“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”
John Wooden

Saturday, July 11, 2015

3 Reasons Volleyball Players Should Lift

By Christye Estes
June 3, 2015

Blair Brown, Katie Slay and Deja McClendon block in Penn State's 2010 NCAA semifinal sweep of Texas.

If you look at a pro volleyball player, you’ll see some serious muscle. Strong quads, flexible and functional hamstrings, and powerful glutes—male and female players alike, good volleyball players are so strong, it shows. Volleyball is a tough sport, demanding speed, agility, and explosiveness all in one athlete. Ask any pro where they built those traits, and they’ll tell you: in the weight room.

Strength training is beneficial for most sports, but essential for volleyball athletes. Even though there are many specific skills necessary for success, you cannot build these skills without a solid foundation of strength. Lifting—even for young athletes just starting their athletic career—is a crucial training tool for building that strength foundation needed to out-jump, out-cut, and out-sprint opponents. Here are my top 3 reasons volleyball players should spend more time in the weight room—now!

1. Strength and Power

It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you want to be a strong and powerful player, resistance training is how to do it. Lifting weights stimulates muscle fibers to grow in size (hypertrophy), to produce more force per contraction (strength), and to fire at faster rates (power). How does lifting do this?

Not to get too technical, but there are several changes that take place within muscle cells (also called fibers) after beginning a strength training program. The first (and arguably most influential) changes that occur are neuromuscular, involving the connection between your muscles and your brain. In order for your biceps to contract, for example, your brain must first send a signal to all the individual fibers in the biceps muscle to call them into action. When you first start strength training, only some of your muscle fibers will respond to your brain’s request for activation. But as you continue to challenge these fibers through strength training, more and more muscle fibers will be activated.

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