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Body makeover: Tips to get a beach volleyball body

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Serve up your best body

You don't have to bump, set and spike your way to a beach volleyball body! Get the toned abs, sculpted shoulders and enviable legs of a beach volleyball player by following the tips of the pros themselves.

Woman playing beach volleyball

Train your core

Every player, from relative newbie 20-year old Summer Ross to three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh, stresses the importance of core training. Ross' statement, "I love to do abs every day," pretty much cuts to the chase, while Walsh and Brittany Hochevar both swear by Pilates. "Pilates is my favorite thing. I love all of it — it lengthens me, decompresses me, gives me good body awareness and I get stronger everywhere," Walsh claims.

Hochevar loves Pilates so much she became an instructor. "I'm a certified Pilates instructor. I had a back injury that should have ended my career in 2006, and I came back from it holistically, refusing surgery. I drank the [Pilates] Kool-Aid, so to speak. Every workout should include a flexion, extension, side bend and a twist. You're only as old as your spine!"

Try it

Add a few core moves to the end of every workout. Ross' favorite is the medicine ball Russian twist, while Hochevar suggests the Pilates 100s.

  • Medicine ball Russian twist: two sets, 20 repetitions to each side
  • Pilates 100s: three sets

Medicine ball Russian twist

Medicine ball Russian twist:

  1. Sit on a mat with your knees bent, your heels on the ground, a medicine ball in your hands.
  2. Rotate your shoulders to the left as far as you can, aiming to touch the medicine ball to the ground,
  3. Reverse the movement and return to center, continuing to rotate through the center and all the way to the right, as far as you can.
  4. Return to center. This completes a single repetition.

Pilates 100

Pilates 100:

  1. Lie on a mat with your hips and knees bent, your legs raised so your shins are parallel to the floor.
  2. Roll your head, neck and shoulders up off the mat and extend your arms fully so that your hands are next to your hips, about 2 inches off the floor.
  3. Pump your arms up and down at your sides, breathing in for five pumps, then breathing out for five pumps, continuing for a full count of 100.

Mix things up

No one wants to spend every day in the gym. Walsh's new partner, Whitney Pavlik, stresses the importance of cross-training outside, "I love doing outdoorsy things — wakeboarding, snowboarding, paddleboarding — really anything outside."

Her affinity for outdoor workouts is equaled by new AVP wonder woman Emily Day. "I love running. I go along our strand in front of the beach. I usually recruit a friend to come along."

Try it

Keep your workouts fun by taking advantage of the world around you and recognizing that not every workout needs to be the same. Pick one day each week and use it to try a new activity or splurge on a special class, like hot yoga or aerial silks. If you don't have access to specialty classes, add a new exercise to your normal routine, like BOSU paddleboarding. This exercise engages your core while also working your shoulders, back and biceps.

BOSU paddleboarding

BOSU Paddleboarding:

  1. Stand on a BOSU ball with the black platform is facing up, holding a weighted bar vertically between your hands. Place your left hand toward the top of the weighted bar and your right hand about 1 to 2 feet lower.
  2. Extend your arms directly in front of your shoulders, then shift them to the right so that the weighted bar is in front of and to the right of your body.
  3. "Paddle" with the weighted bar by pulling your right elbow directly back toward your body, squeezing your right shoulder blade as you draw it in.
  4. Perform 10 paddles on one side before switching to the opposite side.

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