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Fitness & Sports

Ways to Get in Shape For Volleyball

How one gets into volleyball shape is largely dictated by the level of play they are at and how often they play or train. That said, there are three primary elements to being in volleyball playing shape.

A good aerobic base

We don’t often think of volleyball as an aerobic activity, and justifiably so. It is a sport which features short bursts of high intensity action interspersed with break periods. That said, matches can last two hours or more, even under the rally scoring system which is supposed to limit that sort of thing (I once coached a match that went three hours). That means players need to have the conditioning required to play the final set as hard as the first one. This is doubly important for those who play in tournaments where there are multiple matches per day. Beach volleyball is a perfect example, especially when you add in the energy sapping elements of heat and sun and a challenging playing surface.

Strength and explosive power

Volleyball demands dynamic, explosive, powerful movements. This is aided by good strength and power training in the weight room. But it’s not all about being able to jump higher or hit harder – though obviously those things help quite a bit. There is also the injury prevention and general muscle balance side of a good weight training routine. Repetitive motion injuries are common in volleyball, but developing a good base of strength in both the primary and supporting muscles can help avoid them, or at least mitigate their effects.

Anaerobic conditioning

As noted above, volleyball is a sport which features lots of short, high intensity bursts of activity with rests in between. That means a player must be able to perform an activity at maximum ability, then be prepared to do it again, and again, and again. This comes from anaerobic conditioning. Well-structured practices can help to increase and/or sustain the players’ level of fitness in this regard, but sometimes that’s not enough and separate conditioning sessions need to be included in the overall training program.

If you’re a competitive athlete, or looking to become one, you’ll need to incorporate all three types of strength and conditioning work into your volleyball fitness program. If, however, you’re just an open gym player who would like to be able to perform at a higher level, you’ll probably see the most noticeable results from a good weight training routine.

John H Forman