A List of Effective Warmup Exercises for Volleyball Players

Whether you’re preparing for a championship match or just getting ready for a weekday practice, a proper warmup routine not only ensures your body is loose and flexible when you hit the court, but it also helps prevent injury and allows you to train at a more optimal level.

The benefits of stretching are well-documented. Taking just five to 10 minutes before you play can make a huge difference in your performance. And having a stretching routine when you finish playing or working out helps your body and muscles relax from the intensity of the exertion.

Stretching and Warmup Exercises

There’s no shortage of warmup exercises, but if you’re looking for some basic ideas, here are a few to consider incorporating into your routine:

  • Ball Throw: Find a partner or a wall and get your shoulder warm by throwing a volleyball back and forth (if you have a partner) or against any a hard surface (if you’re solo). The goal of this exercise is to mimic the overhead motion of your swing. Repeat 10–15 times.
  • Forward Lunge: Standing with your feet shoulder-distance apart, take a giant step forward with your right leg so that it is perpendicular to the floor and your back left (left) is fully extended. This stretch opens your hip flexors and lengthens your hamstring muscles. Repeat the exercise with your left leg forward, doing both sides about 5–7 times.
  • Lateral Lunge: So much of the game of volleyball is played side to side, so it's important that you warm up your groin and hip muscles. Starting with your feet facing forward, take a giant step to the right side, keeping your feet flat, but also extending your leg into a bent knee. Squat back and down toward your lead leg. Keep your back leg straight and your weight over the lead leg’s heel. Squat as low as is comfortable, hold for two seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Handwalks: This exercise targets your shoulders and hamstrings, but it also tends to get your heart rate up. Standing tall, slowly roll your body down (starting with your head and shoulders) so that your hands touch the floor. From there, walk your hands out in front of you until your body is fully extended and parallel to the floor in a plank pose). Once you’re fully extended, walk your feet toward your hands, and then roll your body back up to a standing position. Repeat 5–8 times.
  • Standing Kicks: Either freestanding or holding on to a stabilizer or wall, swing your right leg up and out so that you create a straight kick forward. From there, swing it back and extend it as far as possible behind you in a continuous motion. Once you can no longer push back, bring it to the front and then again to the back (think of it like a pendulum). Repeat the exercise with your left leg. The goal is to loosen your hamstrings.

Pepper Drill

After your body is warm, jump into a pepper drill to really get your feet moving. This is a common warmup drill in volleyball where two players try for an uninterrupted sequence of bump-set-spikes back and forth. It further prepares you for action on the court.

Playing the game of volleyball, whether competitively or recreationally, is a great way to get exercise, but  make an effort to do your pre and post exercises to ensure you don’t limp off the court or sand when the match is over.