May 18, 2024
Shot put weight plays a crucial role in shot put performance. This article explores the science and standards of shot put weight, how to choose the right weight, the history of shot put weight, how to handle different shot put weights, and the benefits and risks of using different shot put weights.


Shot put is a field event in track and field athletics, where the athlete throws a heavy ball as far as possible. This sport requires strength, technique, and precision. One of the critical factors that determine shot put performance is the weight of the shot put. In this article, we will explore the different weights of shot puts used in competitions, the science behind shot put weight, how to choose the right shot put weight, the history and standards of shot put weight, and the benefits and risks of using lighter or heavier shot put weights.

Overview of Shot Put

Shot put involves throwing a heavy metal ball, usually made of brass or iron, from a circle. The ball, called a ‘shot,’ weighs different amounts depending on the category of the athletes. Men use a heavier shot, while women use a lighter one.

The athlete must throw the shot from the shoulder and spin around in the circle before releasing the shot. The distance thrown is measured from the inner edge of the circle to where the shot lands. The further the shot travels, the better the athlete’s performance.

The Science of Shot Put Weight

The weight of the shot put used in competitions varies for men and women. The standard weight of the shot for men is 7.26 kg (16 pounds), while the standard weight for women is 4 kg (8.82 pounds). However, there are other shot put weights used for training purposes and different age groups.

For instance, College-level men’s competition can use a 7.26 kg shot put, a 7.26 kg indoor shot, or a 6 kg (13.23 pounds) shot put. Women’s college competition can use a 4 kg shot put, a 4 kg indoor shot, or a 3 kg (6.6 pound) shot put. High school-level boys use a 6 kg shot put, while high school-level girls use a 4 kg shot put.

The weight of the shot put affects the athlete’s performance significantly. A heavier shot allows an athlete to launch the ball more vigorously and travel farther distances but may require more muscle strength to throw. Alternatively, a lighter shot allows the athlete to throw the ball with more speed, but the distance traveled might be shorter.

How to Choose the Right Shot Put Weight

When selecting a shot put weight, several factors need to be considered, such as the athlete’s gender, age, and skill level. Beginners are advised to start with a lighter shot put to develop their skill. As their technique improves, they can upgrade to a heavier shot put.

Competitive athletes should select shot puts within their category’s standard weight and the appropriate international standards. Selecting a weight that is too heavy or too light increases the risk of injury, negatively impacts performance, and may lead to disqualification.

Common mistakes when selecting shot put weight include holding the shot incorrectly, choosing a weight based on gender stereotypes than skill level, and using worn-out shot puts. Athletes must choose shot puts specific to their skill level and maintain them in good condition to get the best results.

History of Shot Put Weight

Shot put is one of the ancient sports that date back to the fifth century B.C in Greece. The weight of the shot put has evolved over the years, from being made of stone, to brass, and later iron. In the early 20th century, the standard international weight for the men’s category was 7.27kg, which reduced to 7.26kg in 1928, a weight that is still used as the standard today. Women’s shot put, on the other hand, had no standard weight for years until the launch of the women Olympics in 1928.

Since then, the women’s shot put weight has undergone significant changes. During the 1940s and 1950s, the weight of the women’s shot put ranged from 2.72 kg (6 pounds) to 4.54kg (10 pounds). In 1954, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) issued a standard weight of 4kg, and it has been in use ever since.

Shot Put Weight Standards

The IAAF is the governing body that regulates track and field athletics worldwide. They have set standards and regulations for the shot put weight used in competitions. The standard shot put size for men is 7.26 kg, while that of women is 4kg. Shot puts must be round, made of iron or brass, and deliverable from one hand.

The weight of the shot put is essential in determining the athlete’s eligibility for competition and the qualification standards. Shot put weights that fall below or above the standard range are not allowed in official competitions. However, some weight variations are used in training and local competitions.

Techniques for Handling Different Shot Put Weights

Handling different shot put weights requires various techniques. The fundamental shot-putting technique is the glide, rotational or spin technique, where the athlete spins before releasing the shot. The technique used is influenced by the athlete’s size, muscle strength, and personal preference.

Mastering different shot put weights requires drilling and practice. Athletes looking to improve their shot put performance should train with different shot put weights to develop muscle memory for throwing the shot put efficiently.

Common mistakes when handling different shot put weights include overexerting the arm during the throw, which increases the risk of injury and poor performance. Having the right technique for the shot put weight used is crucial in achieving optimal performance.

Benefits and Risks of Different Shot Put Weights

Shot put weight affects athletic performance and the risks of injury. Using a heavier shot requires more muscle strength and limits the number of throws an athlete can make without injury. However, a heavier shot put helps athletes develop more power, speed, and endurance. Lighter shot puts require less muscle strength and fewer risks of injury. Still, using a lighter shot put may limit the athlete’s overall distance traveled.

Athletes must ensure they use the correct shot put weight to avoid injuries, poor performance, or disqualification. The right shot put weight helps maximize an athlete’s strengths, making for optimal performance and reducing the risk of injury.


The weight of the shot put is a critical factor in track and field shot put performance. Choosing the right shot put weight requires considering an athlete’s gender, age, skill level, and international standards. Shot put weight affects athletic performance and the risk of injury significantly. Athletes must select the right shot put weight and use it optimally by mastering the right throwing techniques. Using the correct shot put weight helps an athlete maximize their strengths, leading to the best performance and reducing injury risks.

Athletes looking to improve their shot put technique should train with different shot put weights and avoid common mistakes. By doing so, they will develop better muscle strength, technique, and endurance, leading to better shot put performance.

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