During a volleyball game, various movements -- digging, squatting, spiking and lunging -- put considerable strain on your joints. To prevent injury and improve your performance, warm up with at least five minutes of cardio by jumping rope, jogging or pedaling a stationary bicycle. Performing dynamic stretches, in which you move your muscles through a comfortable range of motion, will also help prepare you for action on the court.
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The goal of pre-practice stretching is to prepare your muscles for volleyball-specific movements. While static stretches, in which you hold the peak position of a stretch for 30 seconds, can increase the range of motion of your muscles, dynamic stretches move your muscles through a familiar range of motion. Use controlled and fluid movement to simultaneously stretch and warm your muscles. Stretches that mirror such movements as dives, rolls, sprawls and extensions will best activate your muscles for game play.
Dynamic stretches for volleyball can include forward and side leg swings from a standing position, hand-walks, bar ducks, walking forward lunges and shoulder rolls. You can combine stretches with light cardio, such as doing arm swings while jogging around the court. Swing your arms back and forth, front and back or in random directions. For example, continuously swing your arms while jogging down the length of the court anywhere from two to four times. To stretch your quads, jog while performing butt kicks. Jogging with high knees will warm and stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors.
Benefits for Fitness
While dynamic stretches can warm and wake your muscles up for volleyball practice, they can also improve long-term strength and flexibility. The primary advantage of a dynamic stretch is that it combines mobility with flexibility, using movement as a way to condition and train your muscles. Players tend to use repetitive movements in volleyball, which can lead to stiffness in certain muscles as well as overuse injuries. Sport-specific dynamic stretching can help you to maintain muscular balance and counteract flexibility problems due to repetitive tasks.
If you’re trying to improve flexibility, perform static stretches during the cool-down phase of a practice. Your muscles have been fully warmed and will be most receptive to stretching beyond their usual range of motion. Avoid ballistic stretches in which you perform quick repetitive movements to stretch your muscles. Abrupt bouncing to stretch a tight muscle can lead to injury.