Beach volleyball players are known for our strong shoulders and rightly so. These poor joints take a beating. Strength plays a small but important role in a player's ability to spike (or attack) and serve better. A big range of motion is definitely more important but if you're trying to spike volleyball with a limp spaghetti noodle, you'll never win a tournament. You have to find the perfect combination of range, speed, and strength. All of these things will add up to great spiking technique and harder hits.
Players will often train for strength too heavily, add-on bulk, and then lose the range of motion in their shoulders. I've seen this happen with baseball players and volleyball players alike.
When your training routine makes you move heavy things at a very slow speed, your body gets very good at just that, slowly moving heavy things. When you get ‘monster’ big, your muscles can also get in the way of each other. We aren't even going to harp on the hours and hours wasted time that bulking requires when you could be doing volleyball specific exercises.
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Just know that that your energy and hours are limited. There is both a time and a performance limit. There is a line where more size and more strength do not equate to more points.
Exercises for volleyball players should certainly include a good deal of shoulder strengthening. But remember that your elasticity, range of motion and speed are going to produce the hardest spikes and the best jump serves.
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When choosing an indoor or beach volleyball workout program -- and you can choose our 60-day strength and conditioning program designed specifically to have you jumping higher, hitting harder, and running faster -- make sure that the shoulder exercises cover a wide range of movement and that impingement (or having your shoulders roll forward and inward) is completely avoided. Choose exercises that allow you to open and spread your chest. Exercises like the upright row and dips can be a nightmare for volleyball players because they put a lot of pressure on the biceps tendon which causes inflammation and they close the space in your shoulder joint, putting more pressure on the cartilage.
Our favorite shoulder exercise for volleyball (and it is included in our 60 Day Strength and Conditioning Program) is the rotating shoulder press because it allows your shoulders to stay open as you elevate weight above your head. Start with your palms facing your chest, with a dumbbell in each hand. As you press the weight up, you can slowly rotate your palms away from you so that by the time you get to 90 degrees, your palms are facing each other.
This pronation of the wrist and forearm actually simulates the “wrist-away” attack.
You should also include some shoulder raises in your warm-ups and workouts for volleyball. Remember that you should be training in three planes of motion and since we spend so much time swinging at a volleyball which equates to moving our arms forward and squeezing our chest (internal rotation), our workouts should try to counter that because most injuries happen on the deceleration of that movement.
Your lateral and rear shoulder muscles and your back should be your 100% primary upper body focus if you are training for volleyball. Give this exercise a shot and if you want access to our 60 Day Volleyball Workout Program, just click the link and we guarantee you'll add inches to your vertical while building iron clad shoulders.
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