Volleyball Exercises - Volleyball Conditioning Basics

Explore basic volleyball exercises to improve your game.

If you have spent some time on vacation or away from the court, you may need to start from square one when you return to the game. Following exercises help you to make the return. Beginners should also understand these following concepts as well.

What exercises are most effective to create real intensity on the court? There are a number of rules to abide by when selecting optimal volleyball exercises in preparation for the season:

Volleyball Exercises - 3 Most Important Concepts to Remember

1. The exercise must improve core strength

This means compound muscle motions only. If you are only moving one joint, you are isolating a muscle and not improving the power of your core. Stick to compound motions like squats, push press and power cleans rather than isolated exercises like curls or lateral raises.

An exercise that improves core strength should also require stability, so standing exercises should take automatic preference over seated or lying ones. In other words, skip the bench press and go for the push-ups, skip the lat pull downs and go for the pull-ups - whatever requires the most core stability and gives your body the least amount of support.

2. The exercise must imitate a motion critical to performance on the court

If you think that sitting down at a machine and doing leg curls isn’t a realistic imitation of what you would do in a volleyball game, you’re right. So stop doing it!

Instead, focus on squats, lateral lunges, french press and push-ups since they are more likely to prepare your body for necessary volleyball motions on the court such as: back, hip and leg extension in a jump or shifting weight to adjust position and pushing the arms forward for a powerful hit.

3. The exercise must utilize dynamic resistance

If you want to increase your strength, you have to increase your resistance. Volume of repetitions will assist in building endurance muscle, but that isn’t good enough for explosive power. You must be able to increase the resistance.

Medicine ball exercises are fine for this so long as each week, you are grabbing a heavier one than you did last week. Dumbbells are a fine choice for exercises such as lunges, rows and Bulgarian split squats, again assuming you increase the weight with each week or two. Bench dips are also a great option as you can place weight plates on your lap to increase the resistance.

Few Great Volleyball Exercises

Here are a few other great exercises that will improve your performance:

Medicine Ball Scoop and Toss:

Squat down, holding a medicine ball with both hands. As you squat back up, throw the medicine ball into the air and catch it upon its return. You can also throw it forward, against a wall, or back and forth with a partner.

This exercise improves core strength by strengthening the back, quadriceps and hips with the leg extension motion and imitates a bump in volleyball. You can apply dynamic resistance by grabbing a heavier medicine ball, so it meets all of our criteria for a good volleyball exercise.

Lateral Dumbbell Lunge:

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand straight with your legs together. Move your right leg out as far as you can and bend the knee with the toe pointed outwards slightly. Bring the leg back in and repeat the motion on the opposite side.
This exercise improves core stability by forcing you to control the weight of the dumbbells as your body shifts position. It imitates footwork critical to shifting position in a volleyball game and can increase resistance by using some heavier dumbbells, so it meets all the necessary criteria.

Step Up to Shoulder Press:

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand in front of a step that is just below knee level. Place your right foot on the step and push up without using your resting leg to push off the ground. Place your left leg on the step and lift the dumbbells up for a shoulder press. Lower back down and complete on the opposite side.
The stability in this exercise is great for training your core as you continuously elevate, which is critical for high jumps and spikes. The shoulder press imitates raising the arm for a powerful hit and the dumbbells can be increased to improve strength, so again, it meets all of our criteria for a good volleyball exercise.

Volleyball Exercises Conclusion

These are all good exercises to start. In addition, any serious volleyball player should be sure to integrate exercises like the deadlifts, barbell bent over rows, suicides, snatches, squat jumps and drop jumps into the routine to prepare for the season as well.

Just make sure any volleyball exercise you do imitates something you do on the court and strengthens a muscle you need for the game.

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