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Steal Volleyball Stars' Get-Fit Tricks

Whitney Pavlik slams a shot past a defender as Jenny Kropp cheers her on. (Photo by Jim Heath/IMG)

You may have retired your bikini for the season, but certain athletes have to stay two piece-ready all year! Beach volleyball pros play hard, lunge and jump—all while donning one of the skimpiest outfits in sports. So how do they keep their confidence up? By training hard! "What gets me to the gym even when I'm not motivated is that fact that our uniform is a bikini," says Whitney Pavlik, 2008 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Rookie of the Year. We caught up with Pavlik and three other top players from the AVP before this weekend's Hermosa Beach Open to learn more about how they got their start in the sport, how they stay motivated and how they train to top the competition.

  • Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik, partners and winners of the Manhattan Beach Open in August

How did you first get interested in volleyball? Kropp: "My mom was a P.E. teacher, so she borrowed nets from the school during the summer and we set them up in our backyard."

How do you get pumped up before big matches? Kropp: "We listen to 'Lighters' by Eminem on Bruno Mars until we get to the beach."

What is your favorite way to cross train? Kropp: "I love to work out with TRX Suspension Training. Single leg squats, lunges, abs, even jumping jacks can be integrated into the workout."

What are your goals for the future? Pavlik: "We're taking each year at a time, but the 2016 Olympics is the ultimate end goal." Read on for more from two other volleyball stars rocking the beaches!

  • Annett Davis, 2000 Olympian, former AVP top 10 female player

What motivated you to take up volleyball? "I looked up to my sister who played volleyball. She's 10 years older than me and I used to shag balls for her team. Being an African American, it wasn't a sport that was popular for us, but we decided to play anyway."

Do you ever train at home? "I'm a homeschooling mother of two, so my training days have to be concise. I usually train at the beach early in the day and sometimes I do P90X plyometrics, abs and legs DVDs."

What is one quick, effective volleyball move we can try at home to tone up? "Try doing approaches—pretending you are going to spike a volleyball with a full jump and swing about 15 to 20 times in a row. It will get your heart pumping and will fire your leg, butt, arm and ab muscles."

  • Kelly Schumacher, former WNBA athlete, two-year pro volleyball player

You won a national championship with your team at UCONN for basketball and won two WNBA championships. So why volleyball? "I was athletic in high school and volleyball was always my favorite. I was offered a basketball scholarship at one of the biggest programs in the nation, so I put volleyball on the back burner. But I always missed it and dreamed of playing volleyball despite the enjoyment I also got out of basketball."

What gets you to the gym on days when your motivation is low? "I view my training as an unbreakable appointment—it's something that's as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth. Plus, my husband was a U.S. Navy SEAL and he rarely lets me get away with anything!"

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