Workout Wednesday – September 17th

Stretch_10 Muscle Groups

RE-BLOG:  10 Muscle Groups Every Volleyball Player Must Stretch

Written by Aaron Brock MS, ATC, PES Head Athletic Trainer USA Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team

As the Head Athletic Trainer for the Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team it’s my job to make certain that the athletes remain healthy and limber for competition. Tight muscles can lead to poor performance and injury and increasing flexibility can help to improve these conditions.

Stretching comes in many forms but for now we’re just going to talk about static stretching. While static stretching is effective for increasing the elasticity of muscles that are tight, they should be performed after a good warm up for maximum benefit.

I encourage two bouts of static stretching during a training session:
The first bout should be no more than five minutes long and take place after a dynamic warm up such as jogging, side shuffling, skipping, backwards running, plyometrics, agility drills, ladder drills, etc. This stretch should focus on your problematic areas as opposed to a full drawn out stretch on every possible muscle group.

However, if you feel better with a long, complete stretch prior to activity, then stick with it.

The second bout of stretching should occur immediately following your volleyball activity. The Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team takes about 10 minutes to stretch all pertinent muscles groups including hip flexors, hamstrings, claves, glutes, quads, adductors/groin, abdomen, low back and shoulders with extra focus on individual problematic areas after each practice and every game.

The following list outlines how to properly stretch the 10 major muscle groups needed for volleyball:

Hip Flexors

In volleyball, you’re often in a defensive position—bent over at the hips with your butt stuck out—leaving you susceptible to developing short, inflexible hip flexors. Tight hips flexors can restrict your range of motion limiting the ground you cover on the court and can eventually lead to low back pain.

Stretch: Lunge forward with your left leg and feel a stretch in the front part of your right hip. Then reach your right arm straight up in the air to isolate a different area. Be sure to switch legs and stretch both sides.


The most common overuse injury reported in volleyball athletes is patellar tendinitis or “jumper’s knee.” Jumping from a crouched position to block or spike a ball causes your quadriceps to contract and puts stress on your knees.

Stretch: Lie on your side and pull your heel towards your glutes. You can also pull your hip back into extension in this position to incorporate the hip flexors.

Another way to stretch your quads is to lie on your stomach and pull your heel to your glutes.

Although effective, I don’t recommend the “hurdler position” (knee crossed behind the body instead of in front) due to the increased stress placed on the knee.


These muscles work in conjunction with your quads and aid in stabilization power production. Although they are usually overlooked in strength training, the hamstrings play a vital role in jumping, landing, and lateral movements.

Stretch: In the standing position, step forward with your left leg, keeping your knee straight (bend your right knee slightly) and move your chest closer to your thigh. Pull your toes upward and feel an isolated stretch behind the knee.

To further stretch the high hamstring area, bend your left knee and move your chest even closer to the thigh.

The modified “hurdler” stretch also works well. Keep your back straight and toes up to emphasis behind the knee.


Overuse of the calf muscles when jumping to block or spike can cause tightness in the calves which can lead to foot pain such as plantar facilities and Achilles tendonitis.

Stretch: There are a few different ways to stretch your calves, choose whichever one works best for you.

  1. Push against a stable object.
  2. Hang your heel off a stair or bleachers.
  3. Push back with a straight knee while both hands and feet are on the ground.


These muscles can easily get tight due to the large amount of side to side movement and constantly being in a squat position during volleyball.

Stretch: In the seated position, bend your right knee and cross it over your left. Then pull your right leg to your chest. You can also bend your left leg and cross your right leg over your left leg.


The adductors help pull the legs together when they contract, and also help to stabilize the hip joint, but can easily be injured if the muscles aren’t warmed-up and flexible.

Stretch: You can stretch the adductors by doing any one of the following.

    1. Sit with the soles of your feet together (also known as the butterfly position) and gently press knees your knees to the floor until you feel a stretch on the inner thighs.
    1. A side lunge in the standing position will stretch the groin muscles as well. Be sure to perform this stretch on both sides. (This stretch is ideal since it closely replicates a common movement in volleyball).
  1. Sit on the floor and spread your legs out wide to the sides. To increase the intensity, touch your fingertips to your toes while your legs are outstretched.


The muscles of the abdominal region make up a large part of the core stability muscles that work constantly to stabilize the body and especially while performing and landing jumps. Keeping the core pliable and strong helps to control movements.

Stretch: The lunge and reach position used to stretch the hip flexors will stretch the abdomen but lying on your stomach, pressing your hips into the floor, and arching backward is another option.

Low Back

The incidence of back injuries among volleyball players is frequent, particularly among elite-level athletes. Volleyball players have an increased risk of back injuries because of the repetitive and excessive loading of the spine. Maintaining flexibility and strength is the key to withstanding the demands of the sport and preserving a healthy back.

Stretch: It is best to perform each of these stretches to ensure maximum flexibility throughout your workout.

    1. Lie on your back and bring your left leg completely across your body. Hold your left leg down with your right hand and let your left arm rotate the opposite direction.
    1. “Cat and dog”: Start on hands and knees, rotate the pelvis forward as you look down at your knees then rotate the pelvis backwards and look up towards the ceiling.
  1. The “prayer position”: Start on hands and knees then sit back on your heels. You can also then move both arms to the right then to the left.

Posterior Shoulder

The repetitive overhead movement of your arms can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons, causing overuse injuries that are common in volleyball. A tight posterior capsule and rotator cuff can lead to many different shoulder injuries including and rotator cuff tendonitis, Glenoid labrum tears, and rotator cuff strains.

The “sleeper stretch” is extremely important for volleyball players.

Stretch: Lie on your left side and extend your left arm out in front of you. Then bend your left arm so your fingertips are pointing towards the ceiling. With your right arm push your left arm down keeping your palm towards the floor and your left arm in a 90-degree angle until you feel a gentle stretch. Repeat on both sides.

You can also extend your arm underneath your body to feel stretching in the back of the shoulder, or stand and use the net or the standard as a post.

Anterior Shoulder and Chest

Tight chest muscles can also lead to a variety of shoulder injuries.

Stretch: While lying on your stomach, extend your left arm out to the side and rotate your upper body to the right. You should feel the stretch in the front of your left shoulder.

This stretch can also be performed while standing. Place your left forearm against the net or standard as a post and turn your body away. Use both straight and bent elbow positions.

Remember, always be sure not to perform any stretches that cause pain. Obviously if you are not already flexible, aggressive stretching can be uncomfortable in the muscles you are isolating – that desirable “hurt so good” type of pain. However, you should not have any other type of pain associated with stretching.

You make time for working out, so remember to make time for stretching as it can prevent injuries and enhance your performance!


Tasty Tuesday – September 16th

Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bars

(Yeld 24 bars)

Bottom layer

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 150g pitted dates
  • ¼ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal
  • ½ cup steel cut oats
  • ½ cup flake cereal (I used Nature’s Path Multigrain Oatbran Flakes)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Splash pure vanilla extract

Middle layer

  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • ½ cup all natural peanut butter
  • 140g vanilla flavored protein powder

Top layer

  • ¼ cup extra dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp unpasteurized liquid honey
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted peanuts, finely chopped


For the Bottom layer

  1. Add almonds and dates to the bowl of your food processor and process until the mixture turns into a sticky paste with tiny little chunks of almonds throughout.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well combined
  3. Press to the bottom of a 9 x 9 square pan lined with parchment paper

For the Middle layer

  1. Add coconut butter and peanut butter to your food processor (you might want to clean it first…) and process until smooth and creamy. Add protein powder and process until just incorporated.
  2. Press that mixture evenly on top of the chocolate/almond layer.

Top layer

  1. In a small mixing bowl, delicately whisk together cocoa powder, melted coconut oil and honey, until smooth and creamy
  2. Spread thinly on top of peanut butter layer
  3. Sprinkle chopped peanuts overtop
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cutting into bars


9.11.01 Never Forget.

9 11 01 Never Forget

It is hard to believe that 13 years ago today, our country experienced a tragedy beyond any measure.  I will never forget that day, or where I was, or how I felt.  To this day, thinking about it gives me goosebumps and makes me ache inside for all the lives lost and their friends and family members.

I was a scrawny high school freshman with a home volleyball match that day.  I remember being in 4th hour English Literature class, glued to the television as my classmates and I watched the horrific events unfold as if we were watching an action movie.  It was surreal.  It was so sad.  It was downright awful.  I remember praying for it to be a dream or a nightmare – instead it was real.  It was no surprise to anyone, when school was dismissed for the day and all after-school activities were canceled, including my precious volleyball match.  I didn’t feel like playing anyway.

As the 13th Anniversary of September 11th is upon us, we will never forget, we can never forget.  To all those who lost their lives that day and in the days, months, years afterward fighting for our country, you are in our thoughts and prayers.  Never forgotten.

Thursdays are a popular day for volleyball matches during the school year.  As you stand on the court before our country’s flag with the sounds of our National Anthem filling your ears, press your hand over your heart and think about those who lost their lives on 9/11…even if you are too young to have experienced that historically tragic day.

Remember them.

Remember their families and friends.

Remember our soldiers.

Remember our country united.

Dedicate tonight’s volleyball match to them.  And vow to never, ever, ever forget.

AVB Coach of the Year…Now Accepting Nominations!

AVB Coach of the Year!


Coach:  noun, a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team making decisions about play during games.

This dictionary definition doesn’t even begin to describe the dedication, inspiration and hard work that many coaches bring to the court.  All Volleyball wants to honor those who devote their time to volleyball, encouraging a love and passion for the sport.

Does this sound like your coach?!

Send your story to to nominate your coach for the AVB Coach of the Year award!  If your coach wins, you will receive a $20.00 Gift Card to

The Coach of the Year will win a free Polo Shirt and Coaches Briefcase courtesy of All Volleyball and Mizuno USA.

Ready, Set, Volleyball: Word Search

Carefree summer days may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited to go back to school…after all, it means back to volleyball!  Here is a puzzle to get your brain back into the swing of things.  Plus it is volleyball themed = bonus!  Enjoy it now or save it for the bus ride to your first away game!

Ready, Set, Volleyball!  Word Search

Ready, Set, Volleyball! Word Search

Workout Wednesday – August 27th

Lovin' this Under Armour workout outfit!

Lovin’ this Under Armour workout outfit!

Workout Tip:  remember to reward yourself!  Making small goals can help keep you motivated and positive, which will help you reach your ultimate goal.  Once of my favorite things to do is treat myself with a new workout outfit.  It is cute, yet practical and I know it is something I will use.  Plus, I can mix and match with my other fitness fashions or wear it running errands to put a little cute in my chores.

My newest obsession?  Tanks with legging capris!  Get this outfit exclusively from All Volleyball – in our St. Louis store or – and take your workout to functionally fashionable!

Under Armour Women’s Volleyball Tank Top – Neon Yellow

Under Armour Volleyball Alpha Capri – Neo Pulse

Under Armour Women’s 1236768 Alpha Solid Sports Bra