If you’re reading this story, it’s more than likely you want to know how to increase your vertical jump for volleyball. It's a complicated question, with many different answers and steps. Worry not. We've got you covered.
In this blog, we're going to go over:
- How many times a beach volleyball player jumps per match
- The sweet spot for sets and reps to improve your vertical
- The two metrics you must improve to increase your vertical jump
- How long should you rest between sets for vertical jump training? (it's longer than you think)
- How many times should you jump for vertical jump training?
It’s highly likely that you want to increase your vertical because you play and watch this beautiful sport, and you figured that there are somewhere between 100, 200, maybe even 500 jumps per player in a single beach volleyball match.
In a webinar Better at Beach hosted not too long ago, guesses ran the gamut of figures, from 100 almost to 1,000 jumps in a single beach volleyball match. The answer may surprise you. It surprised us.
Only 40 to 60 times per match does a player jump on the FIVB Tour.
That is, of course, an average. It's an inexact number because it will invariably change from one player to the next. Phil Dalhausser, for example, will not jump 60 times per match; he’ll rise only to block and jump serve, and on the rare occasion the opposing team has committed beach volleyball suicide and served him the ball. Taylor Crabb may jump even less; he does not block, does not typically jump serve, and is served almost as infrequently as Dalhausser.
So, what does this tell us? That the quality of our jumps in beach volleyball must be high. That our training must reflect the manner in which we play. Our 60-day Max Vertical Program, designed specifically to increase your vertical in beach volleyball, will get you jumping higher, moving faster, hitting harder, and overall, playing better.
It’s effective because it’s reflective.
We train the way we play.
“When you’re jumping in a volleyball match, you’re not actually max jumping,” Better at Beach founder Mark Burik said. “The majority of your jumps are not your max jumps. They’re somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of your max. We take that information and bring it into our training as well.
“When you’re training, remember that you’re not always, always jumping. You’re not always going to be jumping, so you’re going to want to measure your jumps out.”
Another trivia question for you: Which sport has, on average, the highest vertical leapers?
We know your guesses: Basketball, Olympic-level high jumpers, football, a few on our webinar even guessed soccer (soccer?).
You’re wrong. All of you. The answer took us off guard as well. The sport with the highest vertical leapers could be argued isn’t even a sport at all, but a show of machismo and brute strength: Olympic lifters.
Yes, those guys and gals you see maybe once every four years at the Olympics, with the bulging biceps, puffed out chests, traps that appear as if someone stuffed small watermelons into their shoulders, muscle sinews that seem as if they’re made of leather belts – they’re the ones with the highest vertical jumps.
Because they’re masters of their crafts, gigantic, muscle-bound scientists who know the secret sauce to explosive movements.
“They’re the most explosive athletes because they’re moving the most weight as fast as possible,” Burik said. “We can get close to those benefits. We have to build up to handle max strength at max effort.”
Olympic lifters know the formula to train explosive movements. They build max strength, using 85 to 100 percent of their one-rep max, when in the strength phase of their program. Then they deload, using 0-20 percent of their one-rep max for jumping exercises.
They're the most explosive athletes on the planet.
Our training program to increase your vertical in beach volleyball isn’t all that different from what you’ll find in an Olympic lifter’s program. It features a high number of sets (3-6) with a low number of reps (1-6) and an amount of rest that, if you’re like us at Better at Beach, will leave you antsy and maybe even a bit self-conscious.
If you want a sample of our programs, give our completely free three workouts for an increased vertical jump a try.
You know that guy at the gym, who seems to be doing one set every five minutes, spending more time on Instagram and TikTok than his actual workout? Yeah, that’s going to be you, if you want to increase your vertical in beach volleyball as quickly as possible. Our program features up to six sets per exercise, with one to five reps each, with lots and lots and lots of rest between (3-5 minutes).
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“If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’re never doing enough, that you could always do more, that you can’t take an off day,” Burik said. “Some people hate the look and feel of sitting at the gym, just standing there, some people hate that. But if you’re a volleyball player, you need to get used to that.
“We’re training max effort and max strength. Max strength is crucial to volleyball, and speed is crucial to volleyball. When you’re training for maximum strength and maximum speed, your work to rest ratio should be somewhere between one to 12. If you jump as hard as you can for five seconds, you should rest for a minute and 10 seconds, a minute and 20 seconds. Think about a volleyball point: Our max effort comes on an approach, then we don’t get to another max effort until the next time we receive.
“If you do twelve reps, you’re looking at four to five minutes of rest, so get used to hanging out at the gym.”
Here's the ironic little secret: The less you do, the more your gains. Don’t take this too far, of course. If you just go to 24 Hour Fitness and look at the people lifting, you won’t simply become the highest jumper on the beach by virtue of osmosis. But it is critical to keep in mind what we’re training for; we’re working for max strength and explosiveness, not aesthetics. If your goal is to look fantastic and get ripped, then you’re welcome to do drop sets and super sets and high-rep sets in minimal rest circuits that are common among your Average Joe at the gym, because they're there simply to stave off the dreaded dad bod.
But Average Joe’s goals are not our goals.
Our goals are to increase our vertical in beach volleyball, so we’re bouncing balls, swatting shots, and winning matches.
And if that’s our goal, the frequency and volume with which we lift is going to be different than your lift if you’re simply trying to look good. Our goal is function, not appearance. So, between sets, we're going to rest -- a lot. Three to five minutes is a good number to shoot for. Do some breathing exercises. Mobility. Listen to a podcast. Whatever you do, let your body recover, so your next set can be an explosive one.
“Every foot contact that you have that is a max jump – a depth jump, a power clean, a hang clean – we’re going to start counting those, and if you look at the program you’ve written for yourself, and you see five sets of 10 squats for day one, you only have 50 jumps left for the entire week if you’re talking about vertical leap training,” Burik said. “If you do 60 box jumps for some reason in one workout, you only have 40 left in the week.
“When you train, your body listens to the way you train. So if you train yourself to jump at 70 percent, it’s never going to know what it’s like to jump 100 percent. One hundred is going to be your ceiling for maximum effort.”
In a study done on the effectiveness of the depth jump – when you drop off a box or bench, land, and immediately leap onto another box or bench – there was a low frequency group, moderate frequency group, and high frequency group. The low frequency group performed depth jumps one day per week; moderate two days; high four days.
What they found was a staggering increase in vertical leap from the low to moderate groups – and absolutely no increase in vertical jump from moderate to high.
What can we take from this?
That volume is important, if we properly control it.
The 60-day Max Vertical Program controls it, and has the science to back it up, as does our free option, with three free workouts to increase your vertical jump in beach volleyball.
“If you keep doing more than is necessary, you’re going to start hurting yourself,” Burik said. “You’re going to get overtrained, you’re going to take a beating, you’re going to burn yourself out. We’re looking somewhere between one to three max efforts per week.”
If you’re looking for the silver bullet, the one regimented schedule that you can put on repeat and do over and over and over again, 51 weeks in a row, to increase your vertical in beach volleyball, well, this isn’t the place.
There is no place for that.
It’s fairy dust, as real as Mordor or Narnia or Hogwarts.
In reality, the way we train varies on when we compete, which tournaments we want to peak for, and how long our season is. There is, however, a certain rhythm to the way we train, an order in which to increase our strength and explosiveness so we’re flying around the sand for, say, the Manhattan Beach Open.
The typical beach volleyball schedule – unless you’re in college – will begin with competitions in April or May. This makes January, February and March what we’ll call our max strength and power phases of increasing our vertical for beach volleyball. Here the volume of reps is low, the number of sets is high, and we’re “seeing how much weight I can push,” Burik said. “We’re creating a little bit of space in our bodies and muscles to allow us to push heavier weights and that’s when we start training for our season, getting ready to jump.”
We’re getting strong. We’re maxing out our deadlifts, our cleans, our squats. Then April and May roll around, and there’s a slight shift. We’re still developing max strength and power, though now the focus is more on power. We’re decreasing the weight a bit to move the weight faster, more explosively. We’re training our bodies to push large amounts of weight as quickly as we can.
“If you can move a bunch of weight, and you can move it as fast as possible, guess what? All that energy is going to the ground and it’s taking off,” Burik said. “Once you’re able to generate fast, speed, now we’re rocking. It’s everything.”
Now we’re rocking. We’re rolling. Now it’s June, tournament season, the meat of our schedule. Now we’re focused on nothing but power and speed. Because we’re training on the sand more, competing more, we’ve dropped our weight lifting regimen to once, maybe twice per week.
“That’s when we want performance on the court,” Burik said. “Performance on the court is what counts for most of us. You don’t want to be exhausted when you’re going into a match. Everything is tailored to perform at their best during the biggest tournaments.
“Once you’ve acquired the strength then we can convert it to speed and that’s going to convert to a vertical for performance. You have to pick whatever your goal is, which is hard for a lot of people because they have 20 tournaments this summer. You want to win all of them – we all do – but you have to decide, you have to pick.”
And then, at the end of August, the Manhattan Beach rolls around. Because you’ve increased your vertical in beach volleyball, because you’ve developed max power and speed, because you’re hitting higher and harder, because you’re blocking bigger and more effectively, you win the Manhattan Beach Open. You get your name cemented on the Pier. You spray champagne and celebrate like the champion you are.
Then we get to do it again.
We’re back to power. Back to lifting heavy. Back to getting Better at Beach, in the weight room. Back to increasing our vertical in beach volleyball, so next year we’re even higher, even faster, even more explosive.
“Athleticism is earned an you can learn it,” Burik said. “You can learn how to do it, and you can learn to train the right way for your sport. I promise you there is a very, very wrong way to train for volleyball, to train for vertical jump, to train for explosiveness and there are ways you can absolutely destroy and hinder that. I want to make sure you don’t allow that to happen. I want to help you unleash your athleticism so that you can win more. I want to make sure you win more points because let’s face it, winning is fun. There is no better feeling than real athletic power. It feels so good to have your legs under you, being in an athletic position, and being able to go from 0-60 in two seconds. Having that type of power gives you so much confidence because you start knowing you can get to every ball.”
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If you want to increase your vertical in beach volleyball to jump higher, hit harder, and win tournaments. All you have to do is sign up for our Beach Volleyball Mastery. We'll help you build a great foundation that lets you add strength without putting on unnecessary size. We'll also equip you with all of the fitness knowledge and programming you need for everything volleyball.
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