6 Volleyball Conditioning Drills to get Stronger
Jump higher, play stronger. Try these six volleyball conditioning exercises from trainer Joshua Aycock and feel the difference on the court.
No matter what sport you play, cross-training outside of the game is essential to becoming the player you want to be when the starting whistle blows. With high-intensity sports like volleyball that rely on quick changes of direction, high jumps and swift, powerful hits, the off-court conditioning is critical to becoming — and remaining — a top athlete.
“The best pro athletes in the world spend a lot of money on their recovery and their training. Talent can be developed on-court, but longevity has to be done behind the scenes,” said Joshua Aycock, the Director of Agility and Strength at WAVE Volleyball in San Diego, California. Aycock has been a strength and conditioning coach for over 25 years, coaching elite professional volleyball players as well as youth sports programs like WAVE.
For off-court volleyball conditioning workouts, Aycock focuses on plyometrics, movement skills, and strength training. In this video, he demonstrates six drills creating a complete workout that will benefit any level of athlete looking to improve their volleyball game.
Volleyball Conditioning Workout
Add these volleyball conditioning workouts to your routine to feel the difference in your game.
1. JUMP ROPE SERIES
Equipment: A jump rope
Reps: 50 total
How it helps your game: Volleyball is a jumping game. By doing jump rope progressions, you’re training your lower leg elasticity and getting your muscles primed for the game. Focus on maintaining good posture throughout each variation.
Progression 1: 20 Single-Under Jumps
This is a basic single jump with two feet over the rope.
Progression 2: 20 Single-Leg Jumps
Jump rope on one leg, 20 per side.
Progression 3: 5 to 10 Double-Under Jumps
Jump high to swing the rope under your feet for two rotations per jump. These require lots of power and stamina, and the goal here is to get as many as you can without tripping the rope.
2. ALTERNATING BOX BLASTS
Equipment: A 12” box
Reps: 4 sets of 8 reps per leg
How it helps your game: Volleyball athletes need to react to quick changes of direction with big force in a short amount of time. These box jumps help train your quick explosiveness off the ground.
- Start with one foot on the box and one foot on the ground. Begin slowly with one jump to get your footing. Focus on producing big force off the ground for each jump.
- After a few slow jumps, step up the pace and do continuous split jumps, focusing on balance and explosiveness off the ground.
3. MINI HURDLE SERIES
Equipment: 4-10 6” or 12” hurdles or cones
Reps: 4 sets of 10-20 reps
How it helps your game: Volleyball is a rapid change-of-direction sport. By jumping over obstacles, you have to learn body control, proper force application and landing mechanics, which make you a stronger athlete on the court.
- Start with a single two-leg jump over each hurdle, landing slowly in between and focusing on straightening your legs in the jump.
- Next, link the jumps together for continuous hops to the end of the hurdles.
4. LATERAL BOUND SERIES
Equipment: 5’ open space and tape to mark the ground
Reps: 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
How it helps your game: This drill focuses on balance, unilateral leg power and fast change of direction — all elements that volleyball athletes use in every game.
- Mark the ground in two lines about 3 to 4 feet apart. Starting on your left leg with your right leg lifted, bound to the right, explode off your standing leg. Start slow, aiming for maximum height at the top of each jump.
- Link the bounds together into a continuous motion, aiming for speed and height.
5. DUMBBELL RENEGADE ROW
Equipment: A pair of low to moderate weight dumbbells
Reps: 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps per arm
How it helps your game: With all the jumping and speed that comes with volleyball, a strong athlete also needs a strong core. This exercise is excellent for training upper body stabilization and core strength.
- In a push-up position with your hands on the dumbells, pull one weight up to your waist and lower it back down, alternating arms each time.
- Focus on keeping your hips stable and your core engaged throughout the entire movement. If your hips start to move, take a break and reset.
6. AB WHEEL
Equipment: Ab wheel or towel and a cushion for your knees
Reps: 3-5 sets of 5 reps
How it helps your game: The ab wheel is a great way to strengthen your core and upper body through your arms, lats, and shoulders, which are crucial to the sport of volleyball. If you don’t have an ab wheel, you can use a towel to slide your hands out and back.
- Kneeling on a cushion, hold the ab wheel on the ground in front of you.
- Keeping your back straight and core engaged, slowly roll out, keeping the wheel under your shoulders until your torso is extended, then rolling the wheel further to extend your arms before rolling back in the same way.
Training with the Game in Mind
In addition to volleyball practice and games, it can be challenging to fit in additional workouts. Whatever your goals are, Aycock recommends quality of workouts over quantity, and above all, consistency. “It doesn’t have to be six days a week,” said Aycock, “but just a little bit of consistency two to three days a week. 30 minutes with some basic exercises like what we did today can really make the difference of [athletes] being healthy and improving their performance.”
As a recent college graduate and now professional volleyball player, Savvy Simo has seen what these types of workouts can do for her and her teammates. “Looking at the most successful players, they go above and beyond,” said Simo. “They’re doing these [exercises] almost every day of the week on top of playing every day, on top of yoga, recovery, ice baths — anything they can do to help their performance. I see these girls and I strive to be like them, and I know that I can’t get there without going the extra steps to be the best player I can be.”
Ready to put in the work? Take these workouts with you to the gym by downloading the drill PDF and saving it to your phone.
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