Exercises to jump higher for beach volleyball
Most beach volleyballers are looking for exercises to jump higher but if you search on the internet, you will mostly find basketball dunking programs. Most of these programs will work, there is no doubt, but there is a big difference between basketball and volleyball when it comes to jumping.
Basically, volleyballers are better jumpers simply because we do it more often.
While basketballers will jump for rebounds, or perhaps loose balls, occassionally get a chance for a dunk or tip in, in a regular training session, jumping is not high on their priority list. Their training do not focus on learning to jump higher.
In volleyball however, as we all know, side out is key. And every side out should contain one max. jump. So as we train, we get plenty of jumping practice, which is basically what they call plyometrics. (Lengthening and then shortening a muscle as quickly as possible)
My point here is basically that beach volleyballers don’t need to spend so much time doing plyos to increase their jump. That aspect of training is well and truly taken care of as long as you concentrate on maxing out every time you jump.
How to jump higher
If you are really going to go for it, then the first thing to do is to build muscle. You can divide weight training into two categories. Exercises that make your muscles stronger, and exercises that make your muscles bigger (and stronger). I am recommending going for the latter, because as I stated previously, you get plenty of jumping practice at training, which will improve strength but not increase size.
Think of your muscle as an engine. There are plenty of V6 engines that can out perform V8 engines, but if two cars are tuned and set up equally well, the larger V8 engine will produce more power. Muscles are the same. You will find skinny guys who can jump because they are good at jumping, but those skinny guys could jump higher if they had bigger muscles.
This form of training is called hypertrophy training. You basically go to the gym and tear as many muscle fibers as possible, then eat yourself stupid, then sleep for two days while the muscles rebuild, then do it again. When I did it, I toned down the skill training to once or twice per week, to make sure I recovered properly.
This is roughly the program that I followed. It took me from about 94kg to 99.8kg in three months. (Sadly I never cracked the tonne.) There are other bits and pieces like rotator cuff exercises that should be maintained, but they are more individual, depending on your own injuries or weaknesses.
3 sessions per week. Each session is immediately (within 20 minutes) followed by a high carb high protein meal.
Day 1: Calf Raise, leg extensions, ham curl, half squats, bench press, lat pull, bicep curl, tricep press, abs
Day 2: Leg Extension, ham curl, leg press, Russian deadlift, dips, chin ups, abs
Day 3: Repeat day one.
Everything was 1 set to max. aiming for 8, except for Russian deadlifts. (I would never max out on these, they are too knarly and should always be done in control). Each session only took about an hour, but we really needed to recover, and to maximise the effect we stopped almost all of our other trainings. If we got to 8, we kept going, until we maxed out. Any time we got to 8, we increased the wieght for the next session, so you must use a note book, to document your reps and weights.
Keep in mind that you do not build muscle in the gym. You destroy it. The muscle builds afterwards while you rest. The more fibre you have damaged in the gym, the more fibre your body builds back on later. So if you do the work out, but don’t give yourself enough sleep, or don’t eat enough, then you risk missing out on the muscle growth, or worse, actually going backwards.
Let me elaborate on the reps. We had three guys training, and so every exercise had at least two spotters, and we made sure that every exercise had at least three assisted reps at the end, so once we maxed out, you had to keep pushing for three more reps. It was quite brutal, but it got results.
The improvement in my jump came a month after we stopped this program and I got back into regular volleyball training. I was so much stronger and faster than ever before. I felt amazing.
That was just a run down of my most successful experience with exercises to jump higher. As I mentioned, there are a lot of people out there with more experience than I, so don’t take this as gospel. If you really want to learn how to jump higher and find the right exercises to jump higher, you need to look around and find the right advice that works for you.
I can recommend one guy, Jacob hiller, who has created the Jump Manual, which has some good ideas, and although based around basketball, can certainly provide a comprehensive and effective program for increasing your jump. These guys definitely know how to jump higher.
If you want to see how to jump higher from a guy who really knows how to do it, check out this video of Leonel marshal from Cuba. Wow!