Is Swimming a Good Activity for Volleyball? (Explained)


is swimming good for volleyball

Swimming is one of the best activities out there (one of my favorite ones) that can give you a significant advantage for other activities and sports including “Volleyball”! Indeed …

Swimming is a great way to build high conditioning and endurance levels. These are crucial for a sport like volleyball that usually requires a relentless pace throughout the game and during hard practice sessions.

In this article, I address some amazing swimming benefits that will represent a great asset for anyone who wants to practice volleyball. I also dive deep into the right ways you should swim to put this into your advantage.

Swimming benefits that can help with volleyball …

Swimming is a great off-season activity for volleyball players to help maintaining the conditioning levels they have achieved during regular practices. This is extremely important even for experienced volleyball players!

Swimming, just like volleyball involves your entire body, but at a higher level, giving you the advantage at maintaining your readiness at all times.

Few disciplines can claim they are the ultimate body workout, yet swimming is one of them!

Besides working your muscles, swimming is also, as mentioned before, a discipline that can help you maintain, and in some cases improve your athletic body look, thus, effectively keeping you in Top shape.

Besides these two benefits, swimming can also help regulate fat and calories. It is a low-impact workout that helps you burn additional calories and fat.

Finally, swimming is a great way for recovery, especially after hard training sessions!

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

Common muscles used for swimming and volleyball.

volleyball muscles

Below are the most important muscles used for both volleyball and swimming that you should focus on …

The upper legs and hips

  • These muscles are a part of the legs particularly the region called the gluteal region, also called the buttock. They are separated into three smaller categories, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
  • In human anatomy hamstrings are regarded as all posterior thigh muscles between the hips and knees. They are divided in the following order, the semimembranosus, the semitendinosus and biceps femoris.
  • The quadriceps represents a group of 4 large muscles located in the frontal part of the leg. It represents the rectos femoris muscle, the vastus lateralis muscle, vastus medialis muscle and vastus intermedius muscle.

Lower leg muscles

  • The gastrocnemius spreads from the knee to the heel. It is comprised of two parts, the inner head and outer head.
  • The soleus is a muscle that is tightly connected to the gastrocnemius and is involved in standing. Together with the gastrocnemius it makes the calf. Some anatomists consider the gastrocnemius and the soleus to be a single muscle called the triceps surae.
  • The tibialis or tibialis is located in the lateral side of the tibia and is thick and fleshy above and tendious below.

The muscles of the shoulders

  • Deltoids are comprised of three muscles anterior, posterior and intermediate muscles, although there are indications that they are made out of seven muscles.
  • The rotator cuff muscles are those of the shoulders and are comprised out of four muscles, the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the teres minor and subscapularis.

The muscles of the upper arms

  • Biceps is maybe the most well-known muscle of all. It is comprised of two heads, hence the name biceps, and is responsible for flexing the arm.
  • Triceps is comprised of three heads, hence the name triceps. It consists of the medial, the lateral and long head. It is located in the back of the upper arm.
  • Wrist flexors are just a single muscle group that allow you to flex your wrist both upwards and downwards.
  • Wrist extensors are located in the back of the forearm and are responsible for joint movement in the hand. Better said, they allow you to open and close your hand.

The core muscles

  • Rectus abdominus is a single vertical and parallel muscle that runs all the way from your pubic part of the body to the breasts. It is better known as a six pack, but it is comprised of eight muscles.
  • The obliques are a pair of muscles that surround the rectus abdominus from two sides. They are comprised of interior and exterior oblique muscles.
  • Spinal erectors are a group of muscles that are located at the back of the body, the back. They originate near the sacrum and extend vertically up the length of the back.

Finally I highly invite you to check this article on how to build your muscles for volleyball!

Is swimming enough for your cardio training for volleyball?

Swimming is a great cardio exercise and can help you a lot when it comes to maintaining your cardiovascular abilities and readiness regarding for volleyball games …

However, Swimming alone is not 100% enough for full maintenance …You need to combine swimming with other cardio disciplines.

During the off-season, volleyball players often have enough time to engage in different sports disciplines and practices. That’s why you would have to do some long distance running, bicycling and swimming.

Since it is the off-season, there is a chance that you might fall out of shape, and that’s why you would need to combine all of the mentioned practices in order to stay in shape.

Keep in mind that some people believe that since volleyball is a real aerobic sport, they think that swimming is more than enough to help your cardio for volleyball!

How often should you swim as a volleyball player?

It is best to practice swimming 2 to 3 times a week off-season, combine that with bicycling or running every other day and you can get a full cardio weekly practice that can maintain your readiness levels.

If you would want to enhance your levels of readiness, you can step it up by swimming 3 to 4 times a week. Bicycling or running can also be stepped up by adding the mileage you cross with every practice.

If you want to practice swimming during the season, then I personally don’t advice you to do so (at least not excessively) as this might distract you from your main discipline …

During the season it is best to practice swimming 1 to maximum 2 times a week. You can do it before or after your practice.

Does crawl swimming help with serving and spiking?

Crawl swimming can absolutely help your serving and spiking abilities for volleyball. In fact it is maybe one of the best options when it comes to training your muscles for those two volleyball moves.

Serving is maybe the most critical of all volleyball moves. It is the move that starts the game and every set …

Hitting the ball during a serve comes mainly from the shoulder. The power hit is derived from the strength of your shoulder, and that also applies for spiking.

Crawl swimming can help you develop the muscles of the upper arms and it can also help you with your cardio since your head will be in the water most of the time. However it is not wise to rely only on crawl swimming for the upper arms.

All in all, crawl swimming is (in my opinion) a great way to build your upper body muscles and strenght for volleyball!

Final Thoughts …

I honestly believe that this article is very important for some volleyball players (recreational, semi-pro & pro) who find regular cardio-vascular training boring for whatever reason …

If that’s your case, then swimming might be a great alternative to help leverage your overall shape. Again, swimming should not be the only type of training 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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