Volleyball is a full-body workout. Your legs are always moving, and your arms are busy serving, blocking, hitting and digging. With so much repetitive motion game after game, the body takes a beating. Nevertheless, you still have to pump iron between matches in order to maintain the strength you built up in the off-season.
To do so, Duke University S+C coach Anne Tamporello prescribes in-season exercises that don't put a negative tax on the body. "These [drills] are a little less demanding," she says. "They're a little more forgiving, but at the same time they still build strength."
For a hint at how the Blue Devils maintained sufficient muscle to advance to the second round the 2008 NCAA Tournament, try these exercises from Tamporello.
Single-Arm Med Ball Push-Up
• Assume push-up position with one hand on med ball and other hand on floor
• Lower chest until it touches med ball
• Perform push-up until both arms are straight
• Repeat for specified reps, then switch med ball to opposite arm
Sets/Reps: 3; 5-8 each arm
Coaching Points: Touch the med ball to your chest on every rep // Keep your body tight and your back in a straight line // Go through a full range of motion // Maintain balance throughout the exercise // Begin on knees if you're unable to do standard push-up
Benefit: Works the shoulder in a lot of different areas to make sure that all the little muscles that tend to get injured don't, over the course of a season.
Assisted Hamstring Curls
• Begin in kneeling position with partner holding ankles
• Slowly lean forward until chest is close to ground
• Explode upward, using arms to push back to start position
• Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 3-4; 10-12
Coaching points: Have your partner hold your ankles as tightly as possible // Make sure your feet and ankles do not come off the ground // Avoid bending from the waist up // Maintain a straight line with your body from the knee up
Benefit: Works the hamstrings at both the knee and hip joint at the same time.
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