February 01, 2008
In 2006 I was referred to CrossFit.com to check out a workout called "Nasty Girls." At the time, I wasn't sure if I should open a video with that name in a public room. Well, what I found was probably more shocking than what I expected: a workout prescribing multiple rounds of fifty air squats backed up by "crazy" muscle-ups and power cleans, all done with strength, intensity, and perseverance by three truly remarkable women. Out of curiosity, I gave the program whirl and soon after found a renewed desire to improve my own fitness goals. As a national and collegiate competitive athlete in the hammer, discus, and indoor weight throw, I had been trained to be a specialist in the weight room. Running excessively, doing any "cardio" training, or performing any exercise over five reps was a big fat no (no surprise that I weighed 180 pounds). My long-held belief in what fitness was--bigger, stronger, faster--soon became blurry. (Hmm, or was that blur caused by the CrossFit workout I had just completed?)
In this article I share some drills from one of the throwing events that I believe is the most dynamic and exciting to watch. The hammer throw is an athletic throwing contest where the object thrown is a heavy steel ball attached to a wire (with a maximum length of four feet) with a handle. The weight of outdoor competition hammers used today in the Olympics and nationally accredited (IAAF) track and field events are 4 kg (8.8 pounds) for women and 7.2 kg (16 pounds) for men.