Time to Strength Train Like an Elite Beach Volleyball Player


Canadian beach volleyball player Sam Pedlow explains how to strength train like an elite beach volleyball player. Sam is one of the fittest guys on the world tour. In this free training video talks about the importance of not just strength training, but strength training specifically for beach volleyball and why that is so important. Join Sam and AVP pros Mark Burik and Brandon Joyner for this lively discussion on effective strength training for beach volleyball.

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We don't do that in volleyball, we don't just go forwards, backwards, left. Right, right. We go in angles and around in circles. So you have to train that. And if you only squat and you only dead lift and you only lateral lunge, well you're not really training appropriately for volleyball. A lot of the problems with a lot of people. And you know what I realized was I just didn't have the stability to be able to put on the weight to jump high. So to be able to create stability around my hips and knees, that allowed me to lift more weights, which allowed me to generate more power, which allowed me to jump higher.

You have your two favorite exercises too because um, for me like I hate turning it back to me. Sorry. Um, like I've got like a lot of low back problems. So I understand instability. But you sit around your knees and your core, what are your go-to exercises to increase stability so that you can lift heavy weight safely?

Yeah. So you think about single leg exercises in that case, right? So like a single leg already. Owl with even no weight or a super light kettlebell is a, is a great exercise. And for me like a, like a lateral lunge or split squat, those are functional. You can get even like nonfunctional. Like if you, if you have no stability, you know, you're looking at like just trying to get your glutes firing, like your sideline leg raises or your or your band work with monster walks, things like that, right? That's even lower level. But if we're talking like you've already got that, you know, single leg exercises or, or where there's a little bit of challenge on that stability to keep everything in line, that's where you're going to get a lot of bang for your buck. And then once you kind of develop that stability, you can start to stack on some serious weight and now you're, you're split squatting or RDL ING with a lot of weight, requiring a lot of stability, but you're also going to generate a lot of strength from it.

A lot of the times I have metrics, right? I have how fast I'm able to lift stuff. So when it comes to primary exercises like squatting or dead lifting, I'm taking velocity measurements and I'm lifting a lighter weight, but trying to maintain a fast velocity and I'm trying to maintain that velocity over the course of a season. I'm by no means am I like squatting or dead lifting like max or like 90% of my one rep max for reps or anything like that. That's, that's off season stuff on seasons about staying healthy, but creating the stimulus you need to stay strong. So again, you might be lifting in a different way. You might be doing single leg stuff instead of double leg stuff because you're still going to get that stimulus to stay strong. Um, but you're not putting yourself at risk for like overdoing it type thing.

And then when it comes to recovery, like that's recovery is the name of the game. For me as, as much as I lift weights and we talk about that, like I spent just as much time trying to recover as I do, um, lifting weights. Like, I sleep in compression socks every single night because I know it, it, it helps with my recovery. Um, because I have the data, you know, I, I'm using NormaTec, I'm stretching like my wife. I have in the basement, we call it the stretch cave. Um, we watched like 45 minutes of TV a little bit before bed and we just stretch. Like we have the guns, we have every type of foam roller and stuff down there and we just get after it for 45 minutes because I know I'll be better the next day because of it. And like I have to be honest, there's days where I'm like, there's no I, I'm doing this and it's horrible the next day.

Like it's just with the volume of work that we're putting in you, you have to do it because if you don't, you're going to be busted. One of the problems with the gym and what's super interesting is everyone, every country works out differently. Right? But I think one of the challenging parts is that we've, that I've kind of gotten into historically is working just in two planes. Like, just in frontal, forwards and backwards or sagittal sideways. But we don't do that in volleyball. We don't just go forwards, backwards, left. Right, right. We go in angles and around in circles. So you have to train that. And if you only squat and you only deadlift and you only lateral lunge, well you're not really training appropriately for volleyball. So you know with your big prime, I call them primary exercises. If you're doing your primary exercises, yeah, they're going to be your squat, your deadlift, like they're going to be static, but you need to add in more dynamic work so that you don't, you don't just become really good at squatting, deadlifting and lateral lunging because that's what will happen.

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And when you get outside of that pattern, your body was like, I don't really know what's going on. The biggest, most obvious thing to cut for me at that time was like bench press. I was benching a lot, like a few times a week all the time with a bar. And, um, you know, since I started to make that transition, I haven't bench pressed in like five years in like three for me. Last time I felt a tweak in my shoulder and I was like, nah, forget it. Light dumbbells. I'll just like do like bath pushups, whatever. Yeah. Like I, I do believe that, you know, horizontal pushing has its place in volleyball. I just don't believe bench press is the most effective way to do that. Nor do I think like flat dumbbell chest press is a good idea either. We just from us, like a mechanical standpoint, a lot of people aren't doing that super technically proficiently.

Um, where we can just, we can get that stimulus some other way. Like, you know, even an incline dumbbell chest press is going to be better if you like, we're, we're humans and you know, probably the male population is more interested in doing inclined dumbbell chest press than, than female population. And, and I get it like a statically, you know, it's, it's a good exercise when it comes to volleyball performance. I would say like, you know, shave a good 50 60% off the amount you're doing it and that's probably a, a healthy range. You know, your, your bang for your buck exercises, they're going to be, you know, you're going to be doing squat variations and that really depends on what type of athlete you are. You quad dominant, you hamstring dominant. Like what type of jumper are you? Are you going to be doing front squats and you're doing back squats?

Are you going to Bulgarian split squat? Because you know guys who squat the world for example, it doesn't make sense to go out and squat, you know, four or 500 pounds for reps, you're just going to likely trash your back. So you might as well Bulgarian split squat, get that stimulus on one leg and do it in a lot safer environment. Right? Like for me, I've got to pretty solid deadlift, but it doesn't make sense for me to go and deadlift near max percentages. It makes way more sense to change the variable and create a stimulus that has a similar response but is a lot safer. And, and again, like, you know, do I do arms? Definitely are, is doing arms in general, good for volleyball. No, but if you know what you're doing, you can create crossover too. The sport, like we're looking at a ton of external rotation.

Okay, well how do you do biceps in external rotation? Well you put yourself on a decline bench or an incline bench and you do them in external rotation and extension and now you're actually strengthening that tendon across the front of the shoulder instead of just like, you know, smashing hammer curls, which isn't doing anyone any good. You know, you're looking at doing triceps, triceps pull downs that doesn't cross over to volleyball at all. Right? Yeah. You do it behind the head and external rotation and you get upward rotation of the scapula. Okay. Now you're talking somewhat volleyball related, but you know, when it comes to jumping, you got your Olympic lifts, you got your squatting variations and you got your deadlift variations. After I graduated Queens, I did a two year master's program, um, at Western university for physical therapy. So I didn't play for two years straight and I just hammered the gym and that's where I like started to figure out what the gym actually was and how to get strong properly because I joined like the Western gym team.

I went from playing seven days a week having no volleyball. So I, I joined the gym team and these guys taught me how to squat and taught me how to bench and they taught me how to deadlift and that's where like real strength gains started to happen. Um, and then I started playing with grant and I was two 30 when I started with him and it probably wasn't until 2016 that I was able, that's like four years later that I was able to undo all the crappy work I did and turn it in the actual like volleyball specific mass. Because before I was just strong, I was strong and I could move heavy things. And the good thing was it made me jump way higher. Like in university, I was touching, I, I'm glad you guys don't do it. You guys don't do inches. Like you do like three seventies spike touch or whatever it might be. Right now we do inches. So this is even more embarrassing. So in university, uh, my team or the team that I was on won the league three out of the five years I was there the other two years, we got second. I never touched higher than 10 foot eight and I was a starting player. Yeah. Wow. Higher than that. 

So then I stopped playing volleyball, worked out like crazy for two years, came back without ever touching a ball and touched 11 five. So it was like I was way heavier, but I was using the power and strength that I developed and was able to transition it to, to jump higher.


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