As passionate as you are about playing volleyball, everyone, regardless of passion, looks forward to kicking back, relaxing, and taking their eye off the prize for a short time.
While it’s important to prioritize rest and recovery, especially when you put your body through grueling training regimes and push it to the limit during games, abandoning your fitness during the off-season can set you back when it’s time to get back on the field.
Volleyball may be a seasonal sport but staying in shape during the off-season will give you a head start and help you bring your A-game when it’s time to get back onto the court. Apart from maintaining your fitness, the off-season is the perfect time to improve your technique, build strength, and develop healthy habits.
Continue reading to learn how to stay fit and in shape during the off-season.
Don’t Neglect Nutrition
When you’re not in your regular training routine, it’s easy to let healthy habits slip, which allows unhealthy habits to creep in. Unfortunately, building healthy habits again is usually more challenging than maintaining them. As a result, it’s helpful to keep up your healthy eating habits.
Make sure you hit your macros and consume whole, unprocessed foods close to their natural state for most meals. These should include protein, complex carbs, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
This doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of less healthy foods that you like, but these should be an occasional treat enjoyed in moderation. Going through the drive-through to grab your favorite fast food on a Saturday night or indulging in a chocolate bar as a post-dinner treat is perfectly okay, as long as these aren’t everyday occurrences!
Another thing you must keep up with is your supplements. As an athlete, your body typically requires more nutrients as you expend more energy and put your body through more strain. You may think since you’re not working out as hard, you don’t need to supplement, but this isn’t the case. Since you must still train, taking the correct supplements is important.
There’s a wide range of supplements on the market. So, if you’re unsure or looking to change what you’re taking during the season, now is a good time. Look at Barbend’s recommendations of post-workout supplements that offer a handy guide to some great options.
Cardio exercise should be a part of every athlete’s training program. Some of the benefits of cardio workouts include the following:
- Strengthens the heart so that it’s easier to pump blood
- Expands the lung capacity so that more air can enter the lungs
- Improves circulation
- Increases endurance
- Cardio exercises like hiking and climbing stairs increase the bone density
- It prevents you from developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- It lowers stress levels and is excellent for your mental health
- Elevates your mood, helping you to be positive, as endorphins are released when you do cardio
There are several types of cardio exercises that you can incorporate into your fitness routine, like running, jogging, or cycling. But if you’re hoping to spend less time in the gym, there are other things you can do that count as cardio.
To get your dose of cardio out of the gym, go for a hike or a brisk walk in the park. This allows you to be outdoors and breathe in the fresh air and can also be an opportunity to spend time with friends – win-win! Swimming is another fantastic cardiovascular exercise that is a full-body workout.
Practise Basic Techniques
Practicing the basics every day or every other day will go a long way in maintaining your muscle memory so that when the season starts, these fundamental moves will come naturally to you. Basic mechanics to practice include serving, hitting, passing, and setting.
You don’t have to spend hours practicing these mechanics daily – just a few reps done properly will help maintain your muscle memory.
You likely incorporate strength training into your regular workout routine, and you must keep this up to maintain your muscle mass and strength. Again, you don’t have to work out and lift weights in the gym if you’d like to see less of the gym during the off-season.
If you’re looking for something new, take a HIIT or Crossfit class. You can also follow a class or workout online in the comfort of your home.
Yoga and Meditation
Playing volleyball, like any sport, takes a toll on your body, but you must also work on your mind to ensure that you are positive, motivated, and in the right headspace to win any sport.
An excellent method to do this is to do yoga or mediate. Yoga focuses on breathing techniques and helps to destress and quieten your mind.
It also improves flexibility and balance and can build core strength. Practicing yoga or meditating during the off-season is a fantastic way to realign yourself, destress and help prepare for the next season.
The off-season is a time to rest and recover in anticipation of the next season. But to perform at your peak, it’s essential that you stay in shape so that you’re not starting from scratch come the new season. You may not have to train as hard as you did during the season, but doing cardio, strength training, and practicing your mechanical moves will help you stay in shape. Yoga or meditation will help you destress and put you in a positive mind.