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How to Get in Shape for Beach Volleyball

Jeff Gross / Gety Images

Q: I want to get in shape for beach volleyball. Any advice?

A: Prepare for the sand. You may think you have a good foundation of fitness already, but sand changes everything.

Because sand is so unstable, it saps more of your body's energy when you move. So you can't afford to waste additional energy with inefficient movement patterns. It's critical that you move efficiently, especially through your hips, torso, and shoulders, also known as your “pillar.” This will allow you to conserve energy throughout the match.

Exercises like the Plank with Arm Lift and Glute Bridge Marching (see below for instructions) will help solidify this area and prepare your torso for the intense rotational demands of volleyball, for instance, when you go to swing or dig a hard-driven ball.

In addition to developing leg strength and power, building a solid foundation of “pillar strength” will give you a platform to leap higher, swing harder, and cover the court faster—even when it seems like it's moving beneath you.

Plank with Arm Lift

Start in the push-up position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without moving your torso, lift your left arm up and slightly to the left and hold for 1-2 seconds. Return to the starting position, and then repeat with your right arm. Keep your stomach tight throughout the movement to keep your trunk from moving as you lift each arm. Perform 8 reps with each arm.

Glute Bridge Marching

Lie face-up with your arms at your sides, knees bent, and heels on the ground. Squeezing your glutes, raise your hips off the floor until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line. Hold this position while bringing your right knee to your chest. Lower it, then repeat with your left leg. That's one repetition. Do a total of 6.

Click here for more moves and advice for developing pillar strength.

About The Author

Kevin Elsey – Kevin Elsey is the vice president of the performance innovation team at EXOS. With three undergraduate degrees from Queen's University in Canada and several years of experience as a personal trainer and physical education teacher, he brings a wealth of educational and practical experience to EXOS.

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Tags: Pillar strength, Q&A, Volleyball, Sports Performance, Outdoor Recreation