Volleyball is a fast-paced, dynamic sport. Players execute complex movements in every plane of motion, reaching extreme positions on the court. In a sport that demands that kind of athleticism, a volleyball-specific strength and conditioning program is essential to maximizing power while building functional strength. For volleyball, athletes will want to focus on quickness, hitting power, and jumping and landing mechanics. While hitting focuses more on upper body and core, jumping is mainly lower body; this combination requires power through the entire kinetic chain for success, especially at the elite level.

Progressive Development
Early training is important for teaching volleyball athletes the correct technique in basic movements and preparing a foundation of functional strength that supports volleyball-specific movements. By starting with bodyweight exercises, young volleyball athletes can develop excellent strength-to-weight ratio and learn to control their own weight in all planes of motion, which will improve their on-court performance. For example, a novice volleyball player should learn how to perform a bodyweight squat with perfect form, in conjunction with proper landing mechanics, which will help develop the necessary relative strength to support the ballistic nature of the sport.

Developing Functional Strength
Developing functional strength is a major component of training for sports like volleyball that involve a combination of high impact and high repetition movements. To prepare the body for such athletic demand, volleyball-specific programs should emphasize balance exercises, core stability, and landing drills, to name a few. Exercises that mimic common movements in practice are also effective ways to strengthen muscles outside the field of play. Exercises that target single leg stability and landing mechanics develop proper form and work to counter typical volleyball weaknesses such as suboptimal landing technique, lack of stability in the ankle, knees, and hips. With customized strength training, athletes can focus on developing stabilizer muscles for hard landings, boost the power of their jumps, and increase their range of motion to safely reach extreme positions in the course of play.

Here are 5 exercises to help you maximize power for volleyball:

1. Goblet Squats
Level: All
Equipment: Body Weight

2. 1-Leg Band Anterior Reach
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Equipment: Bands

3. Altitude Drop
Level: All
Equipment: Body Weight
Movement Notes: Working on landing mechanics. For beginners use a 6″ to 12″ box to step off. For Intermediate athletes use a 12″ to 18″ box. For Advanced athletes start at 18″ and move up relative to experience and progression.

4. Side V-Ups
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Equipment: Body Weight

5. MB Throwdowns
Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Equipment: Medball

Through the BridgeAthletic platform, athletes and coaches can document progress with a baseline assessment and tracked program, then incrementally ramp up their strength training as they adapt to the program and exercises. Each exercise includes an HD video, still images, and specific cues on how to execute that movement. With tracked athletic development, the training programs recalibrate to continue challenging the athlete, informing coaches when their athletes are ready for the next increase in complexity.

About the Author

BridgeAthletic builds high-performance training tools for coaches and athletes who compete at the highest levels. The integrated BridgeAthletic platform leverages the power of technology to revolutionize the way coaches create, deliver, and track athlete progress. With customized training programs delivered directly to their smart phone or tablet, athletes train smarter, power through plateaus, and perform better come game time.

Volleyball-specific training plans for clubs and individuals