Any high-intensity sport requires a significant amount of stretching, as it involves all the muscles of your body. Volleyball is one of the high-intensity sports that cannot be played without the proper amount of stretching. If you’re interested in playing volleyball, then you need to know certain volleyball stretching exercises as well to help you maintain stamina and prevent any sort of physical injuries.
Types of volleyball stretching:
- Ballistic stretching
Ballistic stretching involves certain stretching exercises wherein you have to rebound gently off the ground which increases the tension in the muscle groups, thereby increasing flexibility. A lateral or forward lunge can be categorized as a ballistic stretch. Ballistic stretching doesn’t literally mean bouncing off the ground, rather it simply means bouncing your weight up and down to increase the tension in your body.
- Static stretching
Static stretching refers to those stretching exercises that require you to hold it for a few seconds. Such stretching positions are generally safer than ballistic ones, and thereby advisable if you’re just a beginner.
- Dynamic stretching
Dynamic starching indicates those exercises wherein you have to shift your weight to another position. Commonly involved in hatha yoga, dynamic stretching involves forward lunges, hand walks, etc. They enhance your mobility, strength, and flexibility.
Such stretching exercises are generally necessary for a professional volleyball athlete.
Tips for volleyball stretching exercises: Before the game
- Practice more dynamic stretching: As mentioned previously, practicing more dynamic stretching strengthens the muscles of your body and increases flexibility.
- Do more cardio: Practising cardio exercises such as running and jogging before your game can help you warm up your muscles. However, make sure that you don’t exhaust them, otherwise, you won’t be able to give your all in the game
- Jumping: Jumping quietly about 1.5 meters forward for a soft landing and then standing slowly, strengthens your muscles.
- Heel flicks: Heel flicking helps in strengthening up your quads. You can start doing this with the help of a low-intensity jog. However, do make sure that you don’t push back with too much force. A slight flick that brings your feet up is enough. Try to keep your upper leg close to vertical.
- High knees: You can practice high knees by standing straight with your feet hip-width apart. Just stand where you are and start jumping from one foot to the other. Make sure that you’re lifting the other knee to the height of the hip. Practicing high knees will increase your hip flexibility. Make sure that you do these exercises at a moderate speed. You don’t need to exhaust your muscles before the game itself.
- Leg swings: If you’ve been practicing all the above-mentioned exercises, then by now, your muscles are warmed up. You can make them more flexible by including some leg swings. For this, you need to stand sideways to a wall and place your hand on it for support. Now, swing the leg which is closest to the wall forward and then back. Make sure that you swing it as high as you can. Do it 10-15 times. Then repeat on the other side.
Tips for volleyball stretching: After the game
- Practice more static stretches: Once you’re done with the game, you need to relax your muscles. For this, you can perform some static stretches in an extended position. It will help in enhancing your flexibility and help the muscles to recover faster after the game. Remember to include volleyball stretching arm exercises here as the arm muscles are largely targeted in the game.
- Don’t forget to stretch your calves: For stretching your calves, start by placing your toes against a wall and your heel next to it. Make sure that your foot is in a straight line. Now, push your heel in the downward direction and then lean towards the wall with that leg.
- Hamstring stretch: For stretching your hamstrings, sit down and start by placing your left foot against your right knee. Now, bend your left knee to the ground. Try to get as close as you can to the ground. Once you’ve done that, try reaching for your right foot with your right hand. Hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat it on the other side.
- Stretch your quadriceps: For stretching and relaxing your quadriceps after the game, you need to start by sitting up straight with outstretched legs. Now, by bending one leg at the knee and keeping it flat, bring that foot to the side of your body. Once you’ve done that, lean back to stretching the quad on that side. Now repeat the same position on the other side.
Never, ever try to stretch a cold muscle! It’s not good for your joints and muscles. The reason is when you’re not exercising regularly, your muscles and joints are already constrained. Therefore, if you jump straight into an intensive stretching routine or exercise, you will certainly strain your groin and your hamstring muscles. It might even cause some serious and permanent injuries in your calf muscles.
If you’re a beginner, the best thing to do is to start by static stretching and light aerobic exercises such as bicycle riding, brisk walking, and swimming. Start slow as even a few minutes of motion will help your muscles to get warmed up easily. Once you’re in the groove and you’ve set your routine, you can level up your stretching exercises.
Even if you’re indulging yourself in casual beach volleyball stretching is important and one should always target their shoulder, abs, ankles, back, hamstrings and groin, as these muscle groups are likely to be damaged during the game.
These are some of the volleyball stretching exercises that you can do before and after the game. Hope you found this article helpful!