3 Important “Core” Exercises for Volleyball Players
The term core strengthening gets completely over-used in the strength training world. What does it really mean? Is it important?
There is not a real definition of core strength. When I use the word core, I refer to exercises that focus on strengthening our abs, obliques, muscles that surround the spine, and the glutes all at the same time. Exercises like planking, bridging, anti-rotational, and rotational exercises are good examples. Properly chosen core exercises is both injury preventative and performance enhancing.
The problem is many volleyball coaches put their athletes through workouts where they are performing a ton of sit-ups, back extensions, and other crazy core exercises. These exercises are NOT performance enhancing and increase the the likelihood of injuries!
Volleyball players throughout practice and matches are in defensive and passing posture for prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, passing and defensive posture causes a lot of strain on your lower back and also causes your hips to be very tight. By adding high volume crunching and extension exercises will either make the athlete more stiff or cause an injury.
If the athlete has a weak “core” and is practicing and competing at a high volume, injury potential is high!
When adding “core” exercises to a workout pick one or two good exercises. You do not need high volume core work! Athletes performing squatting, deadlifting, and lunging variations are already getting an amazing core workout through having to constantly stabilize their body.
Here are three core exercises that volleyball players should be performing. Add one or two of these exercises to your workouts or practice.
Exercise 1: Supine Bridge Windmills
This is an amazing exercise because it focuses on strengthening the muscles in our back without putting your back into a compromised position. It also helps strengthen your abs, glutes, and improves your hip mobility. Perform 3 sets of between 5 to 10 repetitions per side.
Exercise 2: Stability Ball Rollouts
This exercise is great for volleyball players at all levels because it is easy to progress. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced variations of Stability Ball Rollouts. Perform 3 sets where you focus on contracting as hard as you can.
Ab Wheel Rollouts is a more advanced variation of Stability Ball Rollouts.
Exercise 3: Cable Oblique Twists
The reason I added this exercise into the mix is because a lot of power when attacking is created through a powerful trunk rotation. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles necessary to produce a powerful trunk rotation. Select a weight that is not overly heavy but provides a decent resistance to the rotation. Perform 3 sets of 8 reps per side.
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