Volleyball is one of those sports that involve almost all body parts and muscles …
Starting from your hands, arms, shoulders, abdominal muscles and ending by your legs, thighs and calves! Volleyball is a fun way to train most of your body parts easily during one game or training session.
In this article, I breakdown every body part involved in volleyball, as well as, how you can reinforce those body parts to become better at volleyball.
Upper body parts used in volleyball
Hands and arms have an integral part to play in volleyball, they are used to block, serve, and spike the ball, as well as to pass the ball over the net.
Meanwhile, the wrists bear much of the heavy load. It is impossible to play the sport without engaging the wrist flexors – the carpi radialis, the carpi ulnaris, the digitorum superficialis and the pollicis longus which are on the front of the forearms and contract when the wrists are moved forward to strike the ball.
Keep in mind that arms are the most vulnerable to injuries, that’s why it is highly recommended to use arm sleeves (Check this example Here at Amazon)
Shoulder joints also play an essential role. They allow a person to raise and swing their arms to hit the ball. Shoulder flexors help raise the arm and the shoulder extensors are also involved when playing the ball.
These are made up of the coracobrachialis, the pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid, whilst the triceps support elbow movement as the arm is extended towards the ball.
Players who are able to extend their shoulders the fastest have an advantage over others because they can hit the ball with the most power and speed.
One way to exercise the shoulder muscles is to use dumbbells, because these target all the muscles in this important area. It is recommend using two dumbbells – as opposed to one – because that prevents people favouring one side to the body over the other.
The seated dumbbell shoulder press involves sitting on a low back bench and holding a dumbbell in each hand. They should be at shoulder level, with the palms of the hand facing forwards.
Keeping the head and spine straight, the dumbbells should be lifted overhead towards one another, although they should not actually touch at the top.
Another way to exercise the shoulder muscles is to use a weight plate, although care should be taken not to try and left something beyond an individual’s capabilities.
To execute this routine a person should hold the weight in front of them, with the hands kept at weight height. The feet should be level with the shoulders and the core of the body should remain tight.
The next step is to retract the shoulder blades,. Keeping the arms straight, as the weight is lifted to shoulder level. Breathing steadily, the weight should then be lowered carefully.
Finally, keep in mind that shoulders injuries are quite common in this sport, that’s why you need to learn how to properly tape your shoulders for volleyball!
Lower down the abdominal muscles help keep the body stable and eliminate excess movement. Having strong abdominal muscles may help improve speed and power, and may also influence balance.
You can learn more about the upper body parts used in volleyball!
Last, but certainly not least, there is the most important muscle in any human being which is the brain. This is key for developing an understanding of the game, which strategies to adopt, and which tactics to adopt in any given situation.
Players are constantly engaging their brains whilst playing, even if it is sub-consciously, guiding all the hundreds of small decisions that they make in the course of a game.
One way to train the brain is to watch videos of top players in action, paying particular attention to their technique. Where do they stand on court, what is their stance and their movement?
Lower body parts used for volleyball
Leg muscles are the foundation for any volleyball player and, at some stage during a game all of them are likely to be used in some capacity or another.
The calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hip flexors are all essential for running and scrambling around the court, but they are also essential when it comes to producing sift, explosive jumps.
Strong leg muscles help give a player the power needed for high leaps, effective jump serves, setting, blocking, and spiking at the net.
At the same time the average game of volleyball involves a lot of running and jumping. Flexible ankles help a player to pivot and turn quickly without risking an injury.
Running also requires flexible hips, knees, and ankle joints to really lift the legs up and them plant them where required. Crouching down and then exploding upwards either to dig the ball upwards or spiking it, will call all these lower joints into action.
You can learn more about what makes volleyball players thighs as big!
It is recommended that all volleyball players, regardless of age or ability, should undertake exercises to help protect the knees, which arguably take more punishment than any other part of the body during a game.
Knees are involved in all aspects of the game, from passing to umping. Key elements of healthy knees are flexibility and strength.
Helpful Tip: A great way to protect your knees while playing volleyball is by using knee pads. Those quality knee pads are a great example and would help preventing most injuries and shocks that could happen to your knees.
There are ranges of stretching exercises which can be done to prevent sore knees, which can side-line a player for weeks on end.
Calf-stretching – Holding each calf for 10 seconds before switching legs. This should be done at least five times with each leg.
Quadriceps Stretching – Again the stretch should be held for at least ten seconds before switching legs. Some people have trouble maintaining their balance when performing this routine, but a way to overcome this problem is to touch the belly button with the index finger of the opposite hand.
Hamstrings are located on the back of the leg, are crucial for sprinting around the court because of their role in both hip and knee flexion, which occurs every time somebody takes a step.
Hamstrings are known as fast-twitch muscles, precisely because of their ability to help generate speed.
There are a number of ways that the hamstrings can be exercised, even at home by those with busy timetables or who cannot get access to a gym.
For example, as a starter there is the routine known as “Good Mornings”.
- Here a person stands with their feet hip-width apart, and with the hands placed behind the head with the elbows wide apart.
- Keeping the knees slightly bent, lunge forward at the hips until the chest is almost parallel with the floor. Then press the hips back whilst keeping the spine and abdominal muscles straight.
- The next stage is to squeeze the hamstrings and glutes, pushing the hips forward and rising up, before returning to the starting position.
This is considered as one repetition. It is recommended that 10 repetitions are practiced before taking a break.
A variation of this exercise is to take two dumbbells and rest them on the backs of the shoulders behind the head.
It is also possible to strengthen the hamstrings …
- One way to do this is to lie flat with the stomach down on a table or bench, with the knees near the end.
- The knee should be bent and the ankle raised to about a 45 degree position.
- Hold the pose for ten seconds and then switch legs. Resistance bands can also be used to increase the difficulty by adding the weight that has to be lifted.
Equally the calf muscles are also involved in sprinting. The larger of the two, the gastrocnemius assists with the bending of the knee, and combines with the soleus to produce plantarflexion, the act which causes the foot to point away from the body.
Keep in mind that the lower body part (at least in my opinion) is what makes volleyball players really strong!
Meanwhile, the quadriceps is another group of muscles that work together to produce movement. Situated on the front of the thigh, they help produce knee extension and hip flexion.
Quadricepses, among the largest muscles in the body, are responsible for generating a substantial quantity of power with each stride.
Repetitive jumping over an extended period of time might cause tears in the quadriceps tendon, with the probability increasing the older somebody gets.
The glutes – the gluteus maximus, minimum and medius – make up the buttocks and help rotate and extend the thighs.
Having strong glutes can help prevent conditions like lower back pain, and iliotibial ban d syndrome.
Overusing these muscles by repeatedly performing an activity, like many of the set plays in volleyball, can cause gluteal strain, which is a painful condition.
Final Thoughts …
Finally, it should be pointed out that the body needs time to recover from challenging workouts and games.
It is, therefore, recommended that a rest day is scheduled in at least once a week, although this does not mean complete inactivity. Rather take a walk or chill out with family or friends.
And care should be taken to make sure that the body is properly hydrated at all times to ensure that it is in peak condition to cope with the demands of playing volleyball regularly.