Training for the javelin throw is not simply the process of strengthening your upper body. The javelin throw is dominated by agile, speedy athletes, rather than the bulkier athletes who dominate the other throwing events in track and field. Training needs to be a balance of upper body strengthening, throwing, and leg strengthening. You can accomplish these goals through regular training techniques and drills.
In the javelin throw, more muscle doesn’t necessarily mean more distance. It will decrease flexibility, an attribute essential for a good javelin throw. Furthermore, it takes time away from other strength training exercises that will improve your performance in this event. Some weight lifting should be incorporated into your training regiment, but you want to temper it with activities that will be more productive in the long run. So, what upper body strength training exercises should you do?
Working out with the medicine ball is a great way to build strength necessary for this event. With drills like throwing the medicine ball over your head with your feet side by side, you will improve your flexibility and core strength. To work different muscles, do the same drills with one foot forward. Other drills include an overhead twisting throw and a side-facing overhead throw. To begin mimicking the moves of the javelin throw, you can try drills of two, three, or five steps, using either a medicine or jav ball. These will condition your muscles necessary for this event.
Be sure you use a mixture of light, standard, and heavy weight balls for these drills, depending on where you are in the season. Generally, you want to use the heavy weight balls early in the pre-season and into the early season. This will build up needed strength. As the season progresses, you will want to use more standard and light weight balls, to prevent muscle fatigue, without losing your needed training time.
You don’t want to do the same thing every day while training. Your body will stop responding if your muscles aren’t getting the rest they need. Ideally, you want to vary the emphasis of your training over certain time periods. You might spend two or three weeks focusing on weight training and doing very little medicine ball or javelin throwing. After that period of time, you might switch your focus to medicine ball drills without completely eliminating weight training. You will just do a lot less of it.
Studies have suggested that for professional athletes, three to five short training sessions a day are better than one or two long ones. This is because the longer you work, the more fatigued your muscles will get with little opportunity to replenish themselves. Shorter sessions means more recovery time. Of course, most don’t have the luxury of devoting their entire day to training, but even more casual athletes shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing the more hours spent training in a day the better.