If you look at a volleyball player, you’ll notice that they have muscle. Not only in their upper body but also lower. Volleyball is a demanding sport that requires strength, power, and agility. I know that strength training is crucial for most sports, but it’s truly essential for volleyball players. Strength is the solid foundation that these athletes need to be able to jump, dive and change positions within seconds. If you’re not convinced, here are reasons why these athletes need volleyball strength training.
It’s a no-brainer why volleyball players need strength. They need the strength to produce force to block, spike and dig balls during a game. The more force they put into the ground the higher the player will jump. The more force you put into the ball, the faster it will go which increases your chances of a kill shot.
Strength in your muscles also helps injury prevention. The force of each landing transfers through your ankles, knees, hips, and back. Strong muscles are better able to absorb the shock than if you have weak ones. Also, the shoulders undergo high stress during each overhead spike or serve. As the should decelerate a hit, it places stress on the posterior shoulder, requiring complimentary strength to control this rapid speed.
Strength and power go hand in hand. Some argue that one is more necessary than others, but the bottom line is that both are important so the athlete should be trained overall. Power is sometimes referred to as a combination of strength and speed. Volleyball is a sport that requires athletes to have explosive power. They need to be agile on the court, but when the time comes they need to be in the air blocking, spiking or setting it up for their teammates. If you’ve ever seen the sport, a team spikes the ball with great force, making the opposing side dive quickly, but still making sure the ball goes where it needs to. They need to create force quickly and that is only possible through power.
In volleyball players, agility is a key component in being a great athlete. This sport requires explosive jumps and changes in direction. Jumping is important in this sport not only for blocking the ball, but also for spiking. The player must jump vertically to block and jump up to shoot the ball down over the net. It’s a lot of force on the ground to get oneself into the air and requires core stability. If you’re not in any of those positions, your feet need to be able to move quickly across the floor in any given direction. Think of it as playing Dance Dance Revolution, there’s a center spot to stand on and four arrows all going in different directions. You need to be able to move forward, backward, side to side and get the ball when it makes it over the net.
Here are a few strength, power, and agility exercises that we think will benefit all you volleyball players:
- Stand holding a kettlebell by the handle or horns to your chest with both hands.
- Your legs should be hips length apart and back is straight.
- Squat down between your knees (your arms should be between your legs).
- Repeat as needed.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
Quads, Glutes, Core
- Start with your back leg elevated on a bench or preferred object.
- Starting in a lunge position.
- Keep your legs hip length apart, your back leg/foot should not be directly behind the other leg.
- When bending your front knee make sure it does not move inward, it should be in a straight line.
- Have a nice tall posture.
- Lower yourself to the ground and slowly back up.
Dumbbell Row/ Bench Row
Rhomboid, Middle Trapezius, Triceps, Biceps, Rotator Cuff
- Get into a bent over position with your left knee on one end of a bench and left hand on the other.
- Your right foot should be off to the side of the bench, not right up against it. Keep your back flat, core braced, and shoulders down and back.
- In this position, pick up a dumbbell with your right hand and pull it in a straight line up towards the ceiling, keeping the elbow and arm close to your body and squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top.
- Repeat on this side for the desired amount of reps and then switch sides.
Glutes, Quads, Deltois, Trapzezius, Biceps, Triceps
- Grab a barbell.
- Put one end on the ground and grab at the end of the other side of the bar with your hands in a cupped position.
- While standing tall take a step back with your feet, your body should be leaning slightly forward.
- With the bar close to your neck and your feet shoulder-width apart, squat back at an angle by pushing your hips back as soon as you bend your knees.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades and keep your core tight.
- Lower yourself down until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
- Once you have reached the bottom, drive through your heels to push yourself up.
- Once you have just about reached the top, shift your weight to your toes and explode your hand forward.
- Your body should be fully extended and leaning slightly forward.
- Return the bar back to your chest and repeat.
Pectoralis, Rhomboids, Middle Trapezius, Biceps, Triceps
- Get on the ground as if you were laying on your stomach.
- Put your hands shoulder width apart with palms firmly planted on the ground.
- Your feet should be the same distance apart, but your toes should be the only thing touching the ground.
- Slowly lower your body to the ground keeping your back straight and not curved too low that it makes a U shape or too high that it looks like an upside down U.
Towel Reverse Lunge With Lateral Lunge
Glutes, Adductors, Quads, Core
- Grab a towel, piece of paper or take your shoe off and use your sock.
- Start with one foot on the towel, paper or sock.
- With the foot that is on the towel, slide it straight back while take a big step.
- Bend your back knee down (your front knee and back knee should look the same).
- Make sure your knee, shin and ankle should be in a straight line.
- Slide the towel forward by pushing through your front heel and return to the starting position.
- Now you are going to take that same foot that is on the towel and slide it to the side of your body.
- As soon as you start to slide it out, push your hips back until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings while keeping your weight on the foot that is not on the towel.
- The foot that is on the towel slides out directly to the side and should be completely straight.
- Slide the foot back by pushing through the heel that is not on the towel and return back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the same leg.
Core, Shoulders (rotator cuff)
- Prop yourself on your elbows with your feet shoulder length apart.
- Make sure your body is aligned and your core is engaged.
- Keep your back straight and hold this position.
DB Incline Row and Rear Delt Raise
Rhomboids, Middle Trapezius, Biceps, Triceps
- Lay down as tall as you can on a bench that is at 15 degrees.
- Start out with a lighter weight to get the hang out it.
- The DB’s should be directly under your shoulders and your shoulder blades need to be squeezed the whole time.
- Start with your hands in a neutral grip and raise your elbows up until they are past your body and get the last squeeze of the shoulder blades at the top.
- Lower your hands down until your elbows are almost fully extended.
- Turn your hands so that your palms are facing your feet.
- Raise your elbows up and out into a triangle position.
- Your elbow and forearm should be at 90 degrees.
- Lift your elbows past your body and get the last squeeze at the top.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Keep your feet hip-length apart.
- Drive through your heels and raise your hips up as far as possible.
Volleyball is a sport that requires its athletes to be well rounded. They need strength, power, agility. It’s an explosive sport that demands athletes to be quick yet powerful on the court. Strength training allows athletes to build muscle, creates a stronger core which will help them transition more efficiently. If you still don’t believe me here is a list of benefits that an athlete can have with strength training.
- Increased vertical jump
- More powerful approach
- Increased spike
- Faster steps
- Improved landing mechanics
- Improved core strength to stabilize your body on the ground and in the air
- Faster arm swing
If you know or are an athlete ready to take the next steps in your sport, find out if a personal trainer is right for you!