A strong core is essential for volleyball athletes. Our core actually covers more of our body than we think. The “core” is from the bottom of the chest to the top of the knees. It is the center or “core” of our body. It’s not just abs that makes up our core, even though that is a big part.
Here are 3 ways a strong core can elevate your volleyball game:
Improved control and strength
When you have a strong core, you have more control to serve, block, hit, pass, set, and dive. Imagine yourself serving, with a strong, stable core. Having the stability and strength in your core, will allow you to serve with more control, power and force. Blocking with a strong core, will allow you to jump and press over the net and not be pushed back, so you can stuff it! Setting with a strong core, will allow you to set the ball further with more control and precision. Diving with a strong core, will allow you to roll if needed and get back up fast! Having a strong core will significantly increase your performance across all positions.
The core directly affects your entire body. When you have poor core muscles, it can cause bad posture and an unstable back/spine. When we have a strong stabilized core, we are able to move with more intent and more stability. When we engage our core, it helps us to engage the rest of our body. The reason being engaged is so important, is because when we move and stretch while we are engaged, we protect our joints. When we are “soft” or un-engaged (physically and mentally), we don’t move with intent or pay attention to what we are doing, which can cause injury.
Mobility and stability
Your core should be engaged during nearly all workouts and all yoga poses. It helps our entire body stabilize. It also reminds us to stand up straight so we have proper spinal alignment. The less we engage our core, the more we slouch. The more we slouch the more our spine rounds into a C curve, instead of the neutral S curve we all have. The less mobility in the spine, the more it hinders our ability to arch back and swing at a ball, get to full extension while diving or setting. The spine plays a crucial role in our performance, and it starts with the core.
Our goal as educators is to help you move with intent, by activating and engaging your core, so you can reap the benefits. Core exercises can range from abs to planks to balancing poses. Core exercises don’t necessarily have to be “ab work.” A good way to start building core strength is with a plank. It helps the core and other areas of the body, so it’s a win/win! It also allows the back to stay in a neutral position when done correctly.
Breaking down a proper plank
Begin by getting down on all fours, on the floor. Align your shoulders directly over your wrists. Keep a soft bend in the elbows, so you don’t hyper-extend. Press the floor away from you and lift the middle of the shoulder blades up towards the ceiling. Extend the legs & knees out to full extension, while engaging your CORE and quads. Keep your neck at neutral by gazing down toward the floor. Hold for as long as you can.
If you want to strengthen your core and reap the benefits, head over to the YAX ONLINE portal and take a HIIT Cardio + Core or Yoga for Athletes class with us from anywhere, anytime!
Athletes: Register for YAX Online Portal of Yoga + HIIT + Jump Training + Breathwork + Meditation for $39/month (*7 day free trial)
Club Directors: Contact us to discuss online training for your club! We take the hassle out of programming your performance training + yoga, so you can focus on volleyball.
About the Author
Kalynn Evans (B.S., NASM-CPT, E-RYT 200, FMSC, XPT Coach) is the Owner of Yoga Athletex, LLC alongside her sister Patricia Bomar. She grew up playing volleyball; her mom and coach was a former college volleyball player at University of Houston and then a member of the US national team, so volleyball was instilled in her from a young age. Kalynn played club volleyball for 7 years at Club Texas in Houston. She played D1 college volleyball at SE Louisiana where she graduated with an accounting degree. Having some back and hip injuries throughout her volleyball career led Kalynn to practice yoga, and want to offer yoga to youth and adult athletes to prevent and rehabilitate injury. She completed her 200 RYT in 2013, completed Yin and Restorative Trainings in 2015 and 2016, FMS Cert 2016, and NASM-CPT in 2017 and XPT coaching certificate in 2018.