Experts Explain How to Get a Volleyball Player’s Body

A volleyball body is a strong, slender form with excellent muscle tone and leanness.

It also comes with top-notch athleticism including an incredible vertical leap!

This level of strength and aesthetic appeal is clearly attractive — it looks great in a bathing suit! — and thankfully it’s something that anyone can train for.

So how can you get a body like a volleyball player?

To get a body like a volleyball player, your first focus should be getting lean. Volleyball players have low levels of body fat and sharp, visible abs. From there, you’ll want to build up your shoulders and glutes (key muscles in volleyball) and work on explosive athletic training to complete the look.

I asked a few trainers for workout and nutrition tips for the volleyball physique, and here’s what they said.

What Are the Hallmarks of the Volleyball Physique?

Tobias Sjösten, fitness coach, says:

“To me, a volleyball body is characterized as ‘slender’. For quantification … I think the typical ‘beach body’ is pretty close to what most people think of for volleyball players.”

Tobias mentions a study on the body composition of competitive female volleyball players (found here), and it’s pretty clear—volleyball players are extremely lean.

However, what the study neglects to mention is the sheer strength that players possess; particularly in their shoulders and glutes.

The strength comes from how players move and generate power.

For example, Joshua Margolis, fitness consultant CPT, talks about this power element while discussing the importance of training your glutes.

He states, “So much of your source of power and how it’s generated comes from the glutes.”

So a volleyball body is:

  • Lean & toned
  • Powerful, with good muscle size
  • And features well-developed shoulders and glutes

Sergio Pedemonte, personal trailer, mentions the athletic and internal functions of a volleyball body too.

He says, “The volleyball style of training if done safely is excellent for promoting full-body bone health, joint stability, functional muscle hypertrophy, and body awareness.”

Overall, it’s a fantastic body to train for if you value your body’s health as well as its appearance.

6 Training Tips for a Volleyball Player Body

If it’s a beach body you want, why not go for a beach volleyball body?!

Here are some tips from personal trainers to get you started both in and out of the gym.

#1. Eat for Fat Loss (and Great Workouts)

As demonstrated by the study above, volleyball players are slim.

Tobias Sjösten gets specific, stating, “around 20-22% (body fat) or so for women, 10-12% for men” is the right range for this physique.

That means visible abs in most cases.

There are two changes you can make to help you achieve this level of lean.

Choosing the Right Foods

To have such a low body fat percentage, you need to focus on eating filling, healthy foods and limiting your overall calorie intake enough to promote fat loss.

Generally, you should limit or cut out:

  • Alcohol
  • Sugary drinks
  • Artificial fruit juices
  • Processed foods/ready-meals
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sugar-filled baked goods
  • Saturated fats

These foods aren’t necessarily objectively “bad,” they just pack a lot of calories without filling you up or bringing a lot of nutrients to the table.

From there, you can focus on improving your diet and including: 

  • Complex carbs, such as whole grains and fiber-rich fruits
  • Healthy fats like nuts and dairy
  • Plenty of protein like chicken, fatty fish, and eggs

Protein is especially helpful while trying to build muscle, as it helps repair the microtears caused by actively growing your muscle mass.

Counting Calories

You should also look to control your calories somewhat if you want to emulate the lean and toned body of a volleyball player.

Now, don’t get excessive with it; too much focus on calories can take a toll on your mental health, and if you get too severe, your training will suffer.

Use an online calorie calculator to determine how many calories your body burns in a day.

Eat at that limit to maintain your weight, and eat under the limit to lose fat. 

Don’t be too extreme with your restrictions, though.

Cutting your intake by 500 calories a day is enough to lose around a pound per week; exercise will help you lose more, too.

Most people, especially who are active, should never eat less than 1,200 per day for women and 1,500 per day for men.

Cutting out the sugary, processed foods and beverages discussed earlier will help a lot with this without requiring you to severely restrict your overall food intake.

#2. Explosive Full-Body Plyometrics Workouts

Volleyball is high-energy. There’s running, there’s jumping, there’s spiking the ball.

It’s a full-body workout with dynamite-level explosion.

Your training should reflect the demands of the sport whenever possible.

Sergio Pedemonte says, “The training style needs to be done using explosive and controlled full-body movement, with an emphasis on jumping and rotation.”

Some moves that work your whole body include:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Jump squats
  • Box jumps
  • Stair climbing
  • Clapping pushups
  • Lunges and reverse lunge knee-ups
  • Pike roll-outs
  • Squats and jump squats
  • Heavy hip trusts
  • HIIT workouts

The good news is, a lot of your training can be done without weights or equipment!

Just remember to use explosive movements, like jumping lunges instead of slow lunges, for the best results.

Incorporate as much jumping as your body can handle, just watch out because these high-impact workouts can take a toll on your joints.

#3. Target Your Glutes

Volleyball players get most of their jumping power from their glutes.

This makes the glutes an incredibly muscular area; it’s one that’s worth targeting on its own.

Many of the moves performed in your full-body workouts will help here, and here are a few other exercises that’ll help too:

  • Step-ups
  • Sidestep squats using resistance bands
  • One-legged deadlifts
  • Kickboxing moves
  • Split squats
  • Glute bridges
  • Glute kickbacks

For building serious muscle and power in your booty, go for heavy weighted movements like deadlifts, squats, and hip thrusts as your primary exercises.

#4. Work On Upper-Body Strength

Volleyball players demonstrate upper-body strength all the time—it takes a lot of work to spike and serve the ball with enough power.

For this, you want to focus on getting powerful, toned shoulders and arms.

Here’s what Sergio Pedemonte recommends:

  • One-arm dumbbell snatch for 3-5 reps with a 30-second break between sides for 3-5 sets
  • Staggered stance banded low to high wood chops for 10-15 reps with a focus on controlled speed for 3 set
  • “3-5 counterbalance jumps straight into kettlebell swings 10-15 reps again with a focus on controlled speed.”

The gold standard for shoulders, however, has to be the overhead barbell press, or military press.

Tobias Sjösten recommends lots of overhead work when coveting a volleyball body; try to incorporate that into your workout routine any way you can for the best results.

Don’t forget to hit your back and biceps too, to avoid any imbalances.

Rows, pull-ups, and bicep curl variations should always be a part of your routine.

#5. Go the Extra Mile for Core Strength

You automatically build core strength when doing your full-body workouts.

If you really want to go that extra mile, though, give your core and abs some extra love.

Tobias Sjösten states that he’d put someone through a lot of ab work when training for a volleyball body.

You’re not looking to create huge, bulging abs, but some definition in the abdominal area is excellent.

Core strength can help give your jumps and your arm motions some extra power.

The best exercises for targeting core strength are challenging movements like plank variations, L sits, and more.

Don’t just rely on crunches all day long!

For more ab definition, consider these exercises too:

  • Russian twists
  • Jack knives
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Leg raises
  • Mountain climbers

#6. Play Some Ball

The tips above are enough to get you that volleyball body you’re seeking.

Select your favorite exercises from them, create routines that work for you, and put in the work.

However, there’s one last tip that anyone wanting a volleyball body should consider.

While you don’t have to play volleyball to gain the physique, it definitely helps.

Playing volleyball is a good way to burn calories for slimming down, build muscle, and have some fun. 

Playing the game is also a good test to see if your workouts are working. Is your performance improving? Your power? Your vertical leap?

If so, you’re well on your way to the volleyball physique.

Wrapping Up

The volleyball body isn’t overly complicated to achieve.

You’ll need to lean down until you can see visible abs — hey, we said it’s not complicated, we never said it’s easy!

From there, build up your power with explosive full-body training and work your shoulders and glutes hard.

Play some volleyball when you can to see how well your training is working, or use it as your cardio!

If you can stick with the plan over a long period of time, the volleyball body is achievable for anyone — even total beginners.

For more, check out:

Hope this helps!