Last week we went over why volleyball players should not only be lifting, but be lifting some heavy weights (progressively). Today we want to cover some of the more beneficial lifts to increase your vertical (‘cause what volleyball player doesn’t want to jump higher?) and get a stronger swing. I am going to give you my top 5 weight exercises for volleyball.
1. Trap Bar Deadlifts- probably the best overall bang for your buck this lift is perfect increasing your vertical. It teaches you that great starting position to “create” your blocking vertical. It also decreases lower back strain by utilizing the higher handles and neutral handle position. This is your main lift for strength, so it makes sense to do these with heavy weights for low reps most of the time. Once in awhile pepper (see what I did there?) in some lighter weight for high reps to get that crazy hamstring/glute pump!
2. Bulgarian or Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats - This is the best quad builder for increasing your vertical, plus it’s really safe for those that want to avoid spinal loading (by not having a bar on your shoulders). It also incorporates a single leg training which will help strengthen each leg individually, leading to less imbalance. We know as volleyball players your dominant leg (the one opposite your hitting arm) gets taxed more from the approach take-off. Strengthening your legs individually will lessen your chance of injuries that occur from a one-sided dominant sport. Since this is your main “quad” exercise it should be done with medium weight for lower reps. On occasion you can switch it up and do high rep sets to really burn those quads and glutes!
3. One arm Push Press- Keeping with the single side work from #2, this is an upper body focused single arm overhead press. Again, most volleyball players are one side dominant, leading to imbalances and injuries. Work each arm individually so you can’t cheat with your dominant arm (like you may do using a barbell). These can be done with high/medium weight and low/medium reps.
4. Face Pulls- Volleyball players are front side dominant and need to build lots of strength posteriorly to stay balanced. Face pulls are one of the best for strengthening the back of the shoulders and upper back. These can be done using a pulley/cable machine, TRX suspension straps, or with bands. High reps work great for this exercise. Done religiously they will keep those shoulders healthy for years of great swinging!
5. One Arm DB Rows- The old/new adage of strength coaches is “more pulling than pushing” so we are including another “pull”, the One Arm Row. This is one of the most classic exercises and is also great for volleyball players to strengthen that posterior. Coupled with face pulls you hit all the angles needed for strengthening the back of your shoulders. These can be done for heavy/low reps or light/high reps but make sure only one of pulling exercise is used for heavy/low reps to build a good base of strength. When wanting to switch it it up, it's best to use these for heavy/low reps and face pulls after for light/high reps.