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Workout I Did: Jump Like a Volleyball Player

If you want to jump like (and look like) these players, you’ve got to work out like them. Credit: planetc1, Flickr

This past weekend I was at a beach volleyball tournament. Sadly, I was not competing, but it definitely inspired me to share a volleyball-themed plyometric workout I’ve done in the past.

(I still remember doing something along these lines for the first time at a volleyball open gym. We did all of this and more, several times through, and then the “real practice” began. Oh, the glory days.)

One little pearl of wisdom I’m going to share with you right now: Don’t do this if you’re going to have to walk, sit down or get up gracefully for a few days afterward.

Plyometric Beach Volleyball Workout

Warm Up

If you want to look like a beach volleyball player, you’ve got to start out by warming up like one. If you have a sand court, that’s perfect, but if not, just find a fairly flat piece of land — 15-foot by 30-foot is ideal, but as long as you have plenty of space, you’re golden.

Squat down with your weight on the balls of your feet (like you’d be ready to move in any direction to dig a ball), then shuffle side to side and top to bottom, all around the court. Get low and hold your arms out like you’re ready to pass a ball each time you change direction. The goal here is to move smoothly, but with some speed. You can also touch the ground at each change of direction to make sure you’re staying low — just make sure you’re bending your legs to bring your body down rather than just leaning forward.

Net Work

If you have a net available, use it! If not, just find a wall — the purpose of having something in front of you is to keep you jumping straight up and down.

Start at one side, bend low, then explode straight up with your hands above your head, like you’re going to block a hit. Land softly, then shuffle a couple of feet to the side, then do it again. Repeat until you reach the other end of the net, then come back doing the same thing.

Keep your hands up near your shoulders at all times — this will serve two purposes. First, it’ll focus the work on your legs for the jump, and second, it’s good practice for keeping your hands out of the net and giving the other team a point! And remember, jump high and engage your whole upper body so you’re staying strong on that block. You want to create a roof!

Plyo Time!

Now that you’re nice and warm, start the hard work. Begin with this one time through, but as you get stronger, build to three times through with 50 (or 100!) jump ropes in between.

  • 10 squat jumps (get low!), two legs
  • 5 squat jumps, right leg
  • 5 squat jumps, left leg
  • 25 jump rope
  • 30 ice skaters
  • 40 mountain climbers
  • 25 jump rope
  • 10 tuck jumps
  • 10 butt-kicking jumps
  • 25 jump rope
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 frog jumps
  • 10 push-ups
  • 25 jump rope

Any of my fellow current or former volleyball players remember workouts like this? It’s no joke, man. Anything you would add or take away? —Kristen

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