Volleyball is an athletic sport that requires strength, agility and control. Leaping into the air and spiking a volleyball takes explosive power and coordination. The regulation height of a volleyball net for a women's game is 7 feet, 4 1/8 inches high, making powerful leg muscles a prerequisite for the sport. Luckily, you don't have to be facing a team of giant goddesses from the Amazon to get volleyball legs of your own. With the right exercises you can work out like the pros do. You'll improve your jumping ability and get lean, mean volleyball legs in no time.
Start your volleyball leg workout with a basic bridge exercise to warm up. This exercise targets the hamstrings and three main muscles of the gluteus. Lie down on the floor with your feet placed flat on the ground, about hip-width apart. Your arms should be out at 45-degree angles to stabilize the movements of the exercise. Then, lift your hips up off the floor, squeezing the gluteus muscles and calves for 30 seconds. Slowly, release the tension and bring your lower body back down to the floor. Repeat this exercise for seven to 10 repetitions. For an added challenge, try pushing your hips up until your heels come off the floor. You can also try this exercise with alternating single-leg repetitions.
Plyometric Box Jumps
According to "Volleyball Magazine," "proper muscularly coordinated jumping mechanics [is] the key to vertical athleticism in volleyball." So, to increase your vertical leap and reaction time, work on plyometric box jumps. Be sure to use a box height that provides a challenge but doesn't compromise the basic form of your jump. With both feet together, leap to the top of the box. Step back down to the ground with a fluid hop and repeat the jump again. Do three sets of 10 to 15 jumps each. Next, progress to single leg box jumps. You can place one leg behind your body or slightly in front, whichever feels more balanced. If the single leg jump is too challenging, then lower the box height so you can maintain proper form. Perform a single set of five to 10 jumps for each leg.
Lunge and Scissor Jumps
The lunge and scissor jump drill targets the quadriceps muscle group and the adductor magnus muscle of the inner thigh. Place your hands on your hips and step forward with your lead leg. Bend at the knee and bring your lower leg down until it almost touches the floor. This is the standard lunge form. Then, leap as high as you can and scissor kick the legs in midair. As you land, place the opposite leg in front to repeat the drill. Perform three sets of 15 to 20 jumps. For a more advanced workout, progress to the second stage of this exercise. Place your hands on your head and repeat the exercise for the same amount of repetitions. This drill takes a considerable amount of technique and works on proper muscle coordination.
Weightlifting is an important component of an effective volleyball leg workout. It helps to work on strength endurance, which is the body's ability to maintain powerful actions over an extended period of time. Dumbbell lunges with low weights and high repetitions are perfect for building the muscle endurance necessary for long volleyball matches. Hold the dumbbells down to your side with the palms facing inward. Bend your knees and step forward with your lead leg. Dip your back leg down, as close to the ground as you can go without touching it. Push back up with your lead leg and take a step forward with your back leg. Repeat this step, alternating legs, for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
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