Volleyball plyometrics can help to increase your vertical jump and explosive power around the court. However, they should be performed alongside or following a sport-specific resistance training program.
While plyometrics is a very effective form of power training (and volleyball-specific), there are some important considerations to consider before adopting this form of conditioning into your routine.
Remember firstly that explosive power is a function of both strength and speed of muscular contraction. Volleyball plyometrics exercises will help condition your neuromuscular system to apply a greater level of force in a shorter period of time. However, if you lack basic strength, their effectiveness will be limited.
Plyometric training also places a high level of stress on joints, connective tissue and the neuromuscular system. Without a well-developed strength base, stress related injuries are much more likely to occur.
Other important guidelines relate to the amount of ground contacts in a single session, the number of sessions per week and the surface on which volleyball plyometrics are performed. For a detailed explanation of these parameters please read this plyometrics article.
Volleyball Plyometrics Drills
This sample program consists of two volleyball plyometrics sessions per week. This is perfectly adequate to convert strength in sport-specific power and reduces the risk of over-training that can occur with more sessions each week.
Plyometrics are usually performed during the mid to late pre-season phase of training. The closed season and early pre-season can be used to develop functional and maximal strength, which is then converted to explosive power.
Because these volleyball plyometrics exercises require maximal effort and a high quality of movement, dont perform any other training immediately before such as endurance runs, resistance training or speed training. Of course it goes without saying that a thorough warm-up should be completed first.
This routine uses a medicine ball for upper body plyometric exercises. Medicine balls are the perfect piece of equipment for developing highly specific volleyball drills. They are generally available in 1kg, 2,kg, 4kg and 5kg (2lb, 4lb, 6lb, 10lb) weights and as heavy as 10kg (20lb). Remember, for these drills to create power they must be performed explosively. If the weight is too heavy and the movement is slow then the desired training effect wont occur so stick to less than 5kg.
Drill #1 Depth jumps
- Stand on box with toes close to edge and facing the hoop.
- Step off (dont jump off) box and land on both feet. Immediately jump up and reach with both hands towards the sky.
- Ground contact time should be minimal (dont sink into the ground) and landings should be soft.
Drill #2 Over The Back Toss
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Have a partner or trainer stand approximately 10-15 yards behind you.
- Grasp ball and lower body into a semi-squat position. Explode up extending background- the entire body and throwing medicine ball up and over the head.
- The aim is to throw the ball behind you as far as you can and generating most of the power in the legs.
- Catch ball on the bounce from your partner and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.
Drill # 3 Lateral High Hops
- Stand to left side of box and place right foot on top of box.
- Push off the box using the right leg only and explode vertically as high as possible. Drive the arms forward and up for maximum height.
- Land with opposite foot onto box. Repeat with the other foot.
- Repeat according to prescribed number of repetitions.
Drill #4 Squat Throws From Chest
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Knees should be slightly bent.
- Hold medicine ball at chest level and squat down to a parallel position.
- Quickly explode up and jump as high as you can. As you start your jump you should throw the medicine ball as high as possible.
- Let the ball bounce away from you rather than trying to catch it.
Drill #5 Single Arm Throws
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Place hand under medicine ball and lower body into a semi-squat position.
- Explode up extending the entire body and throwing the medicine ball up into the air.
- The aim is to throw the ball as high as you can and generating most of the power in the legs.
- Catch ball on the bounce and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.
Drill #6 Hurdle Jumps
- Stand 1-2 feet away from hurdle. Feet should be slightly wider than hip-width apart in a semi-squat position.
- Driving the arms up and jump over hurdle.
- Upon landing, quickly jump over next hurdle.
Drill #7 Wall Throws
- Stand with one foot in front (staggered stance) or with feet together and knees slightly bent.
- Pull medicine ball back behind head and forcefully throw ball forward as far as possible into the wall.
- Catch ball on the bounce from the wall and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.
Drill #8 Lateral Barrier Jumps
- Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with right side of body facing the barrier.
- Hop to the right using both feet over the barrier.
- jump back to the start point.
- Repeat according to the prescribed number of repetitions.
Sample Volleyball Plyometrics Session
- Depth jumps – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Over The Back Toss – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Lateral High Hops – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Squat Throws From Chest – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Single Arm Throws – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Hurdle Jumps – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Wall Throws – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Lateral Barrier Jumps – 3 sets x 8-10 reps
Jacky has a degree in Sports Science and is a Certified Sports and Conditioning Coach. He has also worked with clients around the world as a personal trainer.
He has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of people from very different ends of the fitness spectrum. Through promoting positive health changes with diet and exercise, he has helped patients recover from aging-related and other otherwise debilitating diseases.
He spends most of his time these days writing fitness-related content of some form or another. He still likes to work with people on a one-to-one basis – he just doesn’t get up at 5am to see clients anymore.