Leg Exercises for a Volleyball Player


Leg exercises for volleyball players must provide strength, explosiveness and stability. On the volleyball court, it doesn't matter how much you squat or leg press if you can't move quickly or get off the ground. Your exercises must have as much carryover to your sport as possible. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any strength and conditioning program.


The barbell squat builds the strength of your legs and hips, and directly mimics the position of your vertical jump. Do not spend all day in the gym grinding away at heavy weights; work on accelerating the weight you can lift. Using no more than 75 percent of the most you can squat, squat low, and as you stand up, accelerate the bar as if you were trying to jump with it. Squat jump training was shown to increase the vertical jump in elite volleyball players in a 1999 study reported in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise."

Razor Curls

Razor curls, or glute-ham raises, work your hamstrings and hips, particularly the gluteus maximus -- the large muscle of your posterior. These muscles not only contribute to your ability to extend when jumping, your hamstrings help protect your knee joint every time your quadriceps -- the muscles on the front of your thigh -- flex. This occurs every time you take a step or jump.

To perform the razor curl, use a hyperextension bench that allows you to adjust the pads closer together. Hook your ankles under the support, and lie facedown with your thighs on the other pad. Lean forward, then arc your body up, bending at the knee joint. This is a difficult exercise, but works your hamstrings more effectively than traditional hamstring exercises, according to a 2009 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research."

Power Clean

The power clean assists with your vertical jump while building your legs and back. Stand in front of a barbell on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and grip the bar with an overhand grip with your hands just outside your legs. Bend your knees and hips and keep your back flat. Your shoulders should be just over or slightly in front of the bar.

Stand up, pulling the bar smoothly from the ground. As the bar gets to mid-thigh level, jump slightly to accelerate the bar, then shrug with your upper back to provide power. After you finish your shrug your arms bend as the bar continues upward. Catch the bar on the front of your shoulders, rotating your arms around and pushing your elbows up to the ceiling. Your knees should bend to catch the bar, and when completed, your hands should be just outside your shoulders, under the bar, palms-up.

Power Snatch

The power snatch works your legs and jump in a manner similar to the power clean, but also strengthens your upper back and your external rotators. Many volleyball players experience rotator cuff imbalances, which can result in unusual injuries, according to a 2011 study published in the "American Journal of Sports Medicine."

Perform the power snatch in the same way you perform the power clean, but start with a wide grip, at least 1.5 times the width of your shoulders. As you shrug the bar up, your knees must bend and the bar must clear your head. Pull your elbows up and out to the sides, then allow your arms to rotate until your upper arms point at the ceiling. Catch the bar over your head with your arms fully extended.