Lifting From the Hang vs. Blocks Pt. 2: Throwers
This is a continuation of my article on lifting from the blocks vs. the hang, but this will focus on how I apply these two variations to my throwers. Since I covered the basics of each position in the previous article in this series, I’ll just dive right in.
Much like with my weightlifters, I’ll use lifts from the hang to help my throwers who struggle to use their hamstrings for full hip extension. Hamstrings are one of the primary muscular catalysts for hip extension, and so if a thrower is lacking that contracting ability in their hamstrings, it can really hamper their ability to apply force to an implement. A low hang will lengthen the hamstring, making the athlete feel that stretch and establishing the mind-muscle connection. This can help to reinforce the importance of the hamstrings in the finish of a lift and a throw. I will use high hangs slightly more with throwers than with weightlifters, and they would be used as modulation for power cleans or power snatches, or as a tool to teach speed under the bar. I definitely like to use these during an accumulation phase when throwers don’t have to worry about throwing far. In general, hang movements are also very good for throwers to maintain mobility and improve their technique.
As far as the blocks, they are a big peaking tool for me. The shorter range of motion and lack of eccentric load means throwers really get to feel a strong pop, especially from the higher 2-box position. I find this position is similar to the power position of a throw in terms of biomechanical angles, so it can be advantageous for throwers to move weight quickly and forcefully from that position. This high position also really requires athletes to focus on hamstring recruitment, as there is not much of a pull between breaking the bar off of the box and finishing the lift. Again, I love programming lifts from the blocks for throwers during their peaking phase. The combination of explosively moving relatively heavy weight with little eccentric load to break down the athlete is hard to beat.