In this article I will review what I have learned working with some of the best volleyball trainers in the world. As I mentioned last week I turn 40 in month and a half and I am in the best shape I have been in 10 years.
One of the most important parts of my health is gym weight-room training. Like many of you I do not have the time to actually play volleyball because of work and family obligations. So I have to train in a gym late at night or early morning when it is difficult to get games and it’s conducive to my schedule.
My goal is to train / lift at least 3 times a week generally between Monday to Thursday so I rest Friday and I’m ready to play on the weekends. I tend to go early morning or at night depending on my schedule and I encourage you to do the same.
In terms of my training session / days, I like to have themes, similar to Velocity Fitness (See Videos), example Linear, Multi-direction or Jumping days / training days. More recently however I find myself combining days more due to my new increased focus on jump training any time I am in the gym. I will explain more in this and the follow up article on Jump Training.
So my tips:
Hip Flexors – After sitting all day your hip flexors shorten. This can wreak havoc on your hips, thighs and lower back. I start every gym session with 2 – 5 minutes hip flexor work. If you are like me and work at a desk I think this is critical for overall health, injury prevention and getting ready to train!
Warm Up With Stationary Rowing – For years I wanted to find a solution that allowed me to move quickly into my workout which would also act as a catalyst and transfer for me moving quickly into performing in a volleyball matches or volleyball practice.
Stationary rowing was the solution as what it allows me to do is go at 80-90 % within a seconds of starting with no impact and low risk of injury. It also gives me a full body warm up and I find I am sweating hard and breathing hard within 5 minutes of starting.
I row every day I train in the gym. My goal is to row 1300 meters at level 10 in a time of between 4 minutes 15 seconds to 5 minutes. My range is about 1:35 min – 1:55 min for every 500 meters. I find by creating a range I push myself so on slow days I never ever no matter what finish below 5 minutes. On days I am feeling good
I’m in the 4:30 range and yes I have done it in 4:15! Try beat it! It’s really fast!
I also find this acts as a barometer of how I am feeling for the day. I find some days this can help me get a better sense of my body and how much I have already worked it over the course of a week or how I have recovered after a weekend of playing.
“Foam rolling” and Myofascial Release – This is an important part of training today. In my article on the subject I included 3 tools I use to help with this namely: TheStick, The Gemini, and the Supernova. I find I tend to go 10-20 minutes on this depending on what I did leading up to my workout. After long tournaments or later in the week after a hard few days of training its longer!
Mobility – All my workouts start with mobility exercises. For me when I do mobility exercise many of them I combine with abs and other low impact training. I tend to do this first with super sets of 2 mobility exercise with jump rope and pushup to plank type training. So you will generally see me do 2-3 sets with four different exercise in the set. I tend to have 4 mobility and 4 other exercise in these first 2 groups of 4 sets.
Mobility 1, – Scapular and Shoulder
Plank to Pushup (4-5 different exercise in the set) – takes about 2-3 minutes
Mobility – 2 “Deep Squat” Type exercises.
Jump Rope – 1 minute
(2-3 Sets of each)
Mobility Walk – Trunk Rotations
Worlds Greatest Stretch
YTW with Pulls
Jump Rope – 1 minute
What I find starting with this does is:
– It helps with mobility and movement patterns,
– Knocks out part of my abs training early, I find abs really difficult to do last
– The jump rope builds cardio intensity and helps with jumping and focus
– Also I work on eye training during the jump rope portion. (Your eyes are like muscles and you need to physically train them for volleyball specific movements and training.
Mini-Bands is another critical part of my training that I only learned in the last few years. My final step before really getting into my workout is mini-bands. I do the Main 5 Exercises: Out 1 leg (Both Legs), In 1 Leg (Both Legs), Squats both legs, 10 side steps one direction, 10 side steps the other direction, and then 10 steps forward and 10 steps back. I use a blue band at the bottom and black band at the top.
I find mini bands really warm up some key areas for jumping and injury prevention. They also seem to help with knee stability and strengthen small muscles that help support my knee.
I tend to super set this with some stretches like inch worm, calf stretches and a short dynamic warm up.
Now my workout really starts! (I am normally about 20-30 minutes in at this stage)
Depending on the day I will either go linear theme, lateral / multi-direction theme or jump training only theme. To get a better idea of this I think it is best to watch the videos with Velocity fitness.
I tend to go 3-6 sets with 6-8 reps in each set. The reps consist of short 30 – 40 yard sprints or some kind of jump training. On Jump training I tend to do sets of 10.
I tend to super set these with Volleyball Kata or the Volleyball Kata Movement Pattern as well as some kind of fast feet with this either ladder drills or using the Void fitness movement pattern drills. (Ladders and Void Movement Patterns are important for movement, speed and jumping).
You will notice at this stage that basically almost every exercise is super setting with 3-4 different exercises. I do this as I feel this is more like a beach volleyball game plus it results in a more intense cardio burn rate.
For the Volleyball Kata, I got some of the ideas of this from Karch Kiraly book on Beach Volleyball Training with Adrian Crook (Inflex). After review and practice I found that this needed to be improved and this is how I eventually came upon the Volleyball Kata and Volleyball Movement Kata.
I follow this with my Power Lifting. Because my gym does not have good racks for dropping weights like in college when performing power cleans, hang cleans and such I have instead changed my power lifting to Kettle Bell Swings.
For Kettle Bell Swings I tend to do 48 Kilo 3-4 sets of 8 reps. This is the only time I do not super set my workout. I find this exercise extremely strenuous, particularly after what I have already completed and as such tend to just rest between sets.
I like to follow this up with another super set where I alternate between squats, block jumps, lunges and jump rope. I tend to do all the blocking in beach and it is really tough physically running up to the net after a jump serve. My goal with series of exercise is to really bring this home and get me ready for competition.
I tend to do 3-4 sets with 10 blocks and I like to do different footwork patterns on the blocking. (I will explain in another article.)
After reading Karch Kiraly book on beach volleyball, I do at least 50 block jumps every time I go to the gym.
For the lunges I grab Kettle Bells and lunge it out across the gym normally about 10-15 per leg.
The jump rope is to raise my heart rate and work on cardio and breathing. Also work on my concentration and eye patterns while being stressed physically. (I find the use my eyes and concentrating on my seeing is very different when tied verses when not tied! The result is I want to try create this environment during practice.)
Recently I have been adding a Cross-country Skiing machine in here. This is new and I am still testing it. I go for 1000 meters which I do in about 4:10-4 minutes 40 seconds. When doing this I am trying different motions but rather than just focusing on the down motion of the sking, I have been focusing on how I come up making it more like a approach jump – squat to jump (I don’t leave the ground). I am finding this is increasing my match endurance and I am able to play longer at a high physical level.
Next I go into my shoulder workout.
This is a series of multiple exercises that I do in supersets.
Set 50 – Fast Arm Bungie
Sets 20 – Full Arm Bungie
Sets 15 – Full Body Bungie
Sets 20 – Shoulder Rotations hitting motion
Sets 20 – Inflex Shoulders 1, 2, 3.
Sets 20 – Shoulder rotation with 2.5 pound weight
Sets 10 – Anti-Hitting Shoulder Slow Down
Volleyball Spiking Exercises can be seen here!
This sounds like allot however you can move through these very quickly and it does wonders for your hitting and injury prevention. When I was at UCLA in 98 no one in the country hit harder than me in college and I think this is why!
I follow this with back. Again I super set with Lat Pull Down, Lower Back Hyper Extension, Seated Row. I tend to go 3 sets of 10 Reps.
I like to finish with 2-3 different abs here depending on the day.
On Mondays I sometimes add lying leg curls. Now I know allot of people don’t like these however for me I find it just really hammers my legs. I tend to only do these on Mondays as it often takes 2-3 days to recover. I also have found this exercise is critical for avoiding cramping during long tournaments.
At this stage I am pretty toast mentally and physically. I like to move into more mobility and stretching at this stage.
I start with the Bretzzel and follow this up with the Bretzzel 2.0. Both of these are incredible exercises that I highly recommend for all players.
I then finish this with more stretching and I am done.
Let me know your thoughts? I am always open to feedback on how I can do it better. Also keep in mind allot of this training plan is the result of my limited ability to play beach volleyball during the week.