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I have designed a workout that will assist you with improving your volleyball game. The strength training portion of the workout will enable you to jump higher, while the cardiovascular portion of the workout will enable you to maintain your energy near the end of those grueling matches. Try this workout and you will be on your way to winning that first place trophy.
Warm Up: 5-10 minutes of low intensity aerobic exercise such as walking, biking, or jogging until you break a light sweat.
Strength Training: Perform each movement slowly while keeping the weight under control. For each exercise, perform 2 sets of 12 repetitions. Perform strength training activities after volleyball practices or games.(See Maria for your specific exercises). Allow 48-72 hours between strength training sessions. Strength training workouts should be performed 2-3 days per week.
Cardiovascular training: To significantly improve your cardiovascular endurance, consider the following information. Cardiovascular exercise should be performed 3-7 days per week for 20-60 minutes. Your heart rate should be between 50-85 percent of your predicted maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. Cardiovascular activities are rhythmical, repetitive, continuous, and involve large muscle groups. Biking, running, swimming, stair climbing, and cross country skiing are all examples of cardiovascular activities.
Plyometric training: Choose 2 plyometric exercises and do them every other day. Flexibility training: Incorporate stretching into your routine during each workout. Stretch after a warm-up or at the end of your workout when muscles are warm.Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and do not bounce while stretching.Repeat each stretch 3-5 times for all major muscle groups. Your fitness level will improve during the initial 4-6 weeks. After this improvement phase, you may add additional sets and exercises to your strength training routine.
Flexibility is essential if you’re going to achieve the kind of positions required to make big plays in a strenuous game. Most younger players spend a lot more time in the weight room than they do stretching, but if you’re all power and no flexibility, you can get micro-tears in your muscle fibers when you reach for a ball. And since your muscles cross your joints, your joints won’t have the range of motion you need to get to all those hard-to-reach shots. Here are some of my favorite stretches for volleyball. Each of these exercises will help you perform your volleyball skills at a higher level.
Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage. You should do these stretches every time you play. One characteristic shared by all great volleyball players is that they are limber enough to do what it takes to get to the ball.
The pretzel stretch This stretch is an extremely important one for volleyball players because everything you do in this sport puts strain on the back of your thighs, your glutes and your butt. Squatting, lunging, digging – all of these things effect this area of the body. Lie on your back with your head relaxed on ground. Cross your ankle over the opposite knee, then bend the bottom knee up until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh that is on top.
Hip Flexor stretch Lunging for short shots is another common play that can cause you pain if you’re not limber. For this stretch, bend your forward leg, put your hands on your knees or on the ground and lean forward. Don’t arch your back, and don’t push yourself to the point of pain. The more flexible you get, the more you’ll be able to lean forward, but you shouldn’t overdo it when you first start out.
Hamstring Stretch sitting on heels. The hamstring muscle gets a big-time workout from volleyball, particularly when you’re scrambling for a ball. If you don’t have flexibility in your hamstring or in the back of your thigh muscle, you may cramp when you move quickly for a ball. To do the hamstring stretch properly, don’t try to press your nose toward your knee. People do that all the time, and it’s a really bad habit. Instead, keep your back straight, put your hands on the knee of your extended leg and push forward a little bit, just until you can feel it in the back of your thigh. Once you feel it, stop.
Neck Stretch When you’re jumping up and pounding a volleyball, a lot of strain and tightness builds up in the back of the neck.
Part of the reason for this tightness is that you’re looking up to keep your eye on the ball as you track the set. Another reason is that, for any jump, you use your upper shoulder and neck muscles to get height. If you don’t keep this area loose, it’ll be tougher for you to sky.
Here’s a stretch that will keep your neck loose during a match. Grab your wrist and pull down on one arm. As you stretch, lean your head in the opposite direction of the arm being pulled. (In other words, if you’re pulling your right arm, tilt your head to the left.) Then, bend your head forward gradually. If you feel a slight pull behind your neck, you’re doing it right.
The Quad Stretch If you expect to get up to your maximum jumping height, you don’t want tight quads. Here is a great quad stretch. Notice how he’s keeping his back straight and his knee in line with his hip while pulling his back foot toward his body. When doing this exercise, never arch your back. That’ll do you more harm than good.
Groin Stretch To get a better angle on the ball for a pass, you end up leaning sideways in a way that puts a lot of stress on the inner thigh muscle. To avoid injuries when making plays like this, stretch from a sitting position, joining your feet at the front, pointing your knees outward and pushing gently downward. Again, watch your back posture. Never Slouch.
Plyometrics is one of the best ways if not the best way to improve power which will improve your vertical leap. Let’s first look at what is power. Power is similar to strength except you are adding the time factor. Therefore the relation of strength and speed is what we are talking about when we talk about power. A person who can perform a specific resistance movement, such as jumping, etc., the fastest would be said to have more power in that movement. So what we are looking at is not just the contraction of the muscle, but how fast will it contract. It has been shown that a muscle will contract the fastest when it has been loaded. This is why you should be able to jump higher if you crouch down then immediately jump up than if you started in the crouch. So if this is the best way to perform a powerful movement lets practice these movements. This practice is called plyometrics and has been shown in study after study to decrease the time it takes for the muscles to contract, resulting in more power.
Plyometric Safety Tips
While plyometric will increase your vertical jump, form has quite a bit to do also. Try to crouch to a point where your knees reach a 90 degree angle. A good arm swing will easily add inches. By throwing your arms up as you jump you are decreasing the weight that you have to push off the ground and the inertia of your arms going up will help pull the rest of your body up. Also the faster you are moving before the jump, the higher you can jump. You can transfer this horizontal speed to vertical speed with the proper form. This is why high jumpers get a running start to jump much higher than they could standing still.
When doing jumping plyometrics, be sure to land on the balls of your feet without too much knee flexion and spend as little time as possible in contact with the ground.
Limit the number of jumps based on the ability to maintain good form.
Work and jump only on good surfaces. Avoid concrete floors.
Perform jumps with feet forward and knees and thumbs up. Land softly on the balls of your feet.
Listen…did you hear your feet as you land? Next time try to land more quietly.
Perform exercises at a controlled pace. Use pure muscle strength, not momentum.
Keep in mind that these exercises are strenuous. Be sure to rest two or three days between each workout. If you notice pain in your back, knees or ankles during or after, stop doing plyometrics and consult your trainer.
As for number of sets, try 1 for the first week, 2 for the second and from there increase as you feel necessary.
Remember, that as you jump, explode upward. Most people have said jumping is “pulling” upward rather than “pushing” downward.
There are an infinite number of plyometric exercises to increase vertical leap but here are a few good ones.
Jump rope (150-200 reps) This is a great warmup.
Star Jumps:From a squatted down position, jump up taking your hands and legs up and out to the side. When you land, make sure you land on both feet together, softly, lowering down back into the squat position, remembering not to allow your knees to pass over your toes.
Two foot ankle hop (low intensity) – keeping your feet together and remaining in one place hop up and down using only your ankles and calves. Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land.
Rim Jumps (medium intensity) – Stand under a basketball rim. Jump up touching the rim (or net or whatever) with alternate hands. Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land.
Blocking jumps (10-12 reps)
This consists of finding an open area and taking two side steps to the right/left and exploding upwards while reaching over the “net” with both hands (in other words, you’re blocking). This can also be done with a three step routine.
Standing jumps (until failure)
This is finding a point (the top of a net or a basketball rim) and jumping to touch it. Don’t take any steps, explode upwards and reach with both hands. As soon as your feet hit the ground explode back upwards. Time on the ground should be minimal. Try doing this until you can’t reach your target anymore.
Depth jumps (10-12 reps)
Stand on a step that is about 20″-24″ high. Step off, land with both feet simultaneously and explode upwards reaching with both hands. Time on the ground should again be minimal. The height of the box can be adjusted through the program.
Jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
Here one stands about a foot away from the step (facing the step), jumps on to the step, quickly steps off, and explodes upward from the ground. This one can tire you out pretty quickly.
Side jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
This is similar to jumping on the box then stepping off. Here stand faced perpendicular with the box, jump sideways onto the box and jump off.
Attacks (10-12 reps) Here, just go through you’re attacking motion (R-L-RL for right handers) from the right and left sides and even the middle of the court. Make sure you explode each time and try to reach higher than your previous jump (ha-ha).
High knee tuck jumps As you jump, tuck your knees up to your chest bring your heels to your rear end. Do it quickly!!
Lateral box jumps (Stand next to a box between 12 and 18 inches high, start on the left side of the floor and jump back and forth over it in a skiing-like motion.)
Weighted ball chest passes (If you’re less advanced, work with four-pound ball. More experienced athletes can use heavier balls. Stand about 10 feet away from your partner and toss back and forth. Catch the ball, absorb some of its impact and then release it quickly.)
Good plyometric exercises for increasing speed
While all of the above exercises will also increase your speed (leg speed), these are many others that just focus more on movement. Here are some examples:
Zig Zags (medium intensity) run an elastic cord about a foot off the ground. While on one foot hop back and forth over the rope. Repeat with other foot.
Side to side ankle hops– Same as regular ankle hops (see above) but instead of remaining in place you jump 2 to 3 feet side to side.
Sprints. Sprints are plyometrics since the force of your body coming down loads the hamstring.