A General Weight Training Program for Volleyball

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As with other sports, playing your best in volleyball requires training. This training doesn't begin and end with the season but instead involves dedicated preseason as well as off-season training. Let's take a look at a general weight training program that will help you show off your talents on the court.

Importance of Weight Training for Volleyball

Volleyball is a jumping, speed and agility-based sport. All of these movements require training. Hitters need to have jumping power. Setters and defenders need speed, and agility and scrambling ability is essential for anyone serious about the game.

From a weight training and strength and conditioning perspective, the training to accomplish these movements is very similar to a basketball training program. Let's take a look at what a comprehensive training program means, and then discuss the specific requirements.

Periodized Programs for Training

Comprehensive training programs for individual sports are “periodized.” That is, they are broken into three or four phases during the year, with each phase concentrating on a particular type of fitness development. Periodized programs in weight training provide a progressive buildup to peak fitness and performance for the season. Studies looking specifically at female volleyball players have found that periodized training reduces the loss of fitness usually found with season-only training.

For professional sports that utilize weights in their training—which includes most at this time—each phase has different objectives and each successive phase builds upon the previous one.

Although volleyball does not have the movement component of other more mobile sports like basketball, aerobic fitness still plays an important role in all-around fitness. Early preseason cardio and then a build-up including anaerobic fitness with wind sprints, shuttles, sprints, and intervals will prepare players for the season's start and those long matches to come. Two-person beach volleyball adds extra demands on cardio-respiratory fitness.

A Year Long Volleyball Weight Training Program Overview

Year-long volleyball weight training programs may vary but are often broken down into preseason, in season, and offseason activities. For each of these, elements of training work to maximize performance for the in-season game. The goals of these time periods and activities are outlined below.

Early Preseason:

  • Players are preparing for the season and starting to build up after the offseason.
  • Emphasis is on building aerobic fitness, functional strength and hypertrophy.

Late Preseason:

  • Players are working up to the start of the season and preseason trials are imminent.
  • Emphasis is on building anaerobic fitness and maximum strength and power.

In Season:

  • Competition is underway and players are expected to be fully functional for competition.
  • Maintenance of speed, aerobic and anaerobic fitness and strength and power is emphasized.

Off Season:

  • The season is over; time to relax for a while, but it is important to keep active.
  • Emphasis is on rest and recovery with maintenance of light activity—cross training, light gym work. A break of several weeks from serious fitness and strength training is helpful.
  • As the preseason approaches, more regular work can resume with an emphasis on building aerobic fitness once again for the preseason training.

Consider the program presented here to be an all-around program, best suited to beginners or casual weight trainers without a history of weight training for volleyball. The best programs are always specific to an individual's current fitness, role in the team, access to resources, and, no less important, the team coaches' essential philosophy. You will be best served by using the following program in conjunction with a trainer or coach.

The Weight Training Program Details

The requirements of a weight training program for volleyball are very similar to basketball.

Begin by reviewing the details of the five phases, goals, and specific exercises of this weight training program for basketball.

In addition to these requirements, specialized programs are available for developing your vertical jump.

If you're new to weight training, brush up on principles and practices with the beginner resources for weight training. Always warm up and cool down before and after every training session. A medical clearance for exercise is also always a good idea at the start of the season.

Bottom Line 

Using a periodized weight training program for volleyball can prepare you to perform at your best when the season arrives. In addition to the specific weight training exercises found in the basketball program, developing your vertical jump is essential.

Using a program such as this is most beneficial when you use it along with recommendations from your trainer or coach. While the program will help you develop the strength and movements for your game, every person is different and has different strengths and weaknesses. Your coach or trainer can help you identify these and assist you in designing a program that will meet your specific needs.

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  1. Lehnert M, Sigmund M, Lipinska P, et al. Training-induced changes in physical performance can be achieved without body mass reduction after eight week of strength and injury prevention oriented programme in volleyball female players. Biol Sport. 2017;34(2):205-213. doi:10.5114/biolsport.2017.65995

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