Glute activation, and why beach volleyball players need it to jump higher

 

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If you are looking for volleyball workouts for jumping higher and moving faster, this article is going to surprise you with some crucial but completely overlooked exercises. If you’ve read our other posts on jumping workouts for volleyball, you know how important it is to first stabilize the joints and then strengthen the muscles. We’ve shown you how important it is to have a sturdy core which will stabilize the spine. A stable spine helps you move faster and jump higher because it prevents lags and reset times. Your body does not want to move fast or jump high when the spine gets out of line because it knows the danger that presents. 

That being said, we have some other areas that must be activated and stabilized in order to get a higher vertical jump. Your gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body and is definitely your “go-to” muscle for jump training. The hamstrings, quads and calves are the other major muscle groups that produce the force needed for maximum power, height and speed, and if you're looking for a comprehensive program, take a look at our 60-day strength and conditioning program designed specifically for beach volleyball. We know that the glutes are the biggest, baddest muscles we have but a lot of people don’t get the most out of these muscles because their pathways are inhibited and unstable.

If you’ve ever been to a professional beach volleyball tournament at the AVP or FIVB level, you’ve undoubtedly seen every player warming up with small elastic circle bands. These circle bands or “booty bands” allow athletes to perform exercises that activate the muscles that support the hips, like the gluteus maximus. In today's world, we spend a lot of time sitting, and those extended periods of time shut off our jumping muscles. People everywhere are suffering from glutes that don’t fire because they haven’t been intentionally activated with the right exercises. When your glutes are inhibited or even asleep, your body finds other pathways to help you jump but those pathways are secondary. When you can’t or don’t use the muscles that are designed for jumping and sprinting, you’ll never be as powerful and you’ll never reach your full jumping and running potential.

There are lots of exercises that you can use to activate and strengthen the muscles around your hips. Some of them require a circle band and we recommend a lot of them because you can do these standing, squatting and staying on your feet. This allows you to train using similar movements that you would in volleyball or beach volleyball. If you only train your muscles to activate when you’re lying down, the optimal pathways for squatting, jumping and running won’t be created. 

Below, we show you some of our favorite glute activation exercises that will guarantee your jumping and running muscles fire so you can tap into your maximum ground speed and vertical leap. If you ignore these types of exercises you will never be able to maximize your ability to jump higher or spike harder in volleyball. Wake those glutes up along with the rest of the muscles around your hips and knees. These tiny movements might not seem like much you’ll start seeing a huge difference in your power in no time. 

You may also enjoy:

Shoulder exercises to help every beach volleyball player hit harder

Core exercises for beach volleyball players

Mobility and stretches for beach volleyball players

 

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