One of the most common complaints among volleyball players is aching shoulders. Your shoulder muscles and joints really take a beating during games, so it’s worth doing the right exercises to strengthen them to prevent injury.

Here are some shoulder exercises that will help you do just that. You’ll be able to spike the ball with more power for more extended periods, with shoulders that are primed to deal with the strenuous workout that volleyball provides.

Some of these exercises use resistance bands, which are excellent for toning your muscles while improving flexibility and balance.

Note: Only do these exercises after you’ve warmed up correctly.

Reverse fly

For this exercise, you’ll need a pull-up band. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Stand with your feet in the middle of the resistance band.
  2. Cross the ends over to form a large X, holding each end of the band in your hands. The band should cross below your knees.
  3. Bend forward slightly while hinging at the hips. Keep your spine straight and a slight bend in your knees as you move.
  4. Now pull upward on the band, bringing your hands out to your sides until they are at chest height or above.
  5. Pull both shoulder blades together and hold for a few seconds before returning slowly to your starting position.
  6. Repeat as needed (for instance, 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps each).

Front raise

Keep your core engaged. Your back should be straight with your butt tucked in.

  1. Stand in the same position as in the previous exercise, with the pull-up band crossed in front of you as before.
  2. Start with the end of the resistance band in each hand and your palms on your thighs.
  3. Now raise both arms straight in front of you to bring them to shoulder height.
  4. Pause at the top of the position and then hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering your arms back to your starting position

Standing rows

As with the previous exercise, make sure your posture is correct before you begin.

  1. Wrap the middle of the pull-up band around a pole or another stationary object. You want the band to be at the level of your solar plexus.
  2. Hold both ends of the pull-up band in your hands, with your arms straight out in front of you.
  3. Now bring your hands towards you as you bend your elbows. Pull together your shoulder blades and bring your hands towards your body, keeping your forearms parallel with the floor.
  4. Your arms should come back until they rest on either side of your ribcage.
  5. Pause before returning to the starting position.

4-inch pumps

This exercise will work your shoulders hard. Do this for 30 seconds per set.

  1. Stand up straight with a short resistance band (such as a hip circle band) wrapped around both hands. Your arms should be in front of you with your hands by your thighs. Your palms are facing your thighs.
  2. Keeping both arms straight, pulse the band to bring your arms out towards the sides. Keep pulsing for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat as needed.
  3. Repeat this exercise with your arms rotated so that your palms are facing forwards

Chest height pulses

  1. Stand as you were for the previous exercise.
  2. With the band around your hands, bring your arms straight out in front of you at chest height. Your palms are facing each other.
  3. Pulse your arms out to the sides, keeping them at shoulder height and keeping your back straight with your butt tucked in.
  4. If you wish, you could repeat this exercise with your palms facing the floor and then again with your palms facing the ceiling.

Band pull-aparts

This exercise will not only strengthen your shoulders but will help improve your overall posture.

  1. Take the ends of your pull-up band in each hand and stand with your back straight. The closer both hands are to the center of the band, the greater the resistance you’ll feel.
  2. Tuck your butt in and keep your back straight. Bend your elbows slightly with your hands in front of you and holding the band at chest height.
  3. Pull the resistance band apart as far as you are able while pulling your shoulder blades together.
  4. Hold for a few seconds before slowly coming back to your starting position.
  5. You can then do a variation of this exercise by holding your arms straight above your head. Pull the band apart while lowering your arms to shoulder height and pressing both hands out to the sides. Hold at the bottom position before slowly bringing your arms back up again.