Warming up is important for improved performance and mitigating injuries. Not only does it serve to prepare the body, but it also motivates mentally for the challenges of difficult drills and games ahead.

Why Warming Up Is Important

The body requires time to transition from rest to strenuous physical activity. As the body temperature is raised the chemical processes in the muscles react faster and nerves signal faster. The joints are lubricated, and the articular cartilage absorbs joint fluid thereby making it thicker. The circulation is increases and the blood vessels are expanded in the working muscles. The nervous system becomes "tuned" to improve coordination. This improves performance and reduced risk of injury and has a significant impact on high intensitiy activities such as strength training, ball games and martial arts.

The Best Approach to Warming Up

Warming up should include movements that are similar to the exercise you are warming up for. If you are planning to do a specific hard drill then warm up the muscles and joints related to that drill. Start with a light load at a moderate pace and increase the intensity as the body gets warmer. The pulse should be gradually increased over a period of several minutes. It is a mistakes is to put hard exercises too early which can cause injuries and tire you.

Duration of Warm-Up Matters

A warm-up should last at least 10 minutes to get a significant increase in muscle temperature. A warm-up of more than 30 minutes will not provide a bonus but may drain energy from the actual drills and games. Avoid hard strength training as a warm-up instead save it for later in the workout. When you are done warming up you should feel ready and not exhausted.

Can Stretching Exercises Prevent Sports Injuries?

Stretching exercises before and after sports are very common. The idea behind stretching is to change the mechanical conditions of the muscle by providing more flexibility or changes to the reflexes so that the movement of the joints becomes smoother. However, studies indicate that there is possibly no effect in stretching exercises in regard to injuries. Stretching can relieve some pain and increase suppleness. You should always warm up before you stretch in order to avoid injury. Muscles are like a rubber band - a cold rubber band will snap, whereas a warm rubber band is flexible and will stretch and return to its original shape.

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Plyometrics or "plyos" is an exercise used to increase your speed and strength, which is one of the most effective methods for building explosiveness. In other words, this form of training improves your ability to deliver maximum power in the shortest amount of time. It is for improving jump height, sprint and agility as well as improving your ability to coordinate movements. Perfect for jumping your highest for the perfect spike or receiving those difficult hard driven balls. Plyometric training will be the best way to improve these properties and is not limited to jumps.

Quality Beats Quanitity

Plyometrics is about aggressive muscle stretching (eccentric phase) transitioned immediately (amortization phase) to a powerful muscle contraction (concentric phase). The amortization phase in which the muscles absorbs some of the force and stops movement, must be as short as possible. In this way, you utilize a storage of "elastic energy" in the musculature, which in principle acts just like a tense elastic. By storing and releasing elastic energy you increase explosiveness. Plyometric exercises activate the body's central nervous system and improve its elasticity. Performing the exercise with maximum output and with quality in mind will yield the best results.

Before You Start

Plyometrics is a slightly advanced form of exercise that can be hard for the body. To avoid injury, it is important that you have enough strength in the muscles and joints. You should combine plyometrics with strength training and perform the exercise correctly to avoid injuries. Always warm up properly before the exercise and start slowly. You should train 1-3 times per week, it is important to give the muscles time to recover by not training the same muscle groups for several days in a row. The recovery time between each workout will typically be 2-3 days depending on the intensity. As a beginner, you should slowly let your body get used to the strain of this exercise. For some athletes, it takes many months and even a year before the body achieves this.

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Strength Training

Volleyball is a sport that requires strength because it is a sport of high intensity bursts with intervals of rest. Strength training is typically performed with an external load such as weights or other external resistance which causes changes in both the muscles and the nerves that supply the activated muscles. You do not get more muscles, but the capacity and size of the muscles are increased and the ability of the nerves to activate the muscles is improved. The result is increased muscle strength. Strength training also strengthens the tendons and bones and has a positive effect on the body's metabolism. If you neglect strength training then you might as well neglect plyometrics and your chance of being your best version of a volleyball player.

Before You Start

If you want to start weight training, you should contact training centers or people who are competent in the field. Careful instructions and proper lifting techniques is essential for all those who are beginning to exercise strength to avoid injuries. You can also use the many YouTube videos available that can guide you with the proper form but be cautious and critical in your source.

For Best Results

Each set is performed in series of repetitions. Appropriate number of sets is 2-3 and number of repetitions 6-10. With 45-60 seconds rest between each set. If you can only perform a maximum of 6 repetitions because of the weight load, you are training with high intensity. This optimizes strength and power better than training with lower intensity. If you exercise with 8-15 repetitions, the intensity is moderate. You will then improve both muscle strength and muscle endurance. If you exercise with over 15 repetitions, the intensity is low. It gives better endurance in the muscles but not the same increase in muscle strength. To achieve the best possible increase in strength, the weight should be at least 70% of the maximum weight that can be lifted once . The body should have enough time for recovery, at least 48 hours should elapse between each session. that is, weight training should be limited to 2-3 times per week. Also, you should exercise all the major muscle groups and always warm up before strength training.

Proteins and Water

Eating a regular varied diet should give you enough proteins but diets vary greatly between countries. Adults should consume around 1 gram of protein per kilogram body weight per day at a normal level of activity. That is, 0.016 ounces per 1 pound body weight per day. If you weigh 75 kg (165 lbs.) you need around 75 grams (2.65 oz) protein. If you work out then you need more protein. There is an upper limit to how much the rate of protein buildup can be increased. Regardless of how much you work out, it gives no extra effect if you consume more than 2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day (0.032 oz per 1 lbs. per day). You can easily cover the need for protein through daily diet e.g. with dairy products, meat, beans or eggs. The best effect is gained when you eat protein rich meal in the hours before and after strength training. This gives you a greater effect of the training session you just completed. In addition, your muscles recover faster. Remember to also drink plenty of water when exercising. Depending on how long you have been active and under what conditions, you should drink ½ - 1 liter during the first 15 minutes. After your workout is completed you should continue to drink water until your fluid balance is restored (clear and light urine).

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Cardio Training

Cardio is often also called circuit training, endurance training or aerobic exercise. Examples of cardio can be walking at a brisk pace, running, biking or swimming etc. Although, volleyball mostly requires explosiveness, without cardio training your volleyball performance on the court will be impaired because of the effects of fatigue. Anyone can benefit from cardio workouts.

Why Cardio

If an exercise is of longer duration (at least 10 minutes) and the muscles receive enough oxygen during the exercise then you are doing cardio training. Cardio training strengthens the heart and muscles. The body's metabolism is improved as the muscle's ability to burn nutrients including carbohydrates and fat is increased. The body's ability to absorb, transport and consume oxygen is improved and this gives you better endurance.

Before You Start

You should strive to exercise for at least 30 minutes approximately every second day. Allowing a rest day after a training day prevents strain and injuries. Start small and gradually increase up to 30 minutes per session. Do not overdo the intensity of the workout. If you cannot handle a normal conversation while exercising cardio, you are training too hard. Interval training will give the greatest effect. Several scientific studies have shown that high intensity cardio training provides the best effect. High intensity intervals can be distances from 100 meters (328 Feet) to 1 kilometer (0.6 Miles) with breaks from 30 seconds and up to several minutes.

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Common Injuries

Injuries in volleyball are on a par with injuries in badminton, basketball and tennis. Joint injuries are the largest single category of injuries. The most common is ankle sprain, with ankle and foot injuries totaling 30%, followed by finger and wrist injuries of 25%. About 60% of the injuries in volleyball hit the age group betweem 13 and 24 years old. Injuries in Men and Women are distributed equally.

Prevent Injuries

  • Good warm-up is important.
  • Good basic training is important, especially strength training. Strong muscles around the joints reduce the risk of ligament injury.
  • Listen to body's signals. Do not pressure yourself if you are partially injured. It only increases the risk of injury.
  • Vary the workout to prevent repetitive strain injury.
  • Keep an eye on the recovery time or adjust the subsequent activity in intensity and scope.
  • Meet your body's nutrient needs through proper diet
  • Restitution is important. Your body gets stronger during the period between the workouts - not during the workout.
  • Wear the right footwear for indoor volleyball.

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