No joint in the body has a greater range of motion than the shoulder, which is a blessing because it allows you to perform all necessary volleyball moves—serving, digging, setting and hitting. But it’s also a curse, as it opens the door to tons of potential injuries.
According to Jay Zemliak, strength and conditioning coach for Pepperdine University’s volleyball teams, working the shoulder through its full range provides a strong block against injury. “This exercise may not be as fun as pulling off a big Bench Press or Power Clean, but it is essential,” Zemliak says. “Doing it regularly will not only keep you from being injured, it will also improve your performance, which a lot of athletes don’t realize.”
Zemliak prescribes the Alternating Dumbbell Press with Elevation 2-3 times a week to keep your shoulders injury-free and ready for action.
Alternating Dumbbell Press with Elevation
• Lie on bench with dumbbell in each hand
• Keep one dumbbell at your chest, and press opposite dumbbell until arm is fully extended
• Continue pushing on dumbbell until shoulder lifts off bench as far as possible
• Return dumbbell to starting position; repeat with opposite arm
• Perform 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Coaching Point: If you’re training for maximum strength, perform a bench press exercise first, then complete 2 sets of 10-15 reps of this exercise with a slightly lighter weight. This will strengthen all the muscles around the shoulder blades by working the full range of motion.