Improve Lower Body Imbalances With Miami Volleyball

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The anterior tibialis is the large muscle that runs down your shin. It helps stabilize your ankle when your foot hits the ground. The posterior tibialis comes from behind the shin to stabilize your lower leg and help you flex your foot from the ankle. The gastroc-soleus is the group of calf muscles that helps you point your toes.

When you feel tightness in your ankles, it's usually because one of those muscles is weak or overactive, according to Mac Calloway, strength coach for the University of Miami volleyball team. Combine the elements of the game [jumping, digging and constantly changing direction] with these types of muscular imbalances, and you're bound for an injury-laden season.

Calloway, along with athletic trainer Priscilla Dobbs, tests the 'Canes' hip and ankle mobility and stability before moving them to a customized strength and flexibility program. But, since you're not in Miami with Calloway, he provides an off-season routine you can perform twice a week to keep your legs and ankles strong and stretchy.

Inhibit

Self-Myofascial Release exercises apply concentrated pressure on deep connective tissues that surround your muscles. These typically involve foam-rolling movements in which you use your bodyweight to create pressure to help relieve muscle soreness.

Inhibit Sets Duration Notes
Outside of lower leg 1 30 seconds Hold on most tender area
Outside of calf muscle 1 30 seconds Hold on most tender area
IT Band (outside of thigh) 1 30 seconds Hold on most tender area

Lengthen

The most common lengthening technique involves static stretching, which improves functional flexibility. Bring each stretch to a point of tension and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Lengthen Sets Duration
Three-Way Calf 1 each way 20-30 seconds
IT Band (outside of thigh) 3 20-30 seconds
Outside hamstring 3 20-30 seconds

Activate

These are isolated strengthening exercises that involve a movement, an isometric hold and an eccentric release.

Activate Sets Reps Notes
Shin 2 12 2-second hold; 4-second release
Glutes (Medius/Maximus) 2 12 2-second hold; 4-second release
Inside of calf muscle 2 12 2-second hold; 4-second release

Integrate

The strengthening phase of the plan involves dynamic movements performed in a slow, controlled manner. This is key to eliminating muscle imbalances.

Integrate Sets Reps Notes
Ball Squat 2 15 Perform in a slow, controlled manner
Single-Leg Medial Calf Raise 2 15 Perform in a slow, controlled manner
Single-Leg Balance Reach 2 15 Perform in a slow, controlled manner

 

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: LOWER BODY | STRETCHING | VOLLEYBALL | COACH | MOBILITY | INJURY | TRAINER | STABILIZE | MUSCLE SORENESS | MYOFASCIAL RELEASE | ATHLETIC TRAINER | IT BAND | UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI