Volleyball uses a combination of both upper- and lower-body movements for jumping, changing direction, hitting, and setting the ball. In order to improve performance in the sport, you will need to increase muscular strength and power, as well as speed and agility. A well-balanced workout plan incorporating shoulder and leg exercises, footwork drills, and stretching should help you achieve your volleyball goals.
A warm-up is always a great way to start your workout. Try a light five-minute jog, before switching to side-shuffling in a low stance, eventually integrating a faster forward jog or skips.
Don’t forget to stretch! Now that your muscles are loose after a warm-up, it is a great time to stretch them out. Staying flexible should increase your performance and decrease risk of sports injuries.
Consider an agility ladder to improve footwork. Try not to step on the lines while running through, touching one foot down in each square. No ladder? Tape on a gym floor or even chalk outside will work.
Sprinting is a great way to work on speed. Changing direction during sprints and using cones as markers will make your workout more sport-specific.
To improve vertical height, try squats holding a kettlebell to strengthen the quadriceps and glutes. Box jumping is a great plyometric exercise to increase lower-body strength for volleyball players.
Your shoulders should be strong to help with hitting, blocking, and setting the ball. Overhead press targets the shoulders and upper arms, while bench press targets the chest musculature.
Increasing strength happens over time, so don’t give up if you aren’t seeing immediate results.
To help prevent injury, make sure you practice these general safety tips:
Back, Neck, & Spine
Hand & Wrist
Foot & Ankle
Leg & Knee
The overall injury rate in NCAA women’s volleyball is 4.3 per 1,000 athlete exposures (games and practices combined).
The injury percentage breakdown is:
Head, face and neck (2.3%)
Upper limb (21.3%)
Torso and pelvis (13.8%)
Lower limb (51.1%)
Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have any type of persistent pain, be sure to see a doctor.