Turn It On This Offseason

Offseason workout from the Boston Institute of Jump

Though almost all beach volleyball players hate winter, these frigid months are good for at least one thing: making gains in the weight room. Taking full advantage of the offseason will allow you to excel when you return to the court in the spring.

Some athletes neglect their offseason training regime because of fear of injury or perhaps they simply lack the knowledge of which exercises will benefit their game the most. However, with informed coaching and the implementation of proper body mechanics, all athletes can benefit from offseason lifting and actually help prevent injuries in the process.

Research has shown that explosive Olympic lifts increase an individual’s vertical-jump height, one of the most common things volleyball players say they want to work on in the offseason. With that in mind, here at the Boston Institute of Jump (BIJ), weve developed an offseason lifting program that uses Olympic lifts as a base but also uses a variety of bodyweight and dumbbell exercises to foster graceful and coordinated movements that profit all airborne athletes.

These exercises train the body to be more explosive vertically and rotationally, the combo of which will lend great force to your attacks. Volleyball players generate power in their lower bodies, which is then transferred through the trunk and into the shoulders, arms, and hands. Movements that encourage the entire body to work as a unit are more relevant to volleyball conditioning than those which isolate a single muscle.

As with every movement you make in the weight room and on the court, proper mechanics will increase efficiency and will yield better results. So pay close attention to the exercise descriptions, and make sure to check out the video to see the workout in action.

Single-Leg Bridge
Target: Glute and hamstring fast-twitch muscle development

Lie faceup on the ground with your arms at 45-degree angles to your sides. Put your heels as close to your hips as possible, feet flat on the ground.

Pushing downward through your heels and outward through the insides of your feet, extend your hips upward, knees and feet hip-width apart, abdominals contracted. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Put your weight into the right foot and extend the left leg up toward the ceiling (A). With the left leg extended and the foot flexed, slowly lower your hips back to the ground and then extend your hips upward, keeping the knee of the plant leg gently squeezing in (B). After completing your reps, switch legs.

Reps: 3×10 per leg

Coaching Tips
Pull heels in as close to butt as possible
Push hips as high as you can
Keep abs in tight

Med Ball Speed Russian Twists
Target: Explosive rotation and strength

Start on the ground in an upright, seated position.

Place your palms on the floor next to your hips to support your body, and bend your knees to place your feet flat on the floor. Then hover your feet a few inches off the ground, maintaining dorsiflexion.

Contract your abdominals as if to pull your belly button toward your spine and lean your upper body back about 45 degrees. Avoid rounding your back.

Lift your hands off the floor and balance your weight on your glutes. Pick up the medicine ball and hold it at head height on one side of your body (A).

Drop the ball and twist your torso to the other side, trying to touch the floor on the opposite side (B) and turn back in time to catch the medicine ball before its second bounce. Move only your upper body and keep your abdominals engaged throughout the motion.

Reps: 3×10 per side

Coaching Tips:
Avoid using momentum and instead control the motion
Dont let your feet touch ground
Increase the weight of the med ball for an added challenge

Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
Target: Explosive hip development

Begin in an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in one hand with the weight hanging between your knees. Make sure to have abdominals in tight and your back flat (A).

Squat slightly, then quickly press through your heels to explosively propel the dumbbell upward (B).

Extend your hips while pulling the dumbbell up, allowing momentum to carry it above your shoulder.

Catch the dumbbell overhead with your arm straight and knees bent (C). Stand up straight and hold this fully extended position for one second before lowering (D).

Reps: 3×6 per arm

Coaching tips
Bring dumbbell up in a straight line
Keep dumbbell close to body
Use lower body to explode weight up
Focus on form rather than amount of weight

Linear Dumbbell Hip-Flexibility Drill (Dumbbell Lunge)
Target: Hip stability and leg strength

Start standing with good posture with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides, dumbbells in hand (A).

Lift your left leg, bending the knee at a 90-degree angle and flexing the foot (B).

Extend the raised leg and take a comfortable, but long, step forward, lowering your body into a lunge position as your leading left foot touches the ground (C).

Extend your back hip toward the front foot without arching your back. Check that your forward knee is directly above your ankle, holding that 90-degree angle, and extend through your back heel (D).

Keeping hips extended, bring the back leg forward, driving through your front heel, and return to a standing position, maintaining perfect posture and abdominal contraction throughout (E).

Repeat on the other leg.

Reps: 3×8 per leg

Coaching tips
Keep back flat and chest up
Dont take too big of a stride

Hang Clean
Target: Explosive hip development

Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands outside your hips. Lift the bar off the rack and stand with your feet hip-width apart and with weight on the inside of your feet (A).

Keeping your abs tight and maintaining good posture with arms relaxed and straight, bend your knees and retract (load) your hips back as if you were preparing to do an explosive squat (B).

Once the bar gets down to about mid-thigh, use your hips to explosively extend your legs and pull the bar upward, keeping the bar very close to your body.

Keep your elbows as high as possible and out to your sides as you bring the bar to chest level.

Quickly pull your body under the bar by rotating your hands and elbows under it, catching the bar with your hands and shoulders. As your elbows and hands rotate around the bar, allow your hips to retract back slightly, as if you were squatting, as you absorb the weight of the bar (C).

Youre now in a front squat position. Think about squeezing your legs together, while keeping the feet and knees hip-width apart, and pressing through the floor on the inside of your feet.

Keeping your abs tight, and chest up, press through your heels to extend your legs and return to standing position (D).

Once at the top, rotate your wrists and elbows around the bar and carefully lower it to the starting position, keeping the bar very close to your body. Make sure your feet are in the correct position and repeat for reps.

Reps: 4×6

Coaching tips
Keep bar close to body
Use lower body to explode weight up
Focus on form rather than amount of weight


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