Strong. Athletic. Fit. Sexy. Since its entrance as an official sport in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, these words have been used to describe athletes in beach volleyball. The inclusion of a sport in which players wear bikinis and tank-tops while playing on a beach in the sun has quickly led to it being one of the most sought after spectator events. Fans are able to soak up sun while watching athletes in peak condition jump, dive, and sweat their way to gold and glory. Throw in the propensity for the venues to play loud music and be located close to water, and you have all the elements for the perfect summer sport!
Because of the sports’ atmosphere and obvious display of athleticism, beach volleyball players are often judged based on their physical prowess and appearance. However, to be successful as a competitor in the sport one must possess an incredible amount of relative strength, explosive power, and core stability. The fit and toned physique is simply a side-effect of their training. The game is played on sand; forcing the athletes to train for generating a maximum amount of force through an unstable surface. If you’ve ever tried to jump high, or make quick fast movements in ankle-deep sand, you’d know that this is no easy feat! Stabilizer muscle groups such as the core must be well-conditioned, and the body must withstand long periods of time spent in play as some matches can last up to two hours. Factor in the extra difficulty of withstanding weather conditions which often include severe heat, and these athletes truly are remarkable!
While those of us here at NGCS may not be training to jump on sand, dive and get up rapidly, or survive unbearable heat for hours on end, anyone of us can benefit from training the explosive power of our lower body. Explosive training helps you run faster, jump higher, and trains your muscles to respond to extreme amounts of stress in a very short amount of time. If you’re able to increase your power, you’ll find a successive increase in your strength, and will also get a great workout in while burning some calories and improving your overall condition. This will translate to all aspects of your training and fitness, regardless of what level you are at!
To increase your lower body power, try training with a blend of plyometric (bodyweight) movements and resistance training. Traditional thought says to separate resistance training workouts from plyometric workouts and focus only on one of the types of training at a time. However, the truth is that power is best developed when you push your muscles through intense movement after they’ve already been pre-exhausted. The large muscles of the legs and the lower body in particular respond well to this.
During your workout, incorporate supersets combining one resistance movement with one plyometric movement. By making your muscles work to propel your own bodyweight after they’ve already been fatigued, you’ll force them to work harder. This will prevent adaptation and accelerate your power and strength gains! Get outside in your backyard or local park, or to your local gym and give one of the following workouts a try:
- Try one of the two following workouts for increasing your lower body explosive power:
*Do Each Superset for 3-4 working sets. Resting approximately 90 seconds between sets.
**Ensure that you are working with weight that is appropriately challenging for the rep range, and that you are applying maximum effort for your explosive movements!
- Barbell Squats x 10
- Box Jumps x Failure
- Decline Leg Press x 10
- Tuck Jumps x 15
- Lunges x 8 per leg
- Split Lunge Jumps x 8 per leg
- Bulgarian Split Squat x 10 per leg
- Wall Touches x 30 seconds
- Airplane Balance – 30 seconds each leg
- Workout #2
*Do Each Superset for 3-4 Working sets, resting approximately 90 seconds between sets.
**For this workout ensure that you have access to a track, wide open space, or a gymnasium
- Medicine Ball Squats x 12
- Wind sprints (20-40 m) x 2
- Hack Squats x 10
- Burpess x Failure
- Stationary Dynamic Barbell Lunges x 10
- Bounding (20-40 m) x4
- Fast Feet x 30 seconds
- Frog Leaps (20-40 m) x2
- Held Squat- Failure
For an additional challenge, channel your inner beach volleyball player and try the exercise movements on a sand volleyball court, to see how you do. I can guarantee you will be sore in places you didn’t think possible afterwards!
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