Volleyball Conditioning
SUNDAY, JANUARY 25, 2009

by Eric Hand, MA, CMT


Beach volleyball is a very dynamic game that requires strength, agility, flexibility and power. If you want your body to be ready to respond for that first dive onto the sand or that first joust at the net, it is crucial that you are properly conditioned.

When you arrive at the beach, before you even touch a ball, I recommend you include a few dynamic warm-up exercises. A dynamic warm-up involves sport specific exercises that involve moving the body through slow and controlled ranges of motion. I know that it can be tempting to just “dive” in and start playing, however, a good warm-up can be completed in as little as five minutes. Think of this time as an investment to both reduce your risk of injury and prepare your body for the explosive demands that will be placed on it as soon as the first ball is served. A dynamic warm-up will also awaken your nervous system and help you focus on the upcoming game.

You should perform these movements to your own ability and do not attempt to match someone else’s strength or range of motion. Find your own edge and gradually work to improve it. This month we’ll focus on developing lower body strength and flexibility. Be sure to start at the appropriate level. If you perform these warm-ups regularly you should see improvement and be able to advance to the next level within a month.

Squat with arm extension (Beginner)

eric demonstrating ready positionEric in Squat Position

Stand with feet slightly turned out, shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Reach arms out to form a flat platform as if you were going to pass or dig a ball. Inhale deeply and slowly bend your knees to squat down. Think about sitting back and placing your weight on your heels. As you squat be sure to keep your chest high, upper and lower back arched and tight, gaze forward, and weight on your heels. Allow your knees to spread outward toward the toes. Be sure your knees do not move past your toes, however, and do not attempt to go deeper than a thighs parallel to the ground position. Complete the movement by exhaling slowly and pressing through your heels to return to a standing position. Repeat 8-12 times.

You should feel this movement in your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings, not in your knees or lower back. If flexibility is a problem try using a wider stance. When done properly the squat is a safe exercise and critical to developing speed and vertical jump. Injuries occur when athletes are rushed or not focused and forget to adhere to proper form and technique.

Net Duck (Intermediate)

Eric in Ready PositionEric in Squat Position

Stand perpendicular to the net, feet 6-12 inches apart, right shoulder next to the net. Reach arms out as if you were going to pass or dig a ball. Inhale deeply and step your right foot to the right as you slowly bend your knees to squat down underneath the net. Think about sitting back and placing your weight on your heels as you squat down. As you squat be sure to keep your chest high, upper and lower back arched and tight, gaze forward, and weight on your heels. As you squat be sure to keep your arms extended, chest high, gaze forward, , upper and lower back arched and weight on your heels. Complete the movement by exhaling and standing up on the other side of the net. Repeat, this time squatting under the net toward your left. As you squat underneath the net visualize getting low to dig a hard driven ball.

Lateral Squat with arm extension (Advanced)

Eric in Ready PositionEric in Squat Position

Stand on the left side line facing the net, feet shoulder width apart. Reach arms out as if you were going to pass or dig a ball. Inhale deeply and step your right foot several feet to the right as you slowly bend your knees and squat down and to your right. As you squat think about sitting back and placing your weight on your heels as you squat down. Be sure to keep your chest high, upper and lower back arched and tight, gaze forward, and weight on your heels. Visualize getting low and digging a hard driven ball as you squat. Complete the movement by exhaling and returning to a standing position. Repeat until you reach the right side line. Repeat by leading with your left foot and squatting to the left side line.

These exercises will help improve your lower body strength as well as the flexibility in your hips, knees, ankles and inner thigh.

Have a blast with these exercises this month and I welcome your questions and comments.

See you on the beach!

Eric Hand, MA , CMT
Exercise Physiologist
Fast Twitch Fitness

“We’re all athletes. Some of us are just farther along in our training.”


See Eric's blog at: http://fasttwitchfitness.blogspot.com/ for more great information.

 

 

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