6 Best Upper Body Workouts to Improve Your Volleyball Spike

Upperbody workouts are essential for volleyball spike. (Image via Unsplash / Paulo Henrique Macedo Dias)
Upperbody workouts are essential for volleyball spike. (Image via Unsplash / Paulo Henrique Macedo Dias)

Upper body workouts aren't just about doing sets and reps, but they can also help you to improve your volleyball spike. They are about having a solid base for the rest of your body.

Generally, volleyball athletes perform large compound movements or explosive movements. Explosive movements are constantly present in volleyball for one simple reason: to improve the reaction time and to contribute to the acceleration of a player during a spike, block or kill.

Exercises to Improve Your Volleyball Spike

If a player wants to be successful with their jumps, power development should happen through repetition of exercises throughout the season. Here are six of the best upper body workout exercises to improve your volleyball spike form, mechanics and power:

1) T-Spine Rotation

Hitting volleyball spikes means rotating your shoulders independent of your hips, helping to produce more power and reducing the chance of overworking the lower back. Spine rotations keep mobility and range of motion in your thoracic spine.


To do this exercise:

  • Beginning on your hands and knees, place one hand on the back of your head with the elbow out to the side at shoulder height.
  • Breathe in as you open up your shoulders, and lift your arm toward the sky.
  • Breathe out as you rotate so that your shoulder and elbow point toward the ground.
  • Keep your hips still as you rotate with each breath cycle.

2) Wall Angels

Shoulder blade rotation is how you get a spike in volleyball. Our shoulder blades play a huge role in the proper function of our shoulders, so working on flexibility and control of these muscles is important. Wall angels are a great exercise to work on these movements as well as opening up tight muscles in the chest.


To do wall angels:

  • Stand with your arms at a 90-degree angle and your elbows, forearms and wrists against the wall.
  • Keep your back flat on the wall as well.
  • Pull your shoulders back away from the wall to make more room for your hands as you raise them up overhead.
  • Smoothly bring your arms down as far as possible till your thumbs are beside your shoulders.
  • Repeat this exercise several times to gain flexibility in your upper body.

3) Wall Slide

Wall slides can improve your volleyball serves and spikes on the court, as well as boosting shoulder and core strength.


Here's how you do this exercise:

  • Stand with your arms extended in front of you, palms against a wall.
  • Slowly press your forearms into the wall as you raise your arms up above your head.
  • Bring them back down slowly and smoothly, inhaling as you lift and exhaling on the way back down.
  • Keep your spine straight and tall as you move.

4) Cat/Cow Exercise

The cat/cow exercise can help improve your style of volleyball spikes through your spine. By extending and flexing your spine, you can rotate your shoulders to prepare for the hit and flex as you follow through.


To do this exercise:

  • Get in a comfortable position, start with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
  • Breathe in; press between your shoulder blades towards the roof and arch back.
  • Let your breath flow out as you drop your chest toward the floor, lifting your chin for the roof.
  • Repeat slowly and with control.

5) Push-up

You can improve your volleyball spikes with push-ups. You'll build core strength and shoulder stabiliser muscles and also train your chest and triceps for a stronger throw.


Here's how you do it:

  • To do a push-up, get into a high plank position with your feet hip-width apart and hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Keeping yourself long from your heels to your ears, lower your chest to the ground while making sure there's a 45 degree angle between your torso and your arms.
  • From the starting position, push yourself back up till you're standing.

6) Pull-ups

Pull-ups strengthen the muscles needed for a volleyball spike and can improve your overhead position for more powerful hitting.


To do pull-ups:

  • Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Imagine trying to bend the bar over your head as you drive your head up.
  • Control the weight down when you lift it back up.


If you're serious about improving your volleyball spike, adding some upper body strength training and power sets after your lower body training can be beneficial for you. If you don't have time for both, choose one that gives you the most bang for your buck.

Finding the balance between them may depend on your abilities, what types of drills you prefer and how much time you have to train. Even if you're only training a few times a week, working on each aspect is going to help you improve your form, increase your power and reduce the risk of injury while spiking.

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Edited by Bhargav