When it comes to excelling in the dynamic and fast-paced sport of volleyball, having a strong core is crucial. A robust core not only enhances your overall stability and balance but also improves your power and agility on the court. As a physical therapist specializing in sports rehabilitation, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact that core strengthening exercises can have on volleyball players. In this blog post, we will explore four of the best exercises to strengthen your core and unleash your full potential on the volleyball court.
Planks are an excellent starting point for core strengthening as they engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Begin with a basic plank by assuming a push-up position with your forearms resting on the ground. Engage your core, maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, and hold the position for 30-60 seconds. As you progress, incorporate variations such as side planks to target the oblique muscles, and plank with leg lifts to further challenge your stability and balance.
Volleyball requires rotational power, and Russian twists are an effective exercise to develop core strength in that aspect. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet slightly off the floor. Lean back to engage your core and maintain a straight spine. Hold a medicine ball or weight in front of you and twist your torso from side to side, tapping the ball or weight on the ground beside you with each twist. Aim for 10-15 repetitions on each side, gradually increasing the weight as you progress.
Dead Bug Exercise:
The dead bug exercise is a fantastic way to strengthen your core while improving coordination and stability. Begin by lying on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Engage your core, press your lower back into the floor, and slowly extend your right arm overhead while simultaneously straightening your left leg, keeping it just above the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each side, focusing on controlled and smooth movements.
Fig 1. Traditional dead bug; opposite arm and leg extend
Fig 2. Upper extremity hold with theraband;
still extend one leg at a time while holding band straight
Medicine Ball Rotational Throws:
To enhance your explosive power and rotational strength, incorporate medicine ball rotational throws into your training regimen. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Rotate your torso to one side while keeping your hips facing forward, and explosively throw the ball against a wall or to a partner. Catch the ball and repeat the movement to the other side. Perform 8-10 throws on each side, gradually increasing the intensity and weight of the medicine ball as you become more proficient.
A strong core is the foundation for success in volleyball, and these four exercises will help you unlock your full potential on the court. Incorporate plank variations to improve overall stability, Russian twists for rotational power, dead bug exercises for coordination and stability, and medicine ball rotational throws to enhance explosive power. Remember to start with proper form and gradually increase the intensity as your core strength improves.
As a physical therapist and volleyball coach, these are my go-to exercises for players of all levels. Keep in mind that consistency and patience are key. Be sure to integrate these exercises into a well-rounded training program and monitor your progress over time.
With dedication, perseverance, and a strong core, you will be well on your way to dominating the volleyball court. If you are looking for further guidance, our volleyball specific rehab plans are a great place to start. Reach out to schedule an appointment today.
Thanks for reading,
Ashleigh Tompa, PT, DPT
Ashleigh is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a specific interest in manual therapy, sports orthopedics, and women's health. She is either working out at the YMCA, coaching A5 volleyball or watching Star Wars content with her boyfriend, Bin, and their two dogs.