Many athletes and teams have limited or no access to a weight room or simply do not emphasize weight training due to athlete age, size, and any number of factors. How, then, do athletes get their strength training without the amenities of a typical weight room? Let’s discuss all the equipment and tools you may need to execute proper strength training outside of the gym.
Much of introductory strength training involves the use of resistance aids, an athlete’s own bodyweight, and some basic free weights to progress through exercises. For resistance exercises, therabands and resistance bands can challenge the athlete to maintain form while keeping the band extended. Easily stretched bands can be used for injury prevention exercises for joints like the shoulder, knee, and hip. Below you will find the Resistance Band External Rotation. This is an excellent exercise to strength the rotator cuff muscles, which are important in shoulder stability and injury prevention.
Thicker bands should be used for strengthening larger muscle groups in both the upper and lower body. Get creative with anything you can securely fasten the band around, whether it is a tree, pole or your own body to create the element of resistance on your muscles. Below is an example of a full-body exercise that can be performed with just a band and your bodyweight. The Band Reverse Lunge to Overhead Press is a great lower-extremity strength and upper-extremity stability exercise that you can do just about anywhere.
USING YOUR BODYWEIGHT
Bodyweight strength training can be extremely useful if the athlete is sufficiently challenged. Using equipment like TRX straps, stability balls, and cushioned boxes, the athlete can improve whole body strength and stability. TRX straps are useful for various suspension exercises, including upper body rows, knee tucks, and pikes to name a few. Below is the TRX 3-Way Row, a simple exercise that can performed with three different grips to isolate separate muscle groups–all while performing the same movement!
Stability balls provide unstable surfaces that challenge athlete stability while performing exercises. The Stability Ball Decline Pushup is a variation of the classic bodyweight exercise, and is a great example of this.
Cushioned, stable boxes are used for box jumps and step-ups. Athletes should not progress to a higher box until they have demonstrated good technique on a lower one with a quiet landing. For example, Seated Box Jumps can be attempted after basic box jumps.
Free weights can be part of the strength training regime as long as the athletes learn basic techniques with their bodyweight beforehand. Both dumbbells (30lbs or lighter) and medicine balls are great assets to strength training. Medicine balls can be launched at a wall or to a partner to develop explosiveness, arm strength, and core strength. Below is the Medicine Ball Chest Pass, a dynamic chest strength and core stability exercise.
Free weights create greater resistance during squats, lunges, dead lifts and other lower body exercises and can be integrated into core training. Here is the Dumbbell Squat, which should only be performed once the bodyweight squat is mastered. This exercise will help further strengthen your lower-extremities and core as well as increase your flexibility.
Ultimately, learning strength exercises with free weights can be a great intermediate step prior to formal weight training. It will solidify the athlete’s technique before progressing to heavier loaded exercises down the road.
You can build the strength program you need with a limited amount of equipment if you get creative with each exercise. Challenge your stability, power, and flexibility by strength training outside of the weight room beginning with these three items:
- Resistance Bands
- Stability Balls
- Medicine Balls
Good luck & keep building! #BridgeBuilt
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.
BridgeAthletic is the Official Performance Training Technology of the JVA. With BridgeAthletic, volleyball clubs can get customized strength training programs to help your athletes train smarter and perform better. Contact email@example.com to get started.