Male shot putter holding shot

How Heavy Are Olympic Shot Put Balls? (More Than You Think)

You may have seen a Shot Put event during the Olympic games. If you haven’t, it’s quite an experience to witness.

It’s quite impressive to see someone throwing a very heavy ball as far as possible.

But have you ever wondered just how heavy these shot put balls are?

In this article, we’ll show you the weight of shot put balls and help you understand how the weight of these balls can impact the game.

How Heavy Are Olympic Shot Put Balls?

The weight of a shot put ball is standardized for international competitions, including the Olympics and World Championships.

The weight of a shot put ball varies depending on the competition and gender.

For men’s competitions, the shot put ball typically weighs 7.26 kilograms (16 pounds), and for women’s competitions, the weight is 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds).

Female athlete preparing to throw shot put ball in stadium

What is shot put?

During the olympics, there are 4 track and field throwing events. Shot put is one of them. The objective is to throw a ball as far as possible down the field.

The “shot” is the act of throwing the ball. The “put” is the ball.

Of course, there are a few rules to the sport of shot put. Not only are there weight and size limitations for the ball, but there are other rules that must be followed which includes:

  • The shot must not fall below the line of the athlete’s shoulders. It is placed at the neck.
  • Competitors must take their throw from inside a circular area with a 7-foot diameter, known as the “shot circle.”
  • The athlete must not touch the top of the toe-board during their put or leave the circle before the ball has landed.
  • The shot must land within a designated sector that fans outward from the circle.
  • The furthest distance wins after a certain number of shots.
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The sport of shot put requires the athlete to combine strength, technique, and speed to be successful.

A vector illustration of shot putter in a shot put competition for sport competition series

How big are shot put balls?

The size of a shot put ball can vary in diameter between 110 – 130 mm (4.3 – 5.1 inches) for men and 95 – 110 mm (3.7 – 4.3 inches) for women.

What is a shot put ball made of?

Depending on the level of competition, a shot put ball can be made out of a variety of materials.

Typically they are made out of brass or stainless steel used during professional competitions like the olympics. For training and lower level competition, shot put balls are made out of iron.

For indoor competitions, the ball can be made with a thinner metal shell then filled with lead to achieve the required weight.

Shot put balls are often painted or polished a variety of colors.

A regular athletics shotput ball on an isolated white studio background

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What is the weight of youth shot put?

The weight of a shot put for youth depends on age and gender.

Boys:

  • Ages 12 and under: 2 kg (4.4 lbs)
  • Ages 13-14: 4 kg (8.8 lbs)
  • Ages 15-16: 5 kg (11 lbs)
  • Ages 17-18: 5.45 kg (12 lbs) or the standard adult weight of 7.26 kg (16 lbs) in some cases

Girls:

  • Ages 12 and under: 2 kg (4.4 lbs)
  • Ages 13-14: 3 kg (6.6 lbs)
  • Ages 15-16: 4 kg (8.8 lbs)
  • Ages 17-18: 4 kg (8.8 lbs)

Other things that weigh the same as a shot put ball

If you have never held a shot put before, it can be difficult to understand just how heavy they are. Here are a few items that weigh the same or close to it.

  • Bowling balls can weigh up to 16 pounds.
  • A large watermelon can weigh 16 pounds.
  • 2 Gallons of water weighs close to 16 pounds.
  • A newborn baby can weigh 8 pounds.
  • A can of paint can weigh 8 pounds.
  • An electric guitar can weigh 8 pounds.

Shot put world records

Here are the world records for shot put held in professional competition.

Male:

  • Ryan Crouser: Distance : 23.56 meters, May 27, 2003

Female:

  • Natalya Lisovskaya: Distance: 22.63 meters, June 7, 1987

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