Not sure how to maintain your competitive edge… Here are the 8 best exercises to help target athleticism for Volleyball Players. Athletes are always looking to gain a competitive edge, for volleyball players it shouldn’t be any different. Just going to volleyball practice a couple times a week is not enough! One needs to dedicate themselves outside of practice to take their game to the next level. Players should be working on their skill work (digging, bumping, spiking…) and athleticism (jumping, running, hand eye coordination…).
Picture this, you made a volleyball team, congrats!
You are beyond excited and attend your first practice. You are a little nervous because you want to do well in front of your new teammates and coaches. Remember, you only get 1 first impression so make it count! 30 minutes into practice you realize most of your teammates have been playing for years and are a lot better than you. You see your teammates jumping out the gym and spiking the ball at ungodly speeds. You ask yourself, “what have I gotten myself into?”.
Don’t let this experience discourage you, but use it as motivation!
Use this as fuel to strive to become equal or even better than your teammates. Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. Like we said earlier, just showing up to volleyball practice a couple times a week is not enough. Don’t get us wrong, practice is great for learning and working on your game, but you need to invest time outside of practice as well.
Think of it like this, you go to class to learn from the teacher.
In those couple hours of class are you ready to take and ace a test? Probably not, right? You need to read the lesson plan, do the homework, maybe take a quiz to make sure you truly understand the subject prior to the test. Reading the lesson plan, doing the homework, taking a practice quiz usually requires time spent outside the classroom in order to be prepared to ace the test! Just like an athlete, you need to prepare yourself outside of practice to be ready for the games! That preparation is PERFORMANCE TRAINING!
What is performance training exactly?
Performance training is a structured workout regime that is geared to improve your athleticism related to your sport. Training for the proper adaptation is key! For example, if you are an explosive athlete like a volleyball player who does a lot of jumping, you wouldn’t train like a bodybuilder looking to bulk up. Instead, you will be doing more plyometrics, which are exercises looking to target power.
Here we have the 8 Best Exercises to Help Target Athleticism for Volleyball Players:
- Box Jump: The box jump is a great plyometric exercise for beginning athletes. Plyometrics means the ability to stretch and contract a muscle quickly, so think power and explosiveness. What is great about the box jump is that it mimics a motion volleyball players do…..jumping! This exercise will get athletes fired up to jump with maximal effort because everyone always wants to see how high they can get. The box will pose an an external motivator. What is beneficial about this exercise is that it is low impact on our joints because we are landing on top of a box making our landing height minimal, versus us doing a regular jump landing at a full height.
- VertiMax Squat Jump: VertiMax Squat Jump is an essential exercise to add to your training program because it targets the speed strength index on the force velocity curve. Think box jumps are a speed exercise on the force velocity curve because it is maximal velocity with minimal force (just your body weight). Now the VertiMax squat jump is a speed strength exercise because it provides banded resistance while allowing the athlete to perform at a near maximal velocity. It is important to train on all spectrums of the force velocity curve to fight through plateaus and to optimize the athletes power output.
- Hex Bar Deadlift: How does one jump higher? Jump mechanics and power development. The more weight (resistance) you can lift with your legs, the more muscle fiber recruitment you get. The more muscle fiber recruitment, the higher you can get on a regular body weight jump. Now the Hex Bar Deadlift is a great foundational lift to target strength! It targets strength in a body position we call athletic position, which is crucial.
Take a second and think what position volleyball players spend most of the game in? If you said athletic position or a quarter squat position you are right! Understanding the demands and movements in each sport is essential when trying to maximize one’s gains in the weight room.
- Front Squat: The front squat is a strength/hypertrophy exercise that will mainly target the quads, glutes, and core. Again, is it important to be strong so this exercise will be a lower body variation to target maximal strength on the force velocity curve. We would recommend to keep the repetitions 10 and below; sets 3-5 with 1-2 minutes rest in between each set.
- Romanian Deadlift:
The romainian deadlift is also a strength/hypertrophy exercise but this exercise will target more of our posterior side (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back). This is important for injury prevention and performance because every jump/landing starts with the posterior chain.
- Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat:
All the exercises I’ve named so far have been bilateral (two legged) exercises. The rear foot elevated split squat will be a great unilateral exercise to build strength/hypertrophy. It is essential to do single leg exercises to fight asymmetries. We don’t want asymmetries with in the body because if we have one leg stronger than the other that will lead to a higher injury rate. Balance is key!
- Depth Drop:
Along with high intensity training that will result in one being explosive and strong, a Volleyball player needs to work on functional exercises that will target injury prevention! A depth drop will teach athletes how to absorb force when they land. Volleyball being a jumping sport, landing correctly is crucial and often overlooked.
- Continuous Lateral Shuffle:
Last, but not least! The continuous lateral shuffle makes the list because volleyball players are in a shuffle motion a lot when playing defense. This exercise will help their change of direction as well as their anaerobic conditioning. Prescribe this exercise for 3-5 rounds, for 10-30 seconds at a time.