Every Volleyball player loves to hate them
Mention wall Sits to a volleyball player and they’ll instantly be taken to a place of magic.
Volleyball players, at least all of them that I’ve talked with, love to hate “Wall Sits”. Mention doing them in practice and you can see the life drain out of their face. Rightfully so, Wall Sits are miserable.
I’ve worked with Volleyball players and one day the question struck a cord in me and I wanted the answer, “Why are Wall Sits so popular in Volleyball practices?”
After talking with coaches and players, there was commonality in the answers; leg Strength, conditioning and mental toughness.
This led me to the realization that Wall sits may be one of the most misunderstood exercises used by the volleyball community.
I’m not saying that these are the wrong reasons to do wall sits but what I am saying is that there are better ways to train these things. Wall sits are a fantastic isometric exercise that can develop some pretty impressive force production for jumping athletes.
If you’re a forward thinking Volleyball coach that’s open to the idea that there could be a better way of doing things, I’m here to offer up some thoughts and ideas.
Isometric exercises by nature produce lactate and although there hasn’t been any science linking lactate to fatigue it has been linked to the destruction of mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for creating energy from oxygen and oxygen is responsible for bringing vital nutrients to muscles.
While athletes engaged in wall sits are feeling that burn in their legs the very mitochondria responsible for keeping their legs ‘fresh’ and energized are being destroyed.
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I can hear the screams of “heresy” coming through my screen. I knew that this would cause outrage and was going to draw some attention but on the other hand, that’s why I wanted to write it.
There are some things that can be done during practices or weight room sessions that will do everything you want as a volleyball coach.
Considering the science behind lactate and its effect on localized conditioning it seems important to look into alternate methods of developing the take away from Wall Sits. Strength, conditioning, and mental toughness. There are two ways that you can really work to develop all of these things while growing mitochondria in the legs.
The simplest and easiest is a training method referred to as tempo intervals or oxidative work. These are simply a way to cause mitochondrial biogenesis in a localized fashion.
In the target muscle group you’ll want to choose a multi-joint exercise. I’ve had great success using the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) by using Squats, Deadlift or Push Ups. Aim at starting with a low prescription such as 2 or 3 sets of 10. You’ll want each set to take approximately 40 seconds with the muscles under constant tension. Follow each set with 40s of rest.
When all the sets of an exercise are done you’ll want to do 7-10 minutes of active rest such as jogging, biking, or in the case of near-season sport training; sport specific drills. In the case of Volleyball I would suggest some easy low intensity volleying.
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