammer, light WFD
Day 2 - Light - Open stone, sheaf
Day 3 - Light - Light WFD, light hamner
Day 4 - Competition
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CKasson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote CKasson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 11:40am
Having put a significant amount of thought and time into this exact same topic over the past 10+ years of throwing, I can give you some decent input. You are very much correct in assuming the organization of training/periodization for throwing can mimic olympic weightlifting. There is a lot of crossover in terms of using "Pieces of the whole" in training. For instance, standing throws as a piece of a full open stone, or one turns as a piece of a full WFD throw, single winds as a piece of a full 3-4 wind hammer, etc. Much the same way, block pulls are trained as a piece of the snatch, high pulls as a piece of the clean and so on. A few things to think about and mull over:

Many times, games will be back to back to back weekends, so a 4 week approach is good for the 1st, but how will you modify for the 2nd, third, and possibly 4th weekend in a row of throwing.

I don't like static start WOB. It's too dynamic of a movement to lose the stretch-shortening cycle needed to throw high, and losing that messes with the timing of the throw. I do, however, like a static sheaf toss as it helps to reinforce keeping the bag down over the R foot at the bottom. 

I prefer focusing on one event per session to keep from imposing fatigue effects from the session on the later throws. It doesn't do your CNS any good to throw the last 2 events fatigued from the first two. For instance, Week 1 day 4 has 2 turn Light WFD, 3 turn light Hammer, Full Open Stone, and then Full Sheaf. By the time you get to the stone and sheaf, will you have accumulated enough fatigue to throw those events off slightly? If not, you probably aren't doing enough reps of each of the first two throws. 

Throwing is a highly technical endeavor, reps are king. If you are averaging 20-50 reps over a session, is that 5 reps of each four you mentioned on a lower day and 12 reps of each 4 on the higher side? If so, I would encourage you to put all 20-50 into one event instead of spreading over 4. Nothing is more specific to throwing than throwing. The more you can do, the better you'll get, and the more specific strength you'll build. I would break the pieces down like you have mentioned, and emphasize 1-2 of them per session. You could do 1 turn LW followed by full LW and shoot for 20-30 total reps, single wind light hammer followed by 3-4 wind light hammer for 20-30, and so on. That way you aren't confusing your CNS, it's much simpler, and you can organize them based on your strengths and weaknesses. Good in the hammers? Put them at the end of the week when your body is starting to get fatigued and put the bulk of the weekly work into the events you struggle with. For me, WOB, HWFD, and the 22# hammer are the hardest on my body, so they always go to the front side of the week, while open stone, LW, LH and sheaf go towards the end, or competition side of the week depending on the week. 

I like the thought that has gone into your layout! It's cool to see how an Olympic lifter/coach goes about organizing things.

Hope that gives you something to think about,

Chuck 

Chuck Kasson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheJeff696 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 12:05pm
When the current national champ posts training advice after years of hiding

Analytics will help cities manage water supplies, repair aging ...

Solid advice, Chuckles
Jeff Kaste



"I think there's a Squatch in these woods..."
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The Hulk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 12:35pm

You are offering exactly the kind of input I was hoping for! Both practical suggestions based on your throwing experience as well as insight into alternatives for the programming.

I’ll dare to answer your questions – and with much respect.

If you are throwing 4 weekends in a row, unless you are highly conditioned athlete, this program is too much. The good news is that your strength will be maintained over the four weeks so lighter weights can be used to maintain speed, rhythm, technique and so on. I’d suggest keeping most of the high, low medium days but with only light weights and varying volume.

Every day has 4 exercises. The first two, I am suggesting (feel free to dispute) are more technical eg. WFD and Hammer are like the snatch and clean & jerk. So they are first in the workout. Arguably the stones, WOB and Sheaf are simpler technically? So I put them last in the daily program. Your mileage may vary – some people might want/need to improve these and we could move them up in the program.

The number of reps per day or week that I suggested are to accommodate a wide variety of throwers. For an old master like me, 20 reps would be an average day – 4 exercises x 5 reps average. A heavy intensity day might mean 15 reps while a lower intensity day might mean 25 reps. So 20 reps for 4 exercises – of which 2 are the heaviest CNS users – is doable – even for me. For a well – conditioned athlete, I may be overreaching but say 50 reps a day +/- 10. So you tell me, would 50 reps with the lighter weights and some supplemental throws be too much? If all you threw were heavy weights and heavy supplementals would 10 reps of each (40 total) also be too much? Lastly, this program is not written in stone. It can and should be adjusted for the athlete, and even how they feel on that day.

I absolutely agree with your point about the need for throwing volume. You only get better throwing by throwing. In weightlifting, its believed to be better to exercise more frequently rather than less frequently. So you are suggesting focusing on one to two exercises per session. The way you are suggesting, it makes sense.

I have spread things out more so that essentially you are getting more chances to practice everything several times across the week, but I think that your approach is equivalent. The only benefit of doing 4 versus 2 exercises is perhaps psychological. If I have a bad day or I am dreading a particular exercise (I don’t want to do sheaf today!), having 4 exercises with a limited number of reps offers variety and hopefully I’ll feel good about something I did on a bad day.

Thanks again!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CKasson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 1:10pm
I think your logic and thought process is sound. It's hard to say right or wrong, unless it doesn't work for you, then it's definitely wrong! I would argue the open stone is probably much more technical, but that's because I'm so bad at it! 40-50 throws per day is definitely doable especially if you count every throw. Here's an example: On a WFD day, I will do maybe 10 one turns, followed by 15-20 full throws, and then maybe get a kettlebell and do 10-15 throws from the front. Open stone day may be 10 from the front, 10 wheel, 10-15 full rotation, then heavy wheels with a 25# med ball. That's easily 40-50. Then, it gets even more complicated if you count gym session throws as well. I'll often do side med ball slings, overhead med ball throws, or pud throws with a short LW or KB as part of a gym workout after a throwing session. 

One variable that you haven't listed and need to consider is throwing intensity. You don't need to throw 100% every training throw. I would argue even that you shouldn't. You can cycle intensity of throwing between training sessions as well. You might throw light hammer at 75-85% working on one aspect of the throw, LW could be 85-90%, then open stone at 100%, WOB should always be 100% though. I set up ranges based on my current training records for the training block or season and put a few flags out to delineate the upper and lower limit of the range and then put in reps seeing how easily I can hit the range. So now you have reps, exercises, and intensities to consider! 

Chuck
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 1:31pm

When you add in gym sessions it definitely gets more complicated. If I focus only on the 4 weeks program before a competition that I suggested, I would suggest backing away from gym throws. In weightlifting, the least 4 weeks mainly focuses on the competition lifts. It could be similar for throwing? For a longer program – 12 weeks or more – gym throws could replace or supplement some of the throws outdoors.

Interesting that you mention intensity. Intensity in weightlifting is based on a percentage of your 1RM as you know. In throwing, the intensity varies only between the light and heavy implements. So we get some effect from that. So in my 4 week program I did try to vary intensity with the light and heavy implements. I am not sure that I did it perfectly but I did have intensity in mind.

By the way, it is interesting to me that volume is a bigger cause of overtraining than intensity. For an extreme and maybe bad example, if you did one throw a day of a 56, you’d never overtrain. But if you did 56x1lb every day, you could get overtrained eventually? You certainly wouldn’t be building strength.

For the ambitious types, overweight implements might also help. Because the implements are so light (by weightlifting standards anyway), I am not sure that underweight implements would add much. Speed comes from building muscle as muscle mass contributes to power. At first you’d feel like you are moving faster with a light weight. But an underweight implement would eventually mean moving slower because you would be building less muscle. And increasing power production eventually needs more muscle. That's why top heavyweights throw further than lightweights.

What I like about your range throwing is that 75-100%+ is in keeping with the intensity needed to build fast twitch power.

Great conversation!



Edited by The Hulk - 5/13/20 at 2:54pm
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The Hulk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 1:37pm
One more thing. Rest. In weightlifting, high intensity lifting (eg. competition period) means 2 - 4 minutes rest between lifts. Otherwise the quality of lifts deteriorates and you build endurance - not strength. So between reps - be sure to rest. I've found that when training on my own I tend not to rest enough. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CKasson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 3:25pm
Good call. I will time my rest between throws as the season progresses and later in the year will put 2 minute rest periods primarily between the heavy throws of the 56, heavy hammer, and WOB. The others, I seem to recover quickly enough that I don't need to time them. 

I have found my throws improve the most from training with underweight implements as opposed to overweight as I personally lack speed more than strength. That's why my heavy hammer, and heavy weight PRs are so much further than my lighter throws.
Chuck Kasson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 4:00pm
I appreciate your comments. I need to think about them some more. There is a lot implied.
And obviously I shouldn't map weightlifting programming directly onto throwing as there are some overlaps and some differences.
One more thing. I initially tried to make my suggestions generally applicable. At your level, I would guess that programming is even more challenging in order to make progress, avoid injury and even just to sustain performance. Top ranked weightlifters struggle to do the same. Typically they add more variation to their exercises which you appear to do as well. Bottom line your program - by virtue of your level in the sport and experience has to incorporate more, different and individualized elements. And you've mentioned a number of these in your comments. It's hard to get to the top which most people realize but what gets you to the top won't necessarily keep you there. If you run a mile every day, you will eventually stop getting faster.
I hope that others have found your comments as enlightening as I have.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sammy68123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/13/20 at 6:53pm
Wow, you guys are ANIMALS (I know you are, Chuck <g>).  Interesting discussion.

As an exercise physiologist, I also try to apply what I know from motor learning and analysis of the demands of a sport to my (now aging) body.  Also, my mantra is "have fun, don't get hurt".  I want to keep throwing as long as I can in this life.

With those parameters in mind, there's a LOT of volume of throwing in what you have described above, and as you have said, higher volumes are what seem to be related to overtraining.  From a motor learning perspective, it's important to practice as frequently as possible while staying as fresh as possible to groove a skill.  So I try to use short, but frequent sessions.

So in my throwing practice, my sessions are either heavy events (HWD, HH, BS, WOB) or light (LWD, LH, OS, sheaf).  I have sometimes swapped HH in with light and LH in with heavy, just to even things out. I do only 1-3 preparatory moves for some of the events before proceeding with full throws: no partials.  I focus on consistent technique with fewer throws: for distance events, a max of 6-7 throws (you only do 3 in competition) of each event in a session.  By contrast, in height events, I'll do 8-10 throws (or so) since I may end up throwing more attempts in a competition to clear a height.  

I also try to keep up a basic strength training program to complement my throwing, nothing long or complicated.  I have used the "Easy Strength" approach from Dan John for in-season strength training in the past with an "A" and "B" type full-body workout.  

Just throwing my ideas into the discussion.  
Teresa Merrick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hulk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 5/14/20 at 1:07pm
Thanks for your input Teresa. As far as volume goes, my suggestion was 4 days a week averaging a minimum of 20 throws a session which should be doable for most. 4 sessions a week was based on the current thinking around weightlifting circles about frequency. But 3 days was the old standard and improvement is still likely for most people with one day less a week.
The key to all this is doing enough work to improve while minimizing overtraining which leads to excessive fatigue and persistent reduced performance (and potential injury). Some fatigue will occur as your body continues to adapt to the training. That's why the volume is varied day to day & week to week. The variation allows the fatigue to go away in the short run while strength and performance continue to accumulate over time. But as I said before, these programs have to be calibrated to suit the athlete and how they feel and respond to training. Everyone is different. I would not get the same results if I followed Chuck Kasson's program to the letter for many reasons including genetics, experience and many other reasons.
On another point, I am a weightlifter so perhaps I am biased. But throwing seems to be mainly about force production. Nothing produces more force on a heavy object than the 2nd pull in weightlifting. Deadlifts, squats, bench presses build muscle but not the right fast twitch kind needed to explode an implement in 1/4 of a second. Powerlifting exercises probably help with stability, isometric strength, and they build strength - just not the kind that weightlifters and I think Highland Games athletes need. I may be wrong. Powerlifting movements help but they seem to me to be a step removed from throwing. Maybe powerlifting is best suited for general physical preparation in the offseason. With limited energy available, perhaps we'd all be better off with strength training that more directly supported throwing. But I'd like to hear from those without my bias.    
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