Volleyball was invented in 1895, and much has changed throughout the game's history, including the rules -- for example, volleyball was originally intended to be played with nine innings. But the players have changed as well. As you may have noticed from your own experiences, volleyball players are getting bigger and stronger. This makes games more competitive but also opens up opportunities to improve your overall health and volleyball skill through training. One beneficial "side effect" of volleyball training is that it can tone your upper arms.
Upper Arm Muscles
Before you can tone your upper arms, you'll need a brief overview of the musculature; this can help you choose appropriate exercises. Thankfully, your upper arms are relatively simple in terms of muscles, as there are only two major muscles -- the triceps and the biceps. Your triceps -- located on the back of your arm -- account for two-thirds of the muscle mass on your upper arm, while the biceps account for the other third.
Working Out to Tone
Not every workout is ideal for toning, even if you target the right muscles. In fact, it's crucial that you perform the right number of repetitions and sets to promote toning. According to the American Council on Exercise, performing exercises for three to six sets of six to 12 repetitions will help you build muscle. This promotes toning more than other repetition schemes, which may promote only muscular endurance or raw strength. And don't worry about getting bulky -- your hormonal composition is different from that of a man, so women with muscles tend to achieve a toned look, rather than the big, hulky appearance of men.
Volleyball Muscle Movements
Your biceps and triceps are responsible for different actions during volleyball games. If you have a particular skill or area of your game you wish to improve, focusing on the muscle involved in that movement may help. Generally, your biceps produce the force that bends your arm, while your triceps help extend your arm. Thus, actions such as serving and spiking, which involve extending your arm from a bent position, rely heavily on your triceps. Meanwhile, setting and digging are aided by the bending of your arm at the elbow, so strengthening your biceps can assist your performance with those moves.
Exercises for Toning
Whether you're working at home or in a well-equipped gym, you'll have plenty of exercises available for toning your triceps and biceps. Pushups, triceps pulldowns, military presses, and triceps kickbacks can help tone your triceps. Meanwhile, pullups, barbell and dumbbell curls, and barbell rows can help tone your biceps.
- USA Volleyball: Historical
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training; Michael A. Clark
- American Council on Exercise: When Strength Training, is it Better to do More Reps with Lighter Weights or Fewer Reps with Heavier Weights?
- Now Boot Camp: Myth Busting: Strength Training Gives Women Bulky Muscles
- Black 100/Photodisc/Getty Images