The jumping, bending backwards and twisting movements required in volleyball place enormous amounts of strain on the back, according to Bryan McCall, executive vice president and director of performance training at Integrated Athletic Development.
McCall, who churns out some of the best high school volleyball talent in Texas, says, “If you look at the way a lot of volleyball players’ backs are aligned, you’ll see some rounding, which comes from the amount of pressure that’s placed on the disc inside the vertebrae. It’s my job to provide exercises that make sure these low back injuries don’t occur, and then if they do, they’ve already built a strong base back there, which will help them recover more quickly.”
One exercise McCall prescribes is the Isometric Hyper Extension With Arm Swings, because, he says, “it’s going to help make their spine more erect and flat so they can stay injury-free and improve their all-around performance on the court.”
McCall recommends performing this exercise twice a week during the off-season, toward the end of your workout, to keep your core fresh for the movement prep, strength and conditioning portions of your workout.
Isometric Hyper Extension With Arm Swings
• Assume position on Hyper Extension Machine
• By contracting hamstrings and glutes, raise upper body until it forms a straight line parallel to floor
• Hold position and swing arms in sagittal [front and back] or frontal [left and right] plane for six seconds
• Lower with control
• Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps/Rest: 2×6 with 30-60 seconds rest
Coaching Points: Keep back flat and head in a neutral position// Make sure body is parallel to floor in top position // Keep coretight throughout movement // Maintain body position parallel to floorwhile swinging arms
McCall: Perform sagittal arm swings for the first three reps and frontal swings for the last three reps. Perform the arm swings employing motions used on the court to make the exercise sport-specific. It will help the athlete build stability in the low back when spiking, hitting or bumping.
For more information about McCall and his training, visit iadathletes.com.