Is Biking a Good Activity for Volleyball? (EXPLAINED)

is biking good for volleyball

Biking is an amazing and fun physical activity that can give you a significant advantage in other activities and sports like “Volleyball”! Indeed …

Biking is a proven way to build high conditioning and stamina levels. Those 2 attributes are crucial volleyball that requires a very high pace throughout the game and during hard practice sessions. However, it is advised to rely only partially on biking (Less than 10%) as the principles are not the same.

In this Post, I address some interesting biking benefits that will certainly represent a great asset for anyone who wants to practice volleyball. I also dive deep into the right ways you should practice biking to make the most out of it.

Biking benefits that can help with volleyball …

Biking is an effective way to exercise generally and confers a number of health benefits.

It is low impact, causing less strains, pulls and tears than most other forms of exercise, which, given the propensity of volleyball players to injury, is a major advantage.

It is also a good workout because it uses all the major muscle groups in the body!

And it is good for strength and stamina and overall aerobic fitness, and can be as intense as somebody may want.

It also does not require a great degree of physical skill – once the initial learning phase is over, people do not forget how to ride a bike.

And last but not least it is more fun way to exercise than many others and gives people the chance to enjoy fresh air.

Given all this, however, cycling is not specifically designed for volleyball players because the muscles are used in a different way. Sports doctors argue that a good rule of thumb for volleyball conditioning is to keep training “ground based.”

What this means in practice is that the majority of training regimes should be based with the feet on the ground because the majority of volleyball movements occur in this position.

Instead, the emphasis is often put on weight training to increase strength and power,  and jump training, which helps perform in positions like the hitter and the blocker, where the ability to jump higher, faster, and explosively is at a premium.

Helpful Tip: If you are really interested in other fitness forms (like Biking) to get in volleyball shape; then I highly invite you to have a look at this Amazing Resource. You will learn the best & easiest fitness forms to get in shape for any sport including volleyball.

Common muscles used for biking and volleyball …

volleyball muscles

The common muscles used in both sports are principally in the leg area. For example, there are the four muscles on the top of the leg in front of the thigh called the quadriceps, and the hamstrings, which are to be found at the rear of the upper leg.

And the buttocks – the gluteus maximus -also have a significant part to play.

In cycling, these muscles are the primary ones which drive the pedals and produce the power which creates forward momentum.

These same muscles are also used in volleyball for jumping, both as a hitter and a blocker, and also for serving.

In addition, cycling also relies on the muscles in the back and abdomen to try and keep the upper body stable, something that is equally important in volleyball, where balance on court is a key attribute with the frequent and sudden changes of direction that the sport entails.

And the shoulders and arms also get a work-out on a bike, especially when climbing in and out of the saddle. However, that is nothing compared to the workload that the shoulders are subject to in a volleyball game, where they are continually being stretched and hyper-extended.

While working those muscles through biking may have some benefits when it comes to volleyball, it is not the ideal way to get in the right shape to play a game …

This is because the muscles most used in volleyball are best trained by specific exercises intense exercises designed to build up the tissues and sinews followed by periods of rest, rather than the low intensity nature of most cycling.

This is particularly true of the arms, shoulders, and upper body area, because the demands of volleyball are such that most of the power and velocity is produced from these areas of the body, whereas in cycling, it mainly comes from below the waist.

Don’t forget to check this muscle building guide for volleyball players! I think you will learn a lot …

Is Biking enough for your cardio training for volleyball?

While biking is known as a good way to improve cardio vascular health, along with swimming and jogging, it is not necessarily ideal when it comes to volleyball being the only training method.

That is because these disciplines tend to focus on aerobic conditioning where people are able to indulge in activities for long periods without rest.

By contrast, what a volleyball player needs is anaerobic fitness – the ability to go hard and fast for short periods of time, with rests in between. Anaerobic conditioning needs training for explosive movements such as jumping and sprinting.

Volleyball is not a continuous sport, but one punctuated by short periods of rest – about six seconds on average between plays. It is also one that requires power and strength, and to be in the best possible shape, a player must condition specific to volleyball.

That is why interval training is an ideal form of anaerobic exercise. It consists of performing an exercise routine for a period of time, with rest intervals. For example, a volleyball player might do ten push-ups, or three sets of leg squats with a minute’s rest in-between.

In general terms an anaerobic exercise is defined as an activity that breaks down glucose for energy without using oxygen. The principle behind them is that a lot of energy is released within a short period of time, and the oxygen demanded surpasses the oxygen supply. That is why the athlete needs short periods of time to recover.

By contrast, with an aerobic activity like biking or running, the athlete is able to recover while the activity is being performed. Even long distance runners or cyclists will often take a breather during a long race, slackening off the pace in order to conserve energy. That is not possible in the middle of a volleyball exchange.

There is many debates about this topic, however, many people and experts consider volleyball as an aerobic activity!

How often should you bike as a volleyball player?

Generally speaking, cycling is a good all round to get exercise and keep fit, so if it is done every day at a low intensity rate, or as part of a regular routine – for example, travelling to work, or going to school – then there is no harm in that.

However, if it is done specifically as a manes to get fit for volleyball and is done at a higher intensity, than more care needs to be taken.

In the first place, cycling hard before every training session could mean that people are tired before they even get warmed-up.

And that is a bad idea because then it means that players are more susceptible to injury than they would otherwise be under normal circumstances.

At the same time, intense cycling, such as spinning, as a  substitute for regular training is also not advantageous because it fails to properly test many of the muscle groups used in volleyball.

Instead, it should be used as a supplement to other training regimes such as squats, jumps, and burpees, and as a way of introducing variety in tried and tested methods.

Which is best for volleyball, regular or stationary bikes?

If given a choice in preparing for volleyball, then stationary bikes are the better option. They are commonly used in gyms or health clubs, although a number of people now have them at home as well.

They have all the features of a regular bike – pedals, a saddle, and handlebars – with the key difference being that, instead of the power generated from cycling being used to propel the bike forward, it is concentrated instead into an intense work-out.

In this it replicates the nature of a game of volleyball where bursts of sustained activity are followed by intervals of rest.

Many indoor bikes also have the advantage that they are now fitted with heart monitors and a range of other devices like Fit-Bits, which helps measure the quality of exercise and enable targets to be set and progress subsequently measured.

Smooth movement can be used for a low impact work-out and this will help strengthen bones, joints, and leg muscles generally. People can then choose to step up the pace by raising the RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) for a more intense work-out.

Does biking help with vertical jumping?

The ability to vertically jump is dependent on both leg strength and explosion rates. While regular cycling can help improve both, but it is better as a warm-up, cooldown exercise than one specifically intended to help with jumping ability.

Cycling is suited to help with endurance and stamina, but, unless mountain biking, where jumps are an integral part of the sport, it does not help teach the explosive bursts of energy needed for effective jumping. Instead, the focus should be on exercise routines like squats, jumps, calf raises and hurdles – routines that are fast and weight bearing.

As an alternative, volleyball players may want to try rebounding which is performed on a mini-trampoline and gives them the experience of jumping and being in mid-air, whilst putting less stress on the joints.

However, a way to combine both is to bike spinning in a gym. But with ankle weights attached. That enables the athletes to work the twitch muscles, but, at the same time, get some resistance training with it as well.

Spinning is usually as intensive form of exercise and, especially if weights are involved, should be done in short bursts with intervals of rest between. Given that volleyball players already have a tendency to injury, over exertion in the gym must be avoided at all cost.

Final Thoughts …

This article is extremely important for some volleyball players (recreational, semi-pro & pro) who can help but find regular cardio-vascular training boring for whatever reason …

If that’s your case, then biking might be a sweet alternative to help leverage your overall shape without even realizing it. Again, biking should not be the only thing to rely on, yet it is definitely a great place to start …

Hope that was helpful!

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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