Improving your shot put technique is not only a matter of proper stance and body alignment during the movement, but of proper training beforehand. Developing the specific muscle groups which are utilized during the movement of the throw is key to improving your throw distance, as are practice drills which reinforce the correct holding and release of the ball, and the correct method of pivoting to increase throwing power. While some of the shot put training exercises recommended below will be familiar to you, others (such as plyometric exercises) are often less well known. As with any sort of athletic training, these regimen tips will only be as useful if practiced regularly and with proper form.
Targeted Weight Lifting
Unsurprisingly, building up your arm and shoulder strength will be key to improving your throw. You'll need to accomplish this muscle development through exercises such as the seated shoulder press, lateral shoulder raise, front shoulder raise, bicep curl or hammer curl, wrist curl, and tricep dip. While strong, toned arm muscles will obviously be necessary to throw a shot put well, you'll also want to make sure not to neglect your legs and core muscles (e.g. stomach, lower back), which are also utilized during this movement and are of equal importance. Build up your quads for better launching power by performing exercises such as squats, forward and reverse lunges, and weighted leg lifts. It'll also be important to develop your hamstring muscles, through exercises such as hamstring curls and straight leg deadlifts. Sometimes overlooked by shot put athletes are exercises which develop the inner and outer thigh muscles. This is unfortunate, as developing these muscles through exercise such as the lying inner thigh lift and lying outer thigh lift will add additional power and control to your throwing movement. Lastly, tie the development of your arm and shoulder muscles to the development of your leg muscles by developing your core through traditional ab crunches, Swiss ball pikes, seated twist crunches, oblique knee drops. The more unusual ab crunches that involve rotations at the waist, such as the seated twist crunches, are particularly useful in preparing muscles for these movements during competition.
One of the most effective ways to improve your shot put technique is to condition the muscles you'll be engaging with targeted drills and plyometrics. Plyometric exercise, a form of exercise intended to facilitate fast and powerful muscle movements, should definitely be part of your shot put training and conditioning. Specifically, plyometrics help athletes increase the speed and force of muscular contractions, allowing them to sprint faster and throw harder. Examples of plyometric exercises that can improve your shot put technique include plyometric or "clap" push ups and box jumps. Another good plyometric exercise is to stand with your hip facing a sturdy wall, feet shoulder width apart, and then turning quickly at the waist to throw a medicine ball as fast and high as you can at the wall, keeping your feet where they are throughout the movement. Additionally, there are drills which are specifically intended to improve a shot put throwers' ability to release the ball properly, as well as drills intended to coordinate the movement of the throwing arm with the hip and leg muscles you'll be using to put power behind your throw. These drills should be practiced regularly, though practicing the same drills every day is not recommended, as this prevents the muscles used in the drills from recuperating properly. plan on having two drill routines, each routine comprised of multiple drills, and alternate these two routines on an every-other-day basis.
Using video recordings of your practice sessions can be of enormous help when determining how well you're doing and where you need the most help. If you have a digital video camera and a tripod or some other sort of stand, set this up at enough of a distance that your entire body is in the shot, and practice as if the camera weren't on. Later, go back to the footage you've shot and analyze it in slow motion. This recommendation is even more effective if you can manage to watch this footage in slow motion with a coach or trainer, who can point out flaws in stance, movement, and shot release. Of additional value is watching videos of professional shot put athletes in slow motion, carefully analyzing their body movements, and comparing this footage with the self-shot footage of your own drill practices.