Hammer Throw – Quick Guide

Hammer Throw – Overview

Hammer Throw is a sport of strength, balance, and projection. Apart from heavy physical strength, it requires excellent foot work coordination. Since 1900, it is a part of Olympic Games in men’s category. In the year 1995, it was introduced to women’s category too. International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) is the governing body of this sport.

Hammer Throw is a popular field and track event in which the athlete needs to throw a heavy spherical object to prescribed distance, by spinning it in air with the help of a wire or string attached to it. This sport is played in both men and women category. For the safety of the spectators, the athletes use to perform inside a semi enclosed perimeter.

Hammer Throw

A Brief History of Hammer Throw

Traces of hammer throwing can be made into 18th century where the Tailgate people used to showcase their talents in front of their kings by throwing heavy stone or metallic materials being attached with a rope. Soon the culture was developed and was transformed into a sport that was introduced in modern Olympic Games in 1900.

Many people also believe that the origin of this sport is from the Scottish independence war, where King Edward-I has prohibited the use of weaponry. As a result of which this type of throwing was practiced by the army men in the late 13th or 14th century. Till 1995.

International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) did not made any rectification to include women’s event in this category but finally in 2000 Summer Olympics, women made their debut in hammer throw and a year after that it was also introduced in world championships.

History of Hammer Throw

Participating Countries

Hammer Throw comes under the track and field job event. Since its introduction to Olympic Games in 1900, the popularity of this sport grew exponentially in different nations. Many Asian and Non-Asian countries participate in this sport. The countries that participate in this sport are China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Kuwait, South Korea etc. In 2014 Asian Games, Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikstan bagged the gold medal in men’s category and Zhang Wenxiu of China bagged gold medals in women’s category.

Many Non-Asian countries have shown their talents in events like Summer Olympics. Countries like, Norway, Great Britain, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, etc. are dominating in the competitions. In 2012 Summer Olympics, Krisztian Pars of Hungary bagged the gold medal in men’s category while Tatyana Lysenco of Russia bagged gold in women’s category.

Hammer Throw – How to Play?

Before moving to various techniques of the sport, let’s start from the basics.

The Grip

Hand Grip

Gripping is done basically in the left hand for a left handler and in right hand for a right handler. To protect the palms from the mechanical injuries, gloves are provided by the sporting organization.

Gripping is done in between the second and third joints of the fingers. On the top of the left hand, right hand is placed. It should be placed inside the handle.

The Swinging

At first, you have to stand at the rear point of the circle. Technically speaking, this will be a 12 o’clock position. Your feet should be exactly parallel with the ground and your back should be towards the throwing direction i.e. throwing direction will be at 6 o’clock with respect to you. To increase the momentum of the throw, use the preliminary swinging.


In general, an athlete uses two swinging; however, there is no restriction upon the increase or decrease of the swinging. The swinging must be started from behind the right side of the body. Take the hammer in the forward direction away from the body. Swing it over the head. Through this act, the low point of the hammer will lie in a 12 o’clock position and tip in 6 o’clock position with respect to your body.

The Entry

Soon after the swinging, the athlete enters into the turning phase. The position of the hammer comes directly in front of the thrower and turning of the low point commences. Pushing of the hammer takes place to the left and the turn starts.

Some other positions of the body that should be taken care of are −

  • Shoulders should be relaxed
  • Movement of the head should be passive
  • Keep hips and knees flexible
  • Feet should remain in contact with the circle

The Turns

These are a series of movements done to increase the speed of the hammer. Generally 34 turns are made but an athlete can go for more also if he/she likes. However; one important aspect that should be taken care over here is the balancing of body. Strong gripping of both the feet over the ground and their gradual movement aids the turning process.


Turn your right foot through your toes and left foot through your heels. Perform a driving action with the help of your right knee and lift your right leg up in the air in the 6o’ clock position once it completes its movements. Rotation of the right hip takes place around the back and up along with the right foot. It touches the ground on the circle exactly making a 3 o’clock marking.

Through the rotation of the foot, acceleration force gets transferred from hips and right foot to the base of the hammer, positioned at 12 o’clock. During the time of application of force the hammer ball should be on downward path and contacts should be there between both of your feet with the circle. Throughout the turning process the right foot keeps in contact with the circle. The upper part of the body remains in the passive position and arms should be straight with shoulders being relaxed.

The Delivery

Through repetitive rotation, the ball achieves its acceleration but the thrower still keeps rotating the ball with his feet in contact with the circle. The point at which the hammer is released is known as the high point.

High Point

It is positioned just opposite to the low point. Opposite to the low point, the hammer is driven upward through the proper extension of hips, ankles, and knees and then is released. During this process the left side of the body should be blocked and at 9 o’clock position, the upward driving of the feet should be made.

Heel Toe Turn Footwork

Preliminary swinging action starts with the turning of the heel of the left foot and the ball of the right foot. You can lift the right foot up in the air as soon as the hammer passes the 9 o’clock position and rotation will be done on the outside of the left foot. As soon as the ball reaches 6 o’clock position, shifting of the left foot is done onto the ball of the foot. With the arrival of 3 o’clock position, put the right foot on the ground.

All the remaining turns between 3 o’clock to 12 o’clock can be done with the help of the ball of the foot. Shifting of the left foot goes onto the heel level as the ball comes near 12 o’clock position and the next turn takes place. The distance achieved by the hammer primarily depends upon three factors which are −

  • The angle at which hammer is being released
  • The height at which it is released
  • Speed at which it has been thrown

The speed at which the hammer is thrown has the dominating effect among all. So the athlete should exercise upon that more and more with effective training and continuous practice.

Hammer Throw – Rules

An athlete has to abide by the following rules while performing in a Hammer Throw competition −

  • Before the starting of preliminary swinging, an athlete is allowed to put the head of hammer either inside or outside the circle.
  • It is not a foul if before the starting of preliminary swing, the thrower puts his hammer on ground but if after preliminary swing, the head of the hammer touches ground or the hammer is dropped by the athlete, then it will be counted as a foul.
  • While being in the air, if the hammer breaks then it will not be counted as foul, provided the athlete has played under correct rules and regulations.


Rules about Hammer

A hammer consists of the following three parts: Metal head, Wire, and Grip.

  • The head of the hammer should be made up of solid material like iron and it should be spherical in shape. The diameter should be 110 mm for men and 95 mm for women.
  • Filling is allowed and should be done in such a manner that it will be immovable and the center of gravity will not be more than 6 mm from the center of the sphere.
  • Wire that is going to be used over here will be single and unbroken type having a minimum diameter of 3mm. It should not stretch more while being in air. The wire can be lobbed to the either ends of the hammer.
  • Construction of the grip can be either single or double loop type but it should be rigid and should not have any hinging joints at both the sides.
  • The grip should be attached to the wire in such a manner that it cannot be turned within the loop of the wire.
  • Measurement of the hammer should be done from the inside of the grip.
  • To ensure the safety of the spectators, the performance should be carried out inside an empty cage.