What Are the Best Core Strengthening Exercises for Paralympic Shot Putters?

May 12, 2024

There's been a surge of interest in Paralympic sports, and for a good reason. Athletes, regardless of their physical capabilities, are pushing their boundaries, showing us that limitations are often just a state of mind. One of the sports making waves in the Paralympic circle is shot put. You may wonder what it takes for these athletes to reach such high levels of performance. It's a combination of sheer determination, grit, and an effective training program. Among essential elements of this program is the development of core strength, crucial for the power and precision needed in shot put throwing. As we delve into this subject, we'll focus on the importance of core strength for shot put athletes and the best exercises for building it, even for those in a wheelchair.

The Role of Core Strength in Shot Put

Before we delve into the exercises, it is vital to understand the importance of core strength in shot put. The core serves as the body's center of gravity and is essential for maintaining balance and stability. From the hip thrust to the arm's throw, every move an athlete makes during a shot put throw involves the core.

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In the sport of shot put, your power comes from your core. Every time you prepare to launch the ball, your core muscles engage. They are responsible for generating the force that propels the ball forward. When you see an athlete going in for a throw, pay attention to their body movements. You'll notice that the actions aren't just confined to the arm throwing the ball. The entire body works in unison, with the core acting as the driver. The stronger the core, the more distance the athlete will be able to achieve in their throw.

Essential Core Strengthening Exercises for Athletes

Now that we understand the role of the core in shot put, let's explore some beneficial core strengthening exercises. These exercises will help build a strong, stable center that can provide the power these athletes need.

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Planks are a good starting point. This exercise, while simple in concept, can be quite challenging. It works the entire core and even targets the lower back and hip muscles. Planks help to increase stability and endurance, which can greatly improve the athlete's performance over time.

Russian twists are another excellent exercise. They focus on the oblique muscles, which are critical for the rotational movement involved in shot put. This exercise is also easily adaptable for wheelchair athletes, with the addition of resistance bands or medicine balls.

Seated medicine ball throws are specifically beneficial for wheelchair athletes. These exercises enhance both core strength and coordination, which are essential for the shot put throw.

Implementing Core Exercises into Training

When incorporating these exercises into your training program, it's essential to have a balanced approach. Overworking one area of the body can lead to imbalances and potential injury. It is advisable to engage in these exercises 2-3 times a week, allowing sufficient recovery time between sessions.

Track your progress over time. This will provide you with valuable feedback and help you adjust your training program as necessary. It's important to remember that strength training is a marathon, not a sprint. Significant improvements will be seen over time, not overnight.

Team and Coach Support in Core Strengthening

While individual discipline and motivation are crucial in training, the role of the team and coach cannot be overstated. A good coach will not only provide a well-rounded training program but will also offer the necessary guidance and support throughout the process. Additionally, being part of a team fosters a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, which can greatly enhance the training experience.

To sum up, core strengthening is a vital component of training for Paralympic shot put athletes. These exercises, when done consistently and correctly, can significantly improve the athletes' performance over time. As we continue to celebrate and support these athletes, it's fascinating to gain insight into the hard work and dedication that goes into their training.

Incorporating Strength Conditioning in Core Training

The strength conditioning aspect in core training is undeniably essential for Paralympic shot putters. It involves a combination of exercises designed to improve strength, power, and endurance, all of which contribute to a successful shot put throw. A strong core not only amplifies the athlete's throwing power but also enhances their stability, a significant factor during the execution of the throw.

Planks, as aforementioned, are a fundamental part of strength conditioning. However, advancing to weighted planks can prove beneficial for athletes seeking to intensify their core training. In this variation, a weight plate is added on the athlete's back, increasing the resistance, and thereby maximizing the workout's efficiency.

Medicine ball exercises, such as seated medicine ball throws, are also a staple in strength conditioning. They involve high-intensity, explosive movements that closely mimic the shot put throw. These exercises are adaptable for athletes with varying physical capabilities, offering different levels of resistance based on the weight of the medicine ball used.

Finally, the series deadlift is another essential addition to the strength conditioning routine. This exercise targets the anterior core, lower back, and hip muscles, all of which are critical in the shot put throw. The series deadlift can be modified to accommodate athletes' unique needs, including those who are visually impaired.

Core Stability and Overall Performance

The impact of core stability on overall performance cannot be overlooked in the training process. Enhanced core stability results in better balance, control, and efficiency during the throw, which in turn, improves the shot putter's performance.

A high school shot putter, for instance, may notice significant improvements in their throw with consistent core training. The increased core strength and stability will allow them to generate more power during the throw, resulting in a farther throw distance.

This highlights the necessity of core stability exercises as part of the training program. Exercises such as bird dogs, pelvic tilts, and bridge variations are recommended to enhance core stability. These exercises work the lower back and abdominal muscles, enhancing the athlete's balance and control during the shot put throw.

It is also advisable that athletes sign up today for a free newsletter or training guide that offers additional insights and guidance on effective core training and stability exercises.


The importance of a strong and stable core in the performance of Paralympic shot putters is clear. Through a well-structured training program that includes strength conditioning and core stability exercises, athletes can significantly improve their performance.

Moreover, the value of a supportive team and coach is crucial in maintaining motivation and adherence to the training routine. A good coach can guide athletes through their training, adjusting the program as necessary, and providing the necessary support, both physically and mentally.

While strength training is a commitment that requires time and effort, the rewards can be significant. Whether you're a high school shot putter or a Paralympic athlete, the pursuit of a stronger and more stable core is undoubtedly worth the effort. So, sign up today for your free newsletter and get started on your journey to becoming a stronger, more powerful shot putter.