Strength and plyometric drills with Penn State volleyball | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Strength and plyometric drills with Penn State volleyball

January 1, 2006 | Featured in the January 2006 Issue

Must See Volleyball Videos

13 plyometric drills to take your volleyball game to new heights

By: Chad Zimmerman

Have you ever heard an athlete say, ‘Man, I jump too high for this game,’ or ‘I wish my vert was a few inches shorter’? Yeah, me neither.

It doesn’t happen, especially in volleyball—a sport where wins are determined by a team’s aerial power. Those who jump the highest, hit the hardest and block the most play the best. And, whether you’re already jumping through the roof or still have countless inches to go, you can always improve your vert.

To lend a coaching hand, we called in Chip Harrison, head strength and conditioning coach for Penn State University. Harrison’s plyometric-based routine—a component of his total training program—has helped the Nittany Lions women’s volleyball team finish in the top three nationwide for two consecutive seasons.

Harrison provides 13 sample plyo drills to help you maximize your leap. Each drill develops a different aspect of your jumping ability. For optimal results, perform jump training only one or two days a week in the off-season. More than twice a week can lead to injury from overtraining.

THE BREAKDOWN

Jump training rookies should begin with just 20-30 jumps in a single training session. Once your body adjusts to the training and you reach a point where your legs aren’t sore after a workout, add more jumps per session. Advanced training might include up to three drills and 100-150 jumps.

When you perform jump training two times a week, reduce the number of jumps in each session to avoid overtraining.

HARRISON’S KEY

“Your landing is always a key point in jump training. Not only do you need to land balanced, but you have to cushion the impact.”

CONSISTENCY AND FOUNDATION

“Be consistent with your training. Getting in a couple of days a week year round will go a long way toward making you a better athlete. A lot of athletes get to their junior or senior year and realize they should be—and should’ve been—training harder. At that point in your career, it’s hard to catch up.

“Being involved and working on your physical foundation is critical. You’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be fit and you’ve got to be flexible to perform. When athletes develop a good foundation, they come in here way ahead of the curve.”

VOLLEYBALL JUMP TRAINING

Box Jumps

• Start with both feet together

• Jump on top of box or other secure/elevated platform

• Land softly and balanced

• Step down from elevation to starting position

• Repeat for 10-15 jumps

• Repeat the set up to 3 more times.

Coaching Point: Set the elevation height of the box or platform so that completing the prescribed number of jumps is challenging.

Single-Leg Box Jumps

• Same as Box Jumps but off one leg

• Adjust elevation height accordingly

• Perform 5-10 jumps for each leg

Harrison’s take: “We like box jumps because you land higher than where you take off, so there isn’t a lot of impact. Reduced impact allows for more jumps per session with less recovery time.

“With box jumps, we have each athlete jump as high as she can—regardless of her height, jumping ability or the height of the box. Jump like you’re jumping over something, and then land softly.”

Stadium/Stair Hops

• Find a series of stairs with about 50 steps

• Hop two-footed up all stairs

• Hop 1, 2 or 3 stairs at a time

• Repeat up to 3 times

Coaching Point: When you’re hopping with both feet, hop two steps the whole way, or one step the whole way. Don’t mix it up in a single pass.

Single-Leg Stadium/Stair Hops

• Same as Stadium/Stair Hops

• Hop off one foot

• Complete 10-20 hops each foot

Harrison’s take: “This drill mixes it up a little bit, because you’re dealing with locomotion instead of jumping in place or onto a box. You’re actually traveling, so you need to maintain balance, land well and be in a specific place when you jump and land. The movements involve a kinesthetic awareness and proprioception.”

Lunge/Scissor Jumps

• Start in standard lunge position with hands on hips

• Bend legs and lower hips until back knee almost touches floor

• Jump as high as possible and scissor legs

• Land with legs in opposite position: front leg switched to back

• Repeat for 15-20 jumps

• Repeat set up to 3 more times

Lunge/Scissor Jumps (hands on head)

• Same as Lunge/Scissor Jumps, with hands placed on head

Lunge/Scissor Jumps (swing arms)

• Same as Lunge/Scissor Jumps, swinging arms during jumps

Harrison’s take: “There’s a teaching process to this drill. Start with your hands on your hips and try to get as much as you can out of your lower body. Focus on getting deep—but not too deep—in the lunge, and getting as high as you can during the jump. As you get more comfortable, progress to placing your hands on your head and then using your arms to propel yourself upward during the jump.”

Broad Jumps

• Stand in gymnasium or long hallway

• Broad jump off both feet

• Repeat for 15-20 jumps

• Cover as much distance as possible with each jump

• Repeat set up to 3 more times

Broad Jumps with Single-Leg Landing

• Same as Broad Jumps, but land on one foot

• Repeat 5-6 times for each foot

Single-Leg Broad Jump and Landing

• Same as Broad Jumps, but jump off and land on one foot

• Repeat 5-6 times for each foot

Coaching Point: Initially, focus on a good broad jump, proper landing and then reloading for another jump. Once you master the jump and landing, eliminate the reload and jump immediately after you land: hit and go. Once you are at that point, cut down the number of jumps.

Harrison’s take: “The single-leg landing adds an eccentric component to the drill. You should be thinking about how well you’re landing and whether you’re balanced and controlled.”

STACK Says: Eccentric means that a muscle flexes and lengthens simultaneously. An example of eccentric movement is a jump landing. Your hips dip to cushion the landing, which causes your hamstrings and glutes to lengthen and flex so you don’t crumble to the ground.

Max Jumps

• Choose target on wall or backboard

• Jump to target height 10-15 times

• Repeat set up to 2 more times

Coaching Point: Mark your jump by putting chalk on your hand and touching the wall at the top of your jump. This provides a new target for each jump.

Harrison’s take: “Because you’re not jumping onto or off something, this is a more natural kind of jump. You’re just jumping straight up and doing the best you can. Showing a girl where her vertical used to be, and then giving her a new target helps her jump to new heights.”

Volleyball Jumps

• Choose one type of volleyball jump (approach, block, lateral block, etc.)

• Perform jump 15-20 times

• Repeat set up to 3 more times

Volleyball Combination Jumps

• Same as Volleyball Jumps, but perform combination of jumps in series

Harrison’s take: “These jumps are most applicable to the game. You’re won’t be successful at volleyball if you don’t practice your volleyball jumps at least once a week. Your max vertical jump can go up two inches, but if you jump at the wrong time, in the wrong place or the wrong way, it doesn’t do you any good—you’re two inches higher in the wrong place.”

Related Exercises

Box Jumps
Broad Jumps
Broad Jumps with Single-Leg Landing
Lunge/Scissor Jumps
Lunge/Scissor Jumps (hands on head)
Lunge/Scissor Jumps (swing arms)
Max Jumps
Single-Leg Box Jumps
Single-Leg Broad Jump and Landing Single-Leg Stadium/Stair Hops Stadium/Stair Hops Volleyball Combination Jumps Volleyball Jumps
Chad Zimmerman
- Chad Zimmerman is the co-founder of STACK as well as its President. He earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University where he...
Chad Zimmerman
- Chad Zimmerman is the co-founder of STACK as well as its President. He earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University where he...
Must See
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,285,230
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 8,045,527
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 25,271,551

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,672
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,880
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,427
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,006,048
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,635
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,529
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,176,187

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Two Full-Body Combo Muscle-Building Exercises for Off-Season or In-Season Workouts By Jim Carpentier, CSCS Full-body workouts? Athletes (and...

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Todd Durkin

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth