Shotput is a sport in which upper body strength is a critical factor. However, it is not the only factor that determines your success, and an ideal workout program will reflect that. In addition to working the muscles of your arm and shoulders, you should incorporate lower body exercises and drills to promote balance in your shotput training. Be sure to exercise with supervision to reduce the risk of injuries.
Upper Body Training
Though upper body strength is not the only component of shotput success, it should not be ignored, either. Building shoulder, chest and arm strength is crucial, so exercises such as the shoulder press and clean and press can help develop the muscles used in shotput. Triceps dips, shoulder shrugs, bent-over rows, and the chest press can also help strengthen your arms, chest and shoulders.
Lower Body Training
Part of successful shotput performance involves learning how to throw "from the ground on up," according to Rob Lasorsa of USA Track and Field. This idea refers to the transfer of power from your lower body to your upper body to launch the shot, and underscores the need for lower body strength training. Performing squats and dead lifts, which train many different leg muscles at the same time, will be beneficial for shotput workouts. Additionally, single-leg exercises such as lunges will help develop the balance necessary for shotput. Proper footwork is also important for shotput success, and Lasorsa recommends performing footwork drills that improve agility and mimic the motion of moving across, and rotating within, the circle. Sprinting drills can also encourage leg power.
Plyometrics is a type of training that is particularly relevant to shotput and other track and field activities because the training focuses on explosive movements. Sports conditioning specialist Tommy Sutor recommends plyo pushups -- similar to regular pushups except that you push up with enough force to launch your hands off the ground -- and medicine ball passes as effective for track and field athletes. Dumbbell thrusters, in which you hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level, squat down, and then explode upward while thrusting the dumbbells up toward the ceiling, can also be a good plyometric drill for shotput training.
General training drills can help improve general strength and conditioning, but specificity in training is important as well. Throwing drills such as medicine ball shotputs, stationary standing shotputs and kneeling throws, along with practicing proper form, will help ensure that your strength translates into throwing success.