Highland Games

Generally two types of throwers compete in the Highland Games, Track & Field and Power or Olympic lifter / Strongmen. I was neither of these during my first game in 1987 at the 28th New Hampshire Games at Loon Mountain, Lincoln, NH, but I caught the throwing bug that day! I’ve been a student of throwing ever since, investing years to develop techniques.

There’s a huge advantage today for beginner throwers having social media. Pros share their training on YouTube, and some turn a small profit teaching clinics, selling books and DVD’s, but back when I first started this was certainly not the case. Fortunately, my job provides the resources to build strength fro throwing. For example, “A shot putter must always strive to become stronger and faster. How does this happen? By the  development of special strength and special means such as pulls, squats, inverse curls, reverse hypers, back raises as well as many forms of jumps. Special strengths are trained at a specified velocity. Explosive strength or power is trained at fast velocity through jumps and light barbell lifts at roughly 30 percent of a one rep max.” Special Strength Development For All Sports (Louie Simmons, 2015)

Specific Shot Exercises

“Power clean at a tempo as gliding across the circle with feet. Pull, touch legs, touch chest, and push overhead. Think touch, touch, and release. With the barbell on shoulders, spin across the circle. Do this in both directions. With the barbell on your chest, step across the circle and press the bar upward with and without a release. To throw a great distance, one must possess powerful shoulders and upper body. Many believe that only lifts, cleans, and snatches play a great role in the success of all types of throwers. However, the important part is the development of the upper back and traps. This simply means one must select exercises that will increase those precise muscles as well as the arm muscles.” Special Strength Development For All Sports (Louie Simmons, 2015)

Here is a list of some exercises for all styles of throwers:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Clean
  3. Snatch
  4. Upright rows
  5. Pull-downs
  6. Low pull rows
  7. Chest supported rows
  8. Press behind head (close and wide grip)
  9. Hammer curls
  10. Bent over rows
  11. Shrugs with a barbell
  12. Shrugs with dumbbells
  13. Goodmornings
  14. Goodmornings with one leg in front
  15. Kettlebell cleans
  16. Kettlebell snatches
  17. Pull-downs behind the head
  18. Standing one arm press

I’ve ask subject matter experts to share their techniques to improve. I’ve secured Olympic Shot-put phenom, Brian Oldfield and Top 5 Professional Thrower, Matt Vincent.

My list includes, Daniel McKim, Andy Vincent, Mike Zolkiewicz, Eric Frasure, Steve Pulcinella, and Ryan Vierra. This extended list may include others.