Lacrosse athletes require the same type of strength, power and conditioning work as soccer players. They’ve got to be able to sprint, cut, jump and shoot, and perform these activities for a relatively long duration. Therefore, a comprehensive workout routine for a lacrosse athlete should include weight training for strength, plyometrics work for power and speed, and sprints for overall conditioning.
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Preparing your Body
Before each weight-training, plyometrics or sprint workout, it’s important that you take the additional time to complete a proper dynamic warm-up. A dynamic warm-up will not only reduce your risk of injury, but because your body will be warm and your neuromuscular system awake, you’ll have greater workout performance. Start with cardio activites like jumping jacks, jogging and jumping rope, then move onto dynamic movements like body-weight squats squats, skips, shuffles, high knees and butt kicks.
According to Jay Dyer, the strength and conditioning coach for the men’s lacrosse team at Johns Hopkins University, lacrosse players should focus on building strength in their lower body, abs, lower back and -- because they have to make high-velocity shots -- the lats and triceps. Exercises he suggests include lateral lunges and single-leg hamstring bridges, which work the glutes, quads and calves; plate twists for torso rotational strength; and straight-leg abs, which involve lying on your back with your legs pointed toward the ceiling, then lowering them slowly toward the floor. To work your lats, incorporate lat pull-down, pull-ups and rows. Hit your triceps with dips and close-grip push-ups. Lift two to three days per week, with sessions on nonconsecutive days, and complete three sets of six to 12 reps of each exercise.
Sprinting, jumping and shooting in lacrosse requires explosive power, which is developed with plyometrics. To build power in your hips and legs, incorporate lateral line jumps, squat jumps and split squat jumps into your workouts. Lateral line jumps involve jumping side-to-side over a line, limiting the time your feet are on the floor. Squat jumps are performed by first lowering into a full squat and then exploding up into a maximum height jump. As soon as you land, lower into a squat to go into the next rep. For split squat jumps, lower into a lunge and then explode into a jump off both feet. While you’re in the air, change positions of your legs so the foot that was in back is now in front. Land and immediately lower into a lunge for the next rep. Complete two sets of 10 reps of lateral line jumps and two sets of five reps of both squat jumps and split squat jumps. Because of the intensity of plyometrics, perform them only twice per week with three days off between sessions.
Speed and Conditioning
Lacrosse athletes must be well-conditioned to last an entire match. Nick O’Brien, strength coach of Salisbury University’s men’s lacrosse, recommends incorporating three conditioning sessions into your weekly regimen. One day is dedicated to the pyramid run drill and the second day is focused on sprints for time. On the third day, you perform 60-meter sprints. The pyramid run drill involves running 800 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters and two sets of 100 meters, resting 60 seconds between each sprint. The sprints-for-time workout involves trying to increase the distance you can travel in a set amount of time. Sprint sets are 30 seconds, 35 seconds, 40 seconds and 45 seconds long, building up with each set. Then you make your way down, sprinting 40 seconds, 35 seconds and finishing with 30 seconds. In between timed sprints, jog for 45 to 60 seconds. For the 60-meter sprint workout, perform a total of 15 sprints, resting 30 seconds between each one.