When I first started working with volleyball I did what I thought was correct and had the team run a couple times a week for conditioning like I would with our teams. Typically we would run two times a week with a sprint based day and a tempo based day, and then perform slideboard intervals on the other day(s) depending on whether we were training three or four days per week. This was a mistake.
The one thing I didn’t account for was the amount of time volleyball athletes spending jumping, more specifically landing, even in the off-season. As a result of this we found we had a handful of athletes that were dealing with some sore and cranky knees.
As a result we have changed our conditioning around a little. As much as I would like to run a couple times a week I had to take a smarter approach. Depending on how many days we are training, we now continue to run once per week, slideboard once or twice a week, and ride the Assault Bike once or twice a week allowing us to have much fewer ground contacts over the course of the week. The result: zero knee soreness.
As a result of this we have also implemented a Max Aerobic Speed (MAS) on the Assault Bike that we stole from Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning/Movement as Medicine. It’s an extremely simple test; 2 Miles as fast as you can then take the average RPM’s over the course of the 2 mile ride. We will then take that average number to program appropriate RPM’s during our various assault bike conditioning protocols throughout the off-season. This allows us to individualize the conditioning on the bikes and allows us to make sure each athlete is working at a pace (RPM’s) during each interval no matter what bike protocol we are using.