The sport of volleyball is explosive in almost every aspect of play. Whether referring to the spike approach, blocking, jump setting or serving, being powerful and explosive is an advantage in every facet. It’s for this reason that it’s vital volleyball players partake in a strength and conditioning program with an emphasis on developing these areas. As a former collegiate volleyball player, it was this type of training which helped me take my game to the next level.
Just how do you develop power or what types of exercises are most beneficial, you may ask. Current research suggests a program involving powerlifting, Olympic lifting, and plyometrics is the best approach to improve your vertical jump and volleyball performance.
Powerlifting movements, specifically squatting and deadlifting, are vital components to a volleyball strength and conditioning program. These exercises focus on developing a base of strength to help perform more complex movements.
The back squat is a great functional exercise which will help increase an athlete’s vertical by strengthening the muscles of the lower body, specifically the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Squats aid in injury prevention by promoting stabilization, balance and mobility, as well.
Olympic lifting, such as the snatch and clean variations, pushes an athlete to develop muscular coordination, power and mobility. Just as in volleyball, athletes perform these exercise for minimal repetitions as stress should be placed on form and power each time it is performed.
The clean and jerk is an Olympic lift with proven benefits of increasing vertical jump and overall explosiveness/power. This exercise mimics the extension and intensity of jumping, while adding extra weight to increase strength during the movement.
Plyometrics, for both upper and lower body, are core components of a volleyball player’s program. These exercises require maximal muscular force, utilizing mainly body-weight, in short intervals of time to help increase force production. These exercises are less complex in comparison to Olympic lifting, which allows implementation into younger and more novice athlete’s training programs.
This example photo shows direct correlation to movement on the court as the athlete approaches the box with proper volleyball hitting form. The athlete then explodes upward, as if hitting at the net, and lands on top of the box in an athletic stance. Also shown, the lateral jump, pushes an athlete to develop quickness and explosiveness when having to move in multiple directions on the court. In volleyball, being able to jump in all directions repeatedly, and do so explosively each time, in important. These plyometric drills, along with others should be implemented into a volleyball training program to increase force and quick transitions.
Implementing these exercises, along with many others, is vital to increasing vertical jump and overall performance on the court. For more information or if you’re interesting in improving your athletic performance, contact me or your local FAST facility to learn more about our sports performance training programs.