What is Weight Throw?

weight throw

Weight throw is a track and field sport that is popular for high school and college athletics. The sport requires strength and proper technique to perform well, and is often held indoors.


Weight throw is one of the world's oldest sports, evolving from Scottish games in the 18th century. Women's competitions were not introduced until 1995 in the Olympics. The men's hammer weighs 16 pounds while the women's hammer weighs 8 pounds.

Playing Surface

Weight Throw Playing Surface

Weight throw competitions are held on an indoor track and field. The area for the weight throw is a cement circle covered by a tall fence. Participants perform their throws in the caged area.

Weight Throw Equipment

weight throw equipment

The hammer is the most essential item for weight throwing. Duffel bags and hammer racks offer storage options for competitors, and gloves and safety cages offer protection to athletes and spectators.

Here is the essential weight throw equipment you should have:

  • Duffel Bags: Bag used to hold a hammer and uniform along with other equipment.
  • Gloves: Protects the palms from getting calluses from tight grips on the hammer.
  • Hammers: Object used to throw during the weight throw event.
  • Hammer Rack: Storage unit for multiple hammers.
  • Handles: A wire and handle that attaches to the hammer.
  • Safety Cages: Protective area surrounding the throwing circle.
  • Throwing Circles: Area where an athlete performs their throw.


The goal of the weight throw is to throw the hammer farther than other competitors. There are markers for distance beyond the throwing circle where legal throws are marked. Only a certain number of participants will advance to the next round after throws have been completed.

Rules and Regulations

Weight throw rules are strict to keep competitions consistent and fair.

Here are the most important weight throw rules you should know:

  • Throwers have three attempts per round
  • Participants must stay in the throwing circle until the throw is measured
  • It is a foul when the hammer is thrown out of play

Weight Throw Techniques

Athletes work hard to perfect their technique to compete at the highest level. To generate the most power, grab the hammer with both hands and start at the back of the throwing circle. Next, create force by bending the knees and spinning two or three times, finally releasing the hammer at an angle of about 45 degrees.

Here are the most important weight throw strategies you should know:

  • Start at the back of the throwing circle
  • Generate power by spinning towards the launch zone
  • Release the hammer at a 45-degree angle


weight throw lingo

The list below will explain the basic terms used while competing in a weight throw event.

Here is the common lingo and slang in weight throw:

  • Hammer: The weight used in weight throw/hammer throw competitions is often called a hammer. Normally 16 pounds for men and around 8 pounds for women, the weight is sphere-shaped and has a wire attached to it that leads to a handle for participants to grab.
  • Field Event: Weight throw is classified as a field event that normally takes place in the middle of a track. Other field events include javelin, long jump, pole vault and high jump. Most fields are made out of grass or turf.
  • Throwing Circle: The throwing circle is the area where weight throw athletes compete. They throw their weights from this circle, but must stay inside it while completing their turn. The circle is located inside the cage that protects others from the hammer.

Weight Throw Athletes

The most famous weight throwers have come from a limited number of countries and are known for breaking the world record for the longest throws ever. The countries that have produced world famous weight throwers are the United States, Germany, Hungary, Norway, and Russia. The most recent world record was recognized in 1986.

Here are the most famous weight throw athletes you should know:

  • Yuriy Sedykh: Holds the world record with a throw of 284 feet 6 inches.
  • Karl-Hans Riehm: Won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics.
  • Hal Connolly: Has a gold medal from the 1956 Olympics and was the first American to throw over 200 feet.

Events and Competitions

Weight Throw Events and Competitions

While the weight throw is not as popular as its outdoor counterpart, the hammer throw, events involving throwing are watched worldwide. Two major events consistently offer throwing competitions; the Olympics and the World Athletics Championships. The Olympics only occur every 4 years, but World Athletics hosts many competitions throughout each year. This gives participants plenty of time to train in preparation for the Olympics.

Here are the most popular tournaments in weight throw:

Olympics: The Summer Olympics occur once every 4 years and include track and field events like the hammer throw. Weight throw is not officially recognized as an Olympic sport.

World Athletics Championships: Multiple events are hosted by World Athletics each year and are known as the World Athletics Championships. Hammer throw is one of the events.


Are weight throw and hammer throw the same?

Weight throw and hammer throw are very similar, the differences being the size of the weights and hammer throwing being an outdoor sport. The hammer used for weight throw is 35 pounds for men and 20 pounds for women. The hammer throw is quite smaller, being 16 pounds for men and around 9 for women.

Is weight throwing an Olympic sport?

No, but hammer throw is recognized as an official Olympic sport and has been a part of the event since the 1900 games in Paris.