What Are the Best Warm-Up Exercises for Volleyball Players?

Whether you’re preparing for a championship match or just getting ready for a weekday practice, a proper warm-up routine not only ensures your body is loose and flexible to go when you hit the court, but it also helps prevent injury and train at a more optimal level.

The benefits of stretching are well documented. Taking just 5 – 10 minutes before you play make can a huge difference in your performance.

  Additionally, having a stretching routine when you finish playing or working-out it is advisable as well because your body/muscles need to relax from the intensity of the active exertion. Best of all these exercises can be done on your own or with your teammates.

Also it should be noted that there’s no shortage of warm-up exercises out there, but if you’re looking for some basic ideas here are a few you might want to consider incorporating into your routine:

  • Ball Throw: Find a partner or just a wall, and get your shoulder warm by throwing a volleyball back and forth (if you have a partner) or against any other hard surface (if you’re solo). The goal of this exercise is to mimic the overhead motion of your swing. Repeat 10 – 15 times.
  • Forward Lunge: Standing with your feet shoulder distance apart, take your right leg and take a giant step forward so that your front (right) leg is perpendicular to the floor and your back left (left) is fully extended. This stretch will open your hip flexors, as well as lengthen your hamstring muscles.  Repeat the exercise with your left leg forward doing both sides about 5 to 7 times.
  • Lateral Lunge: So much of the game of volleyball is played side to side, so its important your groin and hip muscles are warm too. Starting with your feet facing forward and take a giant step to the right side, keeping your feet flat, but also extending your leg into a bent knee. Squat back and down towards your lead leg. Keep your back leg straight and your weight over the lead leg’s heel. Squat as low as comfortable, hold for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Handwalks: This exercise is targeted mainly on the shoulders and hamstrings, but it also tends to get your heart rate up as well. Standing tall, slowly roll your body down (starting with heads, shoulders, etc) so that your hands are touching the floor. From there walk them out in front of you so that your body is fully extended and parallel to the floor in a plank pose). Once you’re fully extended, walk your feet toward your hands and then roll your body back up to a standing position. Repeat 5 – 8 times.
  • Standing Kicks: Either free standing or holding on to a stabilizer or wall, take your right leg and swing it up and out so that you create a straight kick forward. From there, swing it back through to extend it as far as possible behind you in a continuous motion. Once you can no longer push back, bring it back to the front and then again to the back (think of it like a pendulum). And so on and so forth.  Repeat on the left hand side. The goal is to loosen your hamstrings.

After your body is warm, jump into a pepper drill to really get your feet moving. If you’re not familiar, pepper is a common warm-up drill where two players try for an interrupted sequence of bump-set-spikes back and forth.

If you’d like to see it in action, you can check out this YouTube video.

Playing the game of volleyball, whether competitively or recreationally, is a great way to get exercise, however, make a conscientious effort to take the time to do your pre and post exercises to get the maximum enjoyment so you don’t limp off the court or sand when the match is over.