The development of core strength is critical for a long career as a volleyball player. However, most people think core strength is about having an abdominal six-pack. Well, this is good, but toned abs do not equate to a strong core. Quite confusing!
So what exactly is the core? The core is a set of muscles that control and stabilize the spine and pelvis hence affect the movement and reaction of the upper body and legs. Therefore, core strength enables a volleyball player to maintain their body in the appropriate postures, unload the joints, and enhance easy body movement. Core strength goes beyond the abdominal musculature and includes rotational body parts such as obliques as well as the posterior – the upper back all the way down to the glutes and hamstrings.
Now that we have defined core strength, let’s get into why core strength is essential for volleyball players.
Promotes more efficient movement
The more a volleyball player builds their core strength, the stronger their body movements will be, specifically when their hands are not aligned to their body line. All body motions always ripple downwards and upwards to the adjoining parts. Having a strong core will improve the stability and balance of a volleyball player when they are receiving, landing, planting, or involved in any other movement. Inflexible or weak core muscles can affect the ability of a volleyball to move their arms and legs seamlessly.
Power and strength
Power and strength are integral for the optimal performance of a volleyball player. For instance, consider a hitter, when they are making an approach, they need to possess enough core strength to produce ample power in their legs to leap high enough and hit the ball. Volleyball athletes are only able to reach their best performance levels after strengthening their core muscles. During the game, core strength is crucial as it allows the player to transition their power more effectively from their lower body to the upper body and then hit the ball.
Prevents overuse injuries
Besides supporting recovery from acute injury and improving a player’s resiliency, good core strength can prevent overuse injuries. Specifically, a stable and strong core is very important to volleyball players as it helps to protect them from injuring their spine.
Volleyball is an intense sport with various movements involved such as jumping, receiving, cutting, landing, and planting. A volleyball player’s body is likely to take a beating. The tendons, muscles, and ligaments around the joints shield a player from injury, however, the strain of volleyball movements can cause the joints to weaken temporarily. Without enough core strength and adequate recovery times, players are likely to get injured as they play more games. Patellofemoral syndrome, back pain, shin splints, and shoulder impingements are just some of the injuries a volleyball player can experience. To reduce the chances of such injuries occurring volleyball players need to develop core strength. They need to maintain a sturdy core, which is crucial in preventing injuries, especially back injuries which many volleyball players are prone to.
In summary, a volleyball athlete has to strengthen their core to fulfill their desire to play at the highest level for a long time. Core strength facilitates efficient movement, prevents injuries, and improves athlete performance by providing agility, strength, and power. Also, in case a volleyball player is injured, their rehabilitation is much faster if they have enough core strength.
Lastly, there are hundreds of core exercise programs out there that are directed to players who want to improve their core strength. But, players cannot do them all, and not all are suitable for their unique circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an expert to create or recommend a program that aligns with your needs and daily training program.