Robert Urbanek (born 29 April 1987) is a Polish athlete specializing in the discus throw. His personal best in the event is 66.93m (219′ 7″), achieved in 2012 in Halle. He competed for Poland at the 2012 Olympics. Urbanek is the European Championships bronze medalist in Zurich in 2014 and placed 6th at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
2005 … 52,68 m (172′ 10″) 1.75 kg
2006 … 57.32 (188′ 0″) 1.75 kg | 50.84 (166′ 9″) 2 kg
2007 … 56,18m (184′ 4″)
2008 … 62,22m (204′ 1″)
2009 … 60,54m (198′ 7″)
2010 … 60,74m (199′ 3″)
2011 … 64,37m (211′ 2″)
2012 … 66,93m (219′ 7″)
2013 … 65,30m (214′ 3″)
2014 … 65,75m (215′ 8″)
I am glad to write you some information about my overall off-season training in the autumn period and share with everyone some of my experience as a thrower. Probably you won’t find here anything new and sophisticated. However, some of you may find it interesting and use the ideas to improve their own training regime. I will not go into details, but I will try to give you the idea of what I am doing and concentrating on in this specific period of time.
I have finished my season on the 15th of September. As each year brings some injuries and aches, I am focusing on proper rehab and physiotherapy to heal them and stay healthy. I guess that going to doctors, physical therapysts and doing surgeries, is pretty normal for athletes wich are on a high level and push themselves to the limit. Throughout the whole year I was quite healthy and did’t have any serious injuries. I am happy about that fact and hope it will stay so as long as possible. Therefore, I could focus on enjoying my leaisure time and I didn’t worry much about my health. I had 2-3 weeks of almost complete rest. I spend some time with my family, went to Egipt for vacation, met with friends and so on. In my opinion it is important to have a clear mind and forget about sport at least for a while. Of course I was doing some activities like bicycle riding, swimming or having a small jog in the park, but only for fun. After almost three weeks I began to slowly focus on my preparation for the winter training regime.
October is a time where I can do whatever I want, without the supervision of my coach. Therefore it is up to me what I want to focus on. Through the whole October I try to avoid exercises I usually do in my everyday training. The first week is very easy with only 3-4 training sessions. I try to run for about thirty minutes, have a good stretch after that, do some push-ups, pull-ups, abs and play football [soccer], basketball or volleyball. Those training sessions should be easy and rather focused on having fun than hard work. Of course when you play team sports you have to be very careful not to start you season with a twisted ankle or broken knee. Throwers are big guys so everyone should take care and watch out not to hurt themselves during the game.
In the next two weeks of October I am more focused on endurance and core stability. I do five training sessions per week with two days off (Saturday and Sunday). I don’t have any specific plan as I try to do whatever I feel like. I play a bunch of basketball, run in the park and visit the gym three times in a week. For me it means many reps and different exercises with dumbbells, pull-ups, push-ups, abs and general strenghtening exercises which I don’t usually do in my overall workout. This year I am concentrating more on core stability which means that I do a lot stabilizing exercises for my hips, back and shoulders. These are basic exercises which any physiotherapist will recommend you to complement your training routine. I am also thinking of introducing some TRX exercises as well, but still waiting for my coach to discuss this topic. I try not to force myself too much because I have in mind that with no indoor season there are still six months of very hard training before me. When I do an intense training session at the gym, the next day should be easy with only running, playing ball and streatching. Visiting the physiotherapist after an intense training to ease the sore muscles is a very good idea as well.
The last week of October I do all the above, but I also pick up the discus for the first time and perform some basic standing throws and drills (only once or twice in this week). After a month of training which was all about stabilization, endurance, and general strength, I will feel ready for the arrival of my coach in November. We start off easy, but we slowly begin to be more focused on throwing and building up strength. First two weeks we perform six training sessions per week. We pick up the bar and start to do some snatches, squats, bench press and overall weightlifting exercises. We also throw three times per week (2kg discus,2,3kg bar). The second half of November becomes difficult as we increase the throwing capacity to 4-5 throwing sessions per week (full turn in the discus), three gymsessions per week and two trainings focusing on mobility, medicine ball throwing, hurdles, sprinting and jumping (Sunday is always a rest day).
After two hard weeks of throwing and gym, we have one week, at the beginning of the December, which is easier than the last two as we throw three times and perform three gym sessions. It’s a week where we can catch breath and prepare for an almost three week training camp before Christmas. The camp is pretty hard as it contains 5-6 throwing sessions per week, three gym sessions and other training units focusing on stability, speed, mobility and jumping (up to 11 training sessions per week). We also go to thephysiotherapist for massage, sometimes use kriotherapy, hydrotherapy and swim for relaxation. After Christmas holidays and New Year break we go to different training camps. We begin in January, usually starting off with Potchefstroom, South Africa (three weeks), February in Monte Gordo, Portugal (three weeks), March – Monte Gordo again (three weeks), April in Spala, Poland (if weather is good, we stay in Poland).
As you can notice, we throw a lot through the whole year. Our trainer/ coaching philosophy is to throw as much as possible and slowly increase strength. In this way the increasing strenght doesn’t interfere with the feeling of the discus and technique. We also change implements every throwing session – (2kg, 2.25kg, 2.5kg discus, 2.3kg bars, 2.5-3kg shots etc). Of course choosing the right implement on a given training period depends on the preference of our coach and differs throughout the year. I have to admit that this training is very hard, because it is difficult to throw almost everyday through the whole six months of preparation period. It is also hard to maintain the quality of the throws when fatigue comes into play. We measure almost every trainig session to put more effort towards far throws and the improvement of the distance. Of course Poland is sometimes very cold so we have to throw in the net in December, when the weather is bad.
As I said, I did not go into details and didn’t provide you with the reps, sets, aspecific exercises, etc. It would be too long to write all the exercises and different drills that we do. I just wanted you to get some idea of what I do in the winter. The first month of training should be more about fun, endurence, strenght and no throwing at all. After we are ready and healthy we can go hard into more challenging workouts, but I think we are prepared and ready for that. Nothing goes without hard work, but we have to remember to start slow not to hurt ourselves and then gradually increase the workload.
I would also like to answer some questions the moderator asked me:
What do you need to work on, improve?
Like every other year I am trying to improve my strenght level, beacause there is still a lot to be done in this field. Each year I try to reach my maximum level of strenght in April and then maintain it over the whole season. Usually the strenght levels go down during the competiton period but then I focus more on speed and the feeling of the equipment is better. It is also easier to get the right feeling of the technique. I also need to improve my technique wich has still many flaws, especially the first phase where I do not use the left foot properly and don’t have a good balance on the left leg (falling in the back).
Where will you be living this winter?
This winter I will be living in Warsaw and from January visit training centres in South Africa, Monte Gordo and maybe a trip to the USA.
Who is in your training group?
I am training with my good friend Piotr Malachowski (well know to the throwing society) and the youngster Damian Kamiński, who starts training with us from this year on (PB 58,17m/ 190′ 10″, 21 years old). There are also some young talented athletes which train with us from time to time (training camps).
From November I see my coach basically everyday. My coach is Witold Suski, coach of Piotr Małachowski, Wioletta Potępa (PB 66,01, 216′ 7″European Junior Champion), Andrzej Krawczyk (European Junior Champion, European U23 Champion) and the coach of many other athletes with national and international success.
What weight lifting exercises will you do?
Snatch, snatch pulls, squat, half-squat, bench press, incline bench and many other supplementary exercises using machines, bars, dumbbells etc.
Are you going to try anything new this off-season? If so, what?
I want to do more drills and focus more on the technique. I will try to implement some new exercises and maybe some TRX stability training.
What will you do to relax?
Sauna, massage, kriotherapy, hydrotherapy are good from time to time to stay healthy and feel fresh. I will also enjoy meeting with friends, going out, reading books, watching movies and many other leisure time activities to keep my mind away from sport from time to time.
When do you plan to compete again?
I usually start to compete in May, Shanghai Diamond League is a possible option.
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