Shot Put and Discus Throw Variable Weights

Throwing heavy and light implements can help throwers develop particular needs such as speed and specific strength. Using lighter implements develops speed, and specific strength is developed with heavier implements. The three methods below account for the percentage each implement is thrown during the practice session.

When training the with various weight of the difference should be about 10-15% within the standard implement. The weight differential can vary in certain cases, especially with more mature women.

Throwing Methods

  • Balanced: 33% standard weight, 33% heavy weight, 33% light weight
  • Strength: 25% standard weight, 50% heavy weight, 25% light weight
  • Speed: 25% standard weight, 25% heavy weight, 50% light weight

Throwing for specific strength early in the week and speed later in the week is a common approach for the competition season. During the early season, the specific strength and balanced approach are used more often. As the peak of the season approaches, speed training is more dominant. The coach should find what method works best for each athlete and develop a program that best fits each thrower.

Shot Put

Generally, there should be about 10% difference in performance between the standard and light/heavy implements listed. For example, a 50’ high school boy’s shot-putter should be able to throw 45’ with the 14 pound shot put and 55’ with the 10 pound shot put. It is not recommended to go beyond or below the implement weight listed for most throwers.

The difference in distance thrown is approximate: 50 centimeters per kilogram or about two feet per pound in the shot put. In the shot put, a 1 kilogram or 2 pound difference is optimal in most cases.

Sample Training For the Shot Put

Early Season High School Girls: Strength Method
x10 stand throw (10 pound)
x5 mini-glides (10 pound)
x5 full throw -no reverse (4 kilo)
x5 full throw -reverse (8 pound)

Peak High School Boys: Balanced Method
x5 stand throw (14 pound shot put)
x4 full throw -no reverse (12 pound)
x8 full throw -reverse (alternate 10 pound + 12 pound)

Discus Throw

In the discus, training distances with various implements, in general, are 5 meters per .25 kilograms or 15 feet per ¼ pound. The discus up to a .25-kilogram differential is best for full throws. Heavier implements and balls can be used for stand throws and half turns.

Sample Training For The Discus Throw

Mid Season High School Girls: Strength Method
x5 stand throw (1.25 kilo)
x5 half turns (1.25 kilo)
x10 full throw -no reverse (1 kilo)
x10 full throw -reverse (1 kilo)
x10 stand throws with 6 pound medicine ball (left and right side)

Peak High School Boys: Balanced Method
x5 stand throw (1.75 kilo)
x5 half turns (1.75 kilo)
x5 full throw -no reverse (1.6 kilo)
x5 full throw -reverse (1.6 kilo)
x5 full throw -reverse (1.5 kilo)

Shot Put and Discus Training Options

Use one implement for the entire practice

High School Boys

Throw 12 pound shot put during one session

Throw one implement, then change implements

High School Girls Discus

Throw x10 stand throws with 1.25 kilo discus, throw x20 full throws with 1 kilo discus

Alternate implements during a session

High School Girls Shot Put

Throw 10 pound, 4 kilo and 8 pound 3 sets of stand throws, 6 sets of full throws


The coach should try several methods to find the best results from his athletes: each thrower may have success with a different method than a teammate.

Generally, the heavy implements are thrown first in training, but it can vary depending on individual preferences.

One example is an athlete who had success throwing the light implement for x8 throwers rather than the standard implement for 8 throws.

View Coaching Courses and Memberships