Lessen your risk of injury by working on your stability and strength throughout your body

By Dr. Katherine DeJesus, DPT

With summer and warm weather approaching, beach volleyball will start to see a resurgence in popularity. Regular folks enjoying the outdoors will start to spike the ball and athletes who have played indoors all year will now be migrating back outside to enjoy the feeling of sand beneath their toes and the warm sunshine on their backs. With this change in scenery and activity though, it is important for these athletes to cross train, and build up strength in key areas to improve their game and prevent injury.

Like any other sport, cross training is a valuable part of participating in any sport and should be included to prevent injury. Even if you’re just playing volleyball recreationally, you can use the exercises below to improve strength and prevent injury this summer (while simultaneously impressing your friends with your skills and strength at the net).

Download the full exercise plan here.


Hips and Knees

One of the most important areas of the game is the surface of the court, which during the summer is often sand. Building hip and knee stabilization exercises with dynamic movements is a good way to prevent injury and allow for stability and quick movement in the sand.

Do all the exercises below about 4 times a week. Do 3 sets of each, with 10 reps per set.

Quick jumps (in the sand, preferably)

Stand in the sand and jump quickly up and down on the uneven surface. This allows your ankles to get used to uneven surfaces.

Squat Jumps (in the sand, preferably)

Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart.  Bend your knees and slowly lower your body into a squat position keeping your core engaged. Explode through your feet and jump as high as you can straight up. When landing make sure you land soft with your knees bent back into a squat position. Repeat as prescribed.

Lunges (in the sand, preferably)

Begin in a standing position, with your feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with one leg and bend both knees to drop your body toward the ground. For the leg you stepped with, make sure your knee does not go past your toes.

 

Sidesteps with a Theraband

Stand with a mini band around your knees. Push your hips back and lean forward at your waist.  Sit down into a mini squat position and then step sideways, stretching the elastic.  Step back and forth across the room. Repeat as prescribed. Be sure to always keep tension on the band, you will feel the fatigue on the outside of your hips.

Lateral shuffling

Starting position is standing with feet hip width apart, knees and hips slightly bent. Bring hands up in front of your chest. Begin exercise by moving your right foot to the right and following with your left in a quick manner. Repeat these steps until you have covered the desired distance and the repeat going the opposite direction. Keep your chest up and abdominals tight as you move. Repeat specified number of repetitions.

 

 

Lats, Rhomboids and Traps

The activities that volleyball players perform usually lead to them being stronger in their chest muscles and weaker in the upper back muscles. In order to balance the demands of the sport, strengthening lats, rhomboids, and traps are necessary. Exercises like rows, lat pull downs, and shoulder extensions can help build the upper back strength necessary to prevent injuries such as shoulder impingement.

Do all the exercises below about 3 times a week. Do 3 sets of each, with 10 reps per set.

Shoulder extensions

Begin by placing an exercise band securely in a doorway at chest height.  Grab ahold of both ends of the exercise band and place your arms straight out infront of you.  Slowly bring your arms back to your sides, keeping your elbows straight and squeezing your shoulder blades down and together. Slowly return to starting position.  Repeat as directed.

 

Lat Pull Down

Hold an elastic band with both arms in front of you and with your elbows straight. Your arms should be elevated. Next, pull the band downwards and back towards your sides as you bend your elbows. Keep torso elevated as you extend your arms back to starting position.

Rows

If you use a band, you should stand upright. Begin by placing an exercise band securely in a doorway at chest height.  Grab a hold of both ends of the exercise band and place your arms straight out in front of you.  Slowly bring your arms back to your sides, bending at your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together as your do.  Repeat as directed.

 

 

The Rotator Cuff

The last area of strengthening that volleyball players want to focus on is the shoulder itself. From serving to hitting, and even to blocking, this area of the body is the most used during the course of the game. In order to prevent injury, rotator cuff strengthening exercises should be part of a cross training routine.

Do all the exercises below about 3 times a week. Do 3 sets of each, with 10 reps per set.

External rotation at 90 degrees

Begin by placing an exercise band high up in a doorway. Stand facing the door. Grasp the band with the arm you wish to exercise and lift your arm up to the side until it is parallel with the floor. Bend your elbow until it is at 90 degrees with your fist pointed toward the door. Slowly rotate at your shoulder, bringing your fist upward toward the ceiling, keeping your upper arm parallel to the ground and your elbow bent to 90 degrees.

Internal rotation at 90 degrees

Begin by placing an exercise band high up in a doorway. Stand facing away from the door. Grasp the band with the arm you wish to exercise and lift your arm up to the side until it is parallel with the floor. Bend your elbow until it is at 90 degrees with your fist pointed toward the ceiling. Slowly rotate at your shoulder, bringing your hand forward and away from the door, keeping your upper arm parallel to the ground and your elbow bent to 90 degrees.

X-ed Shoulder Raise with Band

Starting position is standing on resistance band and holding each end with your arms crossed over in front of you and thumbs pointing towards your pockets. Begin exercise by moving your arms diagonally away from your body as you rotate your arms and hands away from your body. Your thumbs should be pointing away and to the back of you and arms in a “Y” position. Slowly return to starting position by reversing the movement. Repeat for specified number of repetitions.


Dr. Katherine DeJesus, DPT, has worked with Performance Physical Therapy since 2015 at the Providence clinic. She has a bachelor’s degree and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Boston University and is certified in manual therapy, dry needling and the Graston Technique. Dr. DeJesus specializes in treating general and post-surgical orthopedics, manual therapy and aquatics.