PreSeason Volleyball WorkoutsIf you're ready to start your preseason volleyball workouts, you're likely thinking about increasing your vertical. How do you go about doing that? Well first of all, you should take a look at your overall fitness level because if you really want to maximize your hops, you're going to need to strengthen your performance in a few categories. Here are a few keys to think about as you plan your volleyball workouts and try to maximize your vertical.
Plyometrics, a.k.a. Jump Training
If you want to jump higher, you need to be jumping. That's the truth of it. As you plan your workouts, make sure you incorporate jumping exercises. A sample jump training workout might be the following: 5 minute warmup jumping rope. Jumping rope is an awesome warmup because it works your calves and legs as it gets your heart rate up. Squats and lunges, followed by jumping squats and jumping lunges. Try to make your squats more challenging by jumping 180 degrees every third squat. Down Down Down, Explode up and spin, straight into another squat. The exploding up is very important. Try to maximize upward force each time. Maintain good squat form to avoid injury!
Jumping lunges are great too because they work the quads and hamstrings. Do a traditional lunge and hold it for 3 seconds. Then jump up (again, jump high and quick!) and switch feet, landing back into a lunge, with the alternate food forward. Be sure to maintain good lunge form each and every time to avoid injury.
Bulgarian Split Squats Basically, this is a lunge, with your back leg up on a chair or box. To read a full description, check out this link, here. Many, many calf raises. I hope you enjoy calf raises because they are important when it comes to jumping workouts. Try to mix up your calf raises. Do 10 with your toes pointed in, 10 with your toes pointed straight and 10 with your toes pointed out. If this is easy, do them on a box or stair with your heels hanging off. Still easy? Do more.
Penguin Hops. O.K. I don't know what these are actually called, but they work. Stand with your feet together, legs straight. Without using anything but your calves, jump up as high as you can. Repeat quickly, minimizing your time on the ground. (Keep your arms at your side and your legs straight, but not locked, we don't want injury!) These are all excellent examples of volleyball workouts to increase your vertical. You want to make sure you are working fast twitch muscles. This means you want to explode off the floor quickly with each and every jump. Move your body fast and your vertical will go up.
According to The Ripped Dude: "When it comes to vertical jump, plyometrics are a key. A review in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine" looked at 26 research studies that tested the effects of plyometrics on vertical jumps and found that plyometrics increased vertical jump by 8 percent. Another study reported that plyometrics helped professional athletes increase their vertical leap by 23 percent, improve their agility by 8 percent, their balance by 5 percent, and their time by 0.30 seconds on the 20-meter sprint."
Cardio, Food & Your Weight
The honest fact is that if you are overweight, jumping becomes even more difficult. Overweight for most people means a body mass index of 25 or higher. Check out your BMI by using this Calculator. If you know that trimming down is where you need to focus more attention, here are a few tips: Cardio burns lots of calories. (So does jump training.) Burning calories is part of the weightless equation. 3500 calories equals a pound. Personally, I use the FitBit and I LOVE it.
There are baseline calculators you can use like this one which will give you an idea of what you burn, but it is less accurate than the bodymedia setup. There are other options too, but I haven't tried them out. Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Activity Wristband Nike+ Fuelband SE UP3 by Jawbone Heart Rate, Activity + Sleep Tracker.
Do your research before you buy these, as I can't speak for their functionality. Food is the second half of the weight loss equation. The thing is though, that they say food intake is actually 80% of the equation, not half. You need to eat less calories than you burn. (By up to 3500 for a pound, the faster the deficit, the faster the weight loss. Up to 2 pounds a week is usually a safe amount for an average person, but I'm not dietician.) Start tracking your food. I use My Fitness Pal on my iPhone and it's super easy and convenient. There are many things you can track, but to begin, I'd look at the number of calories you are consuming and aim for 500 less than you are burning. I'd try to get 100g of protein in during the day, and minimize sugar to at least less than 50 grams. You'll be amazed at how much sugar is in food!
The last thing we will talk about is flexibility. The more flexible your muscles, the more you can spring them into action, and power yourself upwards. You'll want to pay special attention to your hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and calves. Read this article to learn how to stretch each muscle. Make sure you are good and warm before you start stretching!
That's it for now. I hope you learned something and you can incorporate some of these tips into your jump training and volleyball workouts.
I am NOT a trainer. I am a volleyball enthusiast, coach and player. If you follow my advise, you do so at your own risk. I personally think it's good advise but again, I don't hold a degree in this stuff. Leave a comment.