Feature: Volleyball Strength Training Program

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As you read through the previous articles in this series of strength training for volleyball players, you will observe that a lot of theory has been covered, but it hasn’t been compiled into a usable format.  We have discussed jumping higher, maintaining healthy shoulders, proper movement, becoming more durable, and why you should strength train in the first place. This article will serve as a template to give some direction on how to put these things into practice.

Before we present how a volleyball program should be constructed, we should first address principles that basically all good programs share, just as an engineer must learn the principles of physics prior to learning the construction of a bridge. Effective programs must include the following principles:

Balance- more specifically, there must be structural balance in the program so that opposing muscle groups receive appropriate attention, since strength differences on opposing sides of a joint can create increased injury risks, postural problems, and reduced performance.

Proper order- exercises should be completed, except for special circumstances in the following sequence:

Warm-Up: Should include self-myofascial release, as well as full body movements at a wide range of joints and in all movement planes, not just running or the bike.

Power: explosive movements, including plyometrics, should be done after the warm-up but prior to the rest of the lift.

Full-body, multijoint exercises: these exercises will be done with the most weight, are demanding on the whole body, and should be done after power so they don’t decrease power production, but before muscles are fatigued through isolation-type exercises.

Isolation exercises: these exercises should be done last so as not to hinder other exercises and can still exhaust muscles if necessary. These exercises should be used sparingly, as they are the least crucial for volleyball performance.

Cool Down: should again consist of appropriate cool down, foam rolling, and proper recovery nutrients (post workout shake).

Appropriate Volume and Rest Intervals- this varies throughout the different stages of the volleyball season, but sets and reps should be designed to elicit a specific training effect, and rest intervals should be chosen with the same goal in mind. Random selection simply won’t work.

Apart from these principles, volleyball specific programs will vary depending on the time of year, with higher volumes during the off season designed for increased strength and power gains, with shorter, more moderate programs during the heavy parts of the season designed for injury prevention and strength maintenance. Some specific things most volleyball programs should include are:

All that being said, what follows is an example of what a two-day split program may include during an in-season program. Italics demonstrate the category of the exercise, with an example or two listed to demonstrate the program in practice.

Warm-Up:

  • Foam Roll- All tight areas with foam roller, lacrosse ball, etc.
  • Ankle mobility- Knee-to-wall ankle mobilization
  • Scapular stability- Wall slides
  • T-spine mobility- Quadruped external rotations
  • Glute activation- hip bridges/cook hip lifts
  • Squat mobilization- body weight squats
  • Sagittal plane mobility- walking lunges with overhead reach
  • Frontal plane mobility- lateral lunges w/ pivot

 

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This concludes our 6 part series on strength training for the volleyball athlete.  We hope you have enjoyed the previous articles and if nothing else it has made you re-think how you are training in the weight room.  Please let us know if there are specific topics that you would like us to write future articles on and as always you can contact us directly at www.coastalfitness.ca, or if you are in the Lower Mainland of B.C. feel free to drop by our brand new high performance training facility in Langley (#4 - 20011 96th Ave).