Baywatch” bodies are not exclusive to the silver screen. In fact, the AVP is bringing some of the most beautiful beach bodies to an oceanfront near you. With the pro beach volleyball league’s season in full swing through September, the fittest athletes may be kicking up sand near you during their eight-stop tour, which includes Seattle, San Francisco, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Chicago and more. (Check out the full schedule.)
You don’t need to be a volleyball fanatic to appreciate watching these sculpted bodies in action. But if you prefer to hit the gym and work on your own beach body rather than sit on the sidelines soaking up the sun, here a handful of go-to exercises from top volleyball players to sculpt a strong, sexy silhouette for summer.
Emily Day, 3-time AVP winner, currently on the number 1 ranked AVP team
Go-to move: Split-stance squat jumps. “It gets my glutes activated, my quads burning, my core turned on, plus it gets my heart pumping. For beach volleyball, my legs are never fully rested so doing an exercise that practices jumping when my legs are tired is perfect to improve my game.”
Try it: Start in a lunge with your hands on your hips. Engage your core as you jump up, switching your front and back legs mid-air. Land with the opposite leg in front. That’s one rep. Watch your knee positioning: You don’t want your forward or back knee collapsing when you land. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Stafford Slick, five-time AVP third-place finisher, second-place finisher at the 2017 AVP NYC Open
Go-to move: Hang three ways. “Comprehensive core strength is crucial for dynamic and powerful athletic movements. This exercise targets both upper and lower abs as well as obliques.”
Try it: Start hanging in a neutral position. Bring your knees to your right armpit (or as close as you can), then fully extend back to neutral. Next, bring your knees to your chest, then fully extend back to neutral. Lastly, bring your knees to your left armpit, then fully extend back to neutral. Complete all three directions for one rep. Perform 7–10 reps. For an added challenge, lower your legs to full neutral extension on a 3-count.
HIPS & BACK
Brittany Hochevar, currently on the number 1-ranked AVP team with Emily Day
Go-to move: Lateral band walks with shoulder activation. “It hits everything that needs to be turned on for a defender, like myself, right before battle. I can do these as quickly or as slowly and as deliberately as I please. The resistance in both directions creates a cool meditation space of the push pull before a match.”
Try it: Start in an athletic position with one theraband looped around your ankles and the ends of another theraband in each hand. Lower to a squat position to create slight tension in the band. Keep your arms straight out in front, shoulder-width apart at shoulder-height. As one leg steps laterally, creating more tension in the band, both arms also extend laterally, keeping them straight and at shoulder height. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together, activating your back muscles. Keep your knees and toes aligned and make sure your shoulders are relaxed (not hunched by your ears). Do 8–10 steps out and back.
Ryan Doherty, 2-time winner and tallest AVP athlete at 7-foot-1
Go-to move: Band Y-T-As. “The Y-T-As are great to help stabilize your shoulders. Volleyball requires us to swing forward with our hitting arm over and over, so it is good to exercise the opposite muscles that help to keep the shoulder blade in its socket. This won’t be as taxing as other exercises that focus on bigger muscles groups, but will help keep you in the game by preventing injury.”
Try it: Wrap a theraband around something stationary and sturdy. With one end in clasped hands, make a “Y” by bringing your arms up and back at a 45 degree angle. After 10 reps, make a “T” by bringing your arms straight back. Do 10 more reps, then back and down at a 45 degree angle to make the “A” for another 10 reps.
Kelsey Robinson, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, trains on the beach for pro indoor volleyball
Go-to move: A series of three defensive slides. “I love these exercises because they always force me to engage my core while keeping tension in the band. They work my quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and translate directly to the court or sand. Performing all three moves is a great warmup or quick workout on its own.”
Try it: Wrap a theraband around your thighs, just above the knee, and slightly squat in a defensive position. This is the starting position for each exercise. Move number 1: Tighten your core and slowly step to your left, stretching the band tight (fire up your quads and glutes). Bring the right leg behind, keeping the band tension. Perform 20 steps to your left, then 20 steps to your right. Move number 2: While still in squat position, take a super-wide step forward to complete one “monster walk.” Take 20 steps forward and 20 backward, keeping band tension throughout. Move number 3: Walk forward in a straight line with your right foot forward. Slowly bring the left foot forward, keeping tension in the band. Continue to walk with your right foot in front the whole time for 20 steps. Next, do this backwards with your left foot leading you back for 20 steps. Repeat this same exercise with your left foot forward and your right foot back for the last variation. Do this series 3 x 20 steps each.
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