Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Train Like an Olympian: Beach Volleyball

No one needs to convince you that those beach volleyball players are fit. When your sport requires that little clothes... well, need I say more? 

Kerri Walsh plays beach volleyball for the US in the Olympics. She is about 33 years old, unlike some of the other teenage and under 25 Olympians we have seen, but she is obviously terribly fit. What does she do to stay in shape to perform?

According to Kerri, she spends a lot of time doing interval, plyometric and isokinetic training. Interval training involves going hard for a few minutes, and then resting for a seconds over and over. Plyometric training really just involves powerful movements at high speeds to improve performance and build muscle strength. Isokinetc training involves doing movements at the same speed with variable resistance, so for example, spinning where you try to go at the same speed but move the resistance up and down. As you can tell, these are pretty intense types of workouts.

Beach volleyball players need strong core, leg, and shoulder muscles. The leg muscles help them run around a lot on the beach, the strong core muscles help them stay upright and move vertically, and the strong shoulders? Well, then have to hit that ball. 

Legs: To keep the legs strong, my go to exercise is the squat (If you've been reading this blog, you'd know I love the squat). But including variations of the squat is really important too for interval or plyometric training. Check out one intense variation here: The Squat Jump Tuck. Other leg exercises include: Lunges, Wall sits, Kicks, etc.

Core: Yoga is a great core workout, even though it doesn't always seem so. And anything that requires balance helps build your core strength as well. To build the muscles though, I always say you can get a core workout from almost any kind of workout; just keep your abs tight as you do them. But of course, if you want to focus on the core, you can do the pushup, the plank, bicycles, and other floor crunches.

Shoulders: Again, the pushup is great for your shoulders. But other exercises like arm circles, lateral raises, and tricep rows work on your shoulders as well as your arms.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: Glamour.com

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