Improve Your Volleyball Performance With These 4 Stretches
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Set, serve, spike! Volleyball is a fun, fast-paced sport where players get to jump high in the air or dive on the ground to keep the ball in play. There’s no better feeling than hitting the perfect spike, sending the ball past a blocker. It’s the perfect way to blow off some steam!
However, all of that spiking and blocking can take a toll on your shoulders. It’s important to stretch the muscles around the shoulders to prevent injuries and enhance mobility. Here are four great stretches that help volleyball players serve winning performances on the court.
Why it’s good: Down Dog stretches the hamstrings and calves, as well as the shoulders. It also calms the nervous system.
How to do this: From Forward Fold, bend your knees enough to place your palms on the mat and slowly walk your feet to the back of your mat. Make your body into a capital letter ‘A’. Keep your back straight and long, as you point your tailbone towards the ceiling. Your knees can be bent a little or a lot. Slowly straighten and stretch one leg at a time back bringing the heel closer towards the ground. Keep pressing down into your hands with your arms straight and strong. Stay for five breaths.
Thread the Needle Twist
Why it’s good: Thread the Needle Twist helps with torso mobility and shoulder flexibility. This pose also opens the chest and upper back to reduce tension within the spine.
How to do this: Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Lift your right arm up to the ceiling, while rotating your chest toward the right. Then, lower your right arm back down under your body, as you twist your torso to the left. Rest the back of your straight right arm on the floor behind your left wrist. Your left elbow points up to the ceiling. Lower your right ear down the floor so your gaze is toward the left. Take five deep breaths then repeat on the other side.
Why it’s good: This balancing pose targets the shoulders, ankles, back and thighs for strength training. Getting the full foot wrap and forearm wrap can be tricky. If that isn’t available, feel free to just press your forearms or legs together.
How to do this: Stand up tall, with your feet apart, and knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your hips for balance. Lift your right foot, and slowly wrap your right thigh over your left. Bend your knees deeply. Curl your right foot behind your left calf, and hook it there. Reach both arms out in front of you and place your left arm on top of your right arm. Bend both elbows so the forearms are up and down. Slide your right hand toward your face, cross your forearms, and press your palms together. Raise your elbows to shoulder height. Stay here for five deep breaths, and repeat on the other side.
Reverse Table / Reverse Plank
Why it’s good: Reverse plank builds core strength and helps stretch the front of your body. Start in reverse table to see if it feels comfortable on your shoulders and wrists. If so, move into reverse plank.
How to do this: Sit down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mat. Place your hands behind you with your fingers pointing forward. Lift your body up off the floor until your torso is parallel to the floor. Stack your knees over your ankles. Stack your shoulders over your wrists. Keep your core strong. Stay here, or begin to walk the feet out into reverse plank with straight legs. In reverse plank, your upper body and lower body form a straight line from your head to your toes. Engage your core and hold while breathing.
Volleyball is a full-body sport that requires balance, strength, and explosivity on the court. So, give those shoulders some love! And while you’re at it you might as well stretch your core and your legs, too. These poses will help elevate your volleyball game to another level.
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Sarah Kostin is a freelance copywriter, published author, life coach, and yoga teacher. An exercise and outdoor fanatic herself, Sarah has a passion for writing about health, wellness, fitness, yoga, and living your best life.