Volleyball is a popular sport throughout the world, and is played in many more countries than you can probably imagine. I play professionally and have seen the best and the worst of Volleyball conditioning all over the globe, and I can tell you that the level of strength and conditioning performed can vary greatly.
We’ll take a look at the basic important fitness components of Volleyball that you should start working at to help improve your game. Obviously it is a very multi dimensional sport that requires a lot of different components and technical abilities, however these few basic things are essential to
Strength is an important part of Volleyball conditioning and one that needs to be done in order to enhance your performance . Strength training for volleyballs essential because without it the other fitness components have no foundation. All over the world at professional and International levels strength training is used o increase the athletic ability of the players. Classic exercises like the Squat, deadliest and Leg press are all used to build up huge lower body power and enhance vertical jump and speed across the court. These large exercises are often supplemented by various single leg varieties to help reduce injury and give a different stimulus, stabilisation strength work, and other parts of the lower body to ensure good biomechanics and balance. Glute, calves, hamstrings etc. Strength/ power exercises such as the Clean and jerk and the Snatch are very popular for Volleyball because they have a great influence on the vertical jump. They are usually performed within the strength program once the player has a base level of strength. Upper body strength is important especially in spikers, and typically in a basic program there will be some sort of bench and pull exercises. The shoulder is used heavily in volleyball and it is not uncommon to see volleyballers at all levels doing strength work on the rotator cuff. A stronger rotator cuff and a more stable shoulder blade will more often than not lead to a reduce incidence of shoulder injuries. No program is the same and a there are a lot of differences between gender and levels when it comes to looking at programs, however the basic principle stands, get strong and improve your athletic performance.
When you watch a volleyball game you see power. Big hits, big blocks, huge jumps. You need to be able to create power and a lot of it for that matter. Before power comes strength, so in any program it is important that a lot of time is spent building up the strength needed in order to create a good power program safely and effectively. As I mentioned above, power cleans and snatches are traditionally used to build the power, and they have a great influence on vertical jump. Plyometrics are often always incorporated, which are exercises that work the stretch shortening cycle in your muscles and give you a greater reactivity. These type of exercises (like box jumps for example) are very effective and will often always result in a great vertical jump… however they have to be managed properly. I once went through a phase of plyometrics for about a month, extreme box jumps, way too high and way too often. I built my jump up for almost 10cm more in about one month, but I subsequently broke down. Training loads need to be managed and in such a high power impact sport, power training needs to be periodized and loaded well. You can’t be elite without it, but in a good program it will fit in with the other types of training you will be doing.
Speed across the court is essential for all positions. However speed is not necessary simple just running fast. In Volleyball there is a lot of change in direction, and many players are limited by their inability to change direction. It is very important to learn to take off, run quick over 10 m and change direction like a pro. You will greatly enhance your ability to arrive to a ball, which is a hugh component of every skill in Volleyball.
These are just the basics of Volleyball Conditioning, and strength training programs for Volleyball are often more complex as trainers try to cover rehabilitation, strength, recovery, power and ensure their players are up and ready for every week. We will talk more about the specifics of each component and look at some injuries that commonly arise in Volleyball.