Lacrosse Strength Training
You’re pretty much gonna need it all here, as lacrosse is likely the most athletic sport there is. Lean muscle, strength and power in all 3 planes of motion are keys to excelling in this sport.
Gaining muscle is necessary for optimal performance, but it must not come at the expense of speed. Careful consideration to all training and nutrition variables must be given to ensure that you are not getting slower while gaining size. And that size will help you to take on and initiate contact with greater force, a key element for success.
Power training helps with the speed side, too, but an extra emphasis must be placed on explosive rotational drills to help with passing and shot power. You should use Olympic Lifting, plyometrics, and medicine ball exercises to make gains here.
3-Dimensional core stablity is also useful. It will help to improve shot power, speed, agility, and can even help improve your endurance.
Hand-eye coordination and vision drills are also recommended additions to your workout plan, particularly for those who have trouble shooting and passing accurately on a regular basis.
Lacrosse Speed & Agility Training
With a large field to cover, and plenty of reactive events that occur in games, your speed training should be diverse and intense.
Sprint and acceleration training is critical to helping you cover long distances as quickly as possible. There are some key elements to developing both initial acceleration and top speed in order to maximize sprint potential. Finding an experienced, knowledgeable speed coach who can accurately diagnose your weak points can do wonders for improving your speed for lacrosse.
Once your technique becomes excellent, you should consider carrrying your stick while sprinting just as you would in games and practices. This will alter your movement patterns, but with a great fundamental base you will find the most efficient way to run with the stick in your hands.
Cutting and reactive quickness are also essential elements for lacrosse. Exercises should progress from programmed cutting patterns to reactive offense vs. defense competitive events once your basic agility skills become efficient and automatic. This may take years, so be careful no to rush your agility work to a high level too quickly.
Conditioning for Lacrosse
There are two parts to getting in peak condition for any sport:
- Maximize your aerobic base
- Maximize your anaerobic potential
For all sports developing the aerobic base is the same – you need to do steady state work for relatively long periods of time (20 minutes or more). This will help you to recover faster from the demands of your sport, and it increases your potential to build the next step in your conditioning – the anaerobic phase.
Anaerobic exercise is the type you cannot do for very long periods of time without resting. Think sprints, or any other all-out effort. The way you develop this area is highly dependent on how your sport is played.
For lacrosse players having a great aerobic base is critical. The anaerobic base should be built by progressively working up to the specific work-rest ratios for your position, age, and level.
Let’s say as an example you are a U16 midfielder and based on either your coach or parents charting your activities in a game they see that you run 10 short sprints (<10 yds), 4 long sprints (>10 yds), and have 5 one-on-one battles in tight space over a 15 minute period. The rest of the time is spent doing light jogging or with no motion.
Anaerobic workouts for this player should progressively work up to these conditions.
At a peak level, you could space out ten 10 YD sprints, five more sprints of 20-40 yds in length, and complete 5 agility sets in a 15 minute session, with in between time used for light jogging, walking, or brief rests with water breaks.
A sound lacrosse conditioning plan will blend aerobic capabilities with speed endurance. By running your endurance program in phases, you can build up an aerobic base before taking on the highly intense lactate threshold training necessary to continue to play fast late in games.
Injury Prevention for Lacrosse
Despite being the safest of the three collision sports (football and ice hockey being the other two), many common problems still exist. Fortunately, most of these injuries can be minimized with a good workout plan.
The greatest percentage of lacrosse injuries are sprains to the ankle and knee (ACL/MCL). Knee sprain and ligament tear rates are even higher among females. For those not caused by contact, your injury potential can be lessened through hip training that focuses on mobility and strengthening.
Pulled muscles in the legs are also seen regularly, particularly to the hamstrings, quads, groin and calf. Balanced levels of strength and flexibliity between the muscles in the legs can lower your risk.
Upper leg contusions are the results of direct impact, and the lack of thigh padding. Other than building muscle mass to protect the bones, not much else can be done to protect you here.
Tendonitis in the IT band and patella (knee cap) tendon results from overuse. A careful regulation of training volume both in sport and with your workouts will prevent these. And common sense is key – when pain starts to mount from tendonitis the only known cure is rest. Listen to your body, and you’ll be fine in the long run.
Upper body injuries in lacrosse are almost exclusively the result of direct impacts. Strong, stable shoulders and a powerful core are your best defenses against them.
Youth Lacrosse Training Considerations
The best thing a young lax player can do is develop their hand-eye coordination to the highest degree. Sprinkled into some practice drills and any training they may undertake, simple challenges with catching and throwing are highly recommended before age 14. You can add a balance component to the drills to make them even more beneficial.
On top of that, youth lacrosse training should take a wide-ranging approach to athletic development, using bodyweight strength training and lots of movement (SAQ) skill work regularly. Just about every athletic skill comes into play for lacrosse, and complete development is critical.
Any safe, age-appropriate physical activity for younger players is going to benefit them in some way. Staying active is very important for their long-term success.
Lacrosse Training at Power Source
Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire lacrosse players can train with us in any of our elite programs. We’ll tailor your training specifically to target your greatest areas of strength and power needs, as well as help protect you from any potential injury risks, in our Group Personal Training Program.
Our Speed & Agility Classes are designed to enhance the sprint and agility technique through expert coaching, video analysis, sprint treadmills, and a handful of other tools.
At certain times of year we also run week-long Speed Clinics, and are open to working with teams and organizations to set up a private clinic just for your players. Feel free to contact us at any time to inquire about training for an individual athlete, or private clinic/team training options.