4 Steps to a Better Low Back

Here are 4 steps that will improve your volleyball back strength by developing core stability and hip mobility.

Step 1: Core Stability

Step 1 focuses on improving core endurance.

You must use perfect technique (neutral spine, hips extended).

You must pass these basic tests…

  • 90 second side plank

  • 2 minute front plank

  • 2 minute back reverse plank

Once you are able to perform these exercises with perfect form in the required time, you can move on to Step 2.

Hip Mobility

Do isolated work where there’s no stability demands. Everything is "ground based".

Example, Supine Straight Leg Raise Exercise – Lie on your back and raise one leg straight up. You can place a folded towel under your lower back to help round. This gets the focus on using the hips. Repeat with opposite leg.

Step 2: Pelvic Alignment

1. Improve Pelvic Alignment

Use the force coupling concept. Get muscles on the front side of your hips to work well together to promote motion with the muscles on the back side of the hips. Hip flexors in the front pull down, while the spinal erectors in the back pull up.

2. Isolated Core Work

Example, Ab Wheel Exercise.

This is more than just core training!

This works your anterior core, glutes, and hamstrings. All these muscles improve your alignment bringing you back closer to neutral spine.

Hip Mobility

Do basic mobility work. Focus on one joint (at the hip).

Example, Knee Up Walk Exercise. You're not flexing the spine in this movement... it's all about the hips! Extended upper back, neutral spine, and movement through the hips.

Step 3: Force Reduction/neutralization

Core Stability

At this phase, focus on force reduction/neutralization. You want to be training usable strength.

Perform exercises that prevent rotation. An example would be alternating dumbbell rows. Also, single arm military presses is another example. These types of exercises enforce spine stabilization.

Hip Mobility

Advanced mobility training begins at this phase.

Begin to work in conjunction with activation. Work with maximal stability demands. Work multiple joints/planes of movement.

Step 4: Force Transmission

This is the beginning of training "force transmission".

Think about a good volleyball spike. When a volleyball player takes steps during the approach, force is sent into the ground.

Power is transmitted from the ground up through the core and finishes in the extremities.

This is how the body is suppose to work. If you’re loose in the lumbar spine, there will be an energy leak and you’re losing power and risking injury.

Spiking a Volleyball

To spike effectively, you need to be good at transmitting power.

Power = Speed + Strength

Example, Medicine Ball Rotational Throw Exercise.

Volleyball Medicine Ball Throw

Medicine Ball Throw for Volleyball

Volleyball Medicine Ball Throw

Medicine Ball Throw for Volleyball

Example below, Medicine Ball Overhead Slam Exercise. Keep your stomach drawn in and braced during the movement.

You'll benefit greatly from these medicine ball exercises if you do them correctly.

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