Training & Fitness

Updated Tuesday January 7, 2014 by Gloucester Minor Lacrosse Association.

Lacrosse is a great sport that combines strength, skill, quickness, agility, creativity and finesse. Lacrosse requires a lot of running, stopping and going. It is a very dynamic sport and, unlike hockey, there is no gliding. Once you see a game of lacrosse, you’ll understand why it is called the “Fastest sport on two feet.” There is a common saying among lacrosse player (“laxmen”) that “one game of lacrosse is equivalent to 100 innings of baseball.”

Proper training and fitness can increase the player’s speed and power, eliminate or lessen fatigue and help prevent injuries.

Conditioning Exercises

Warming up and stretching before playing is a great way to prepare for a game and avoid muscle pulls. The Lacrosse Training Bible: The Complete Guide for Men and Women, by Vincent Perez-Mazzola has a great section on warm up and conditioning for strength, agility and flexibility.

Below is an excerpt from The Lacrosse Training Bible about warm up exercises.

Neck Rotations

This will warm the neck muscles while allowing the body to get used to the additional weight of the headgear if done wearing a helmet.

  • Step 1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Step 2. Begin a slow and controlled 360 degree headroll, increasing the range of motion with every revolution.
  • Beware cognizant of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 rotations to the right and then to the left.

Shoulder Rotations

Shoulder injuries are the number one upper body injury in lacrosse. Having strong and healthy shoulder joints is a must. When done properly, these exercises will help to strengthen the shoulder joint while keeping it limber, helping to prevent potential injuries.

  • Step 1. With your stick in one hand extend your arm out to your side at a 90 degree angle.
  • Step 2. Slowly make a small, controlled circle while keeping your stick vertical to the ground. Concentrate on making a full circle about 10 inches in diameter.
  • Step 3. Perform this exercise with your arm extended to the side, to the front, overhead and to the rear.
  • Be cognizant of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps to each side and in each direction.

Arm Twists

  • Step 1. Stand with your stick held vertically in one hand and extended out from your side at a 90 degree angle.
  • Step 2. Begin a slow and controlled rotation of your hand, wrist, and arm as if dumping the ball out of your stick. Rotate your hand as far forward as it will go while keeping your arm straight, turning the butt-end of the stick to the sky.
  • Step 3. Reverse the direction rotating your hand, wrist, and arm as far back as you can in an attempt to point the butt-end of the stick to the sky.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps with each hand.

Arm Twists

  • Step 1. Stand with your stick held vertically in one hand and extended out from your side at a 90 degree angle.
  • Step 2. Begin a slow and controlled rotation of your hand, wrist, and arm as if dumping the ball out of your stick. Rotate your hand as far forward as it will go while keeping your arm straight, turning the butt-end of the stick to the sky.
  • Step 3. Reverse the direction rotating your hand, wrist, and arm as far back as you can in an attempt to point the butt-end of the stick to the sky.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps with each hand.

Face Dodge Trunk Twister

  • Step 1. Hold your stick in a two-hand cradle position on the right side next to your ear.
  • Step 2. Rotate your trunk to the opposite side of your body while letting your stick travel with you. Completely rotate your trunk so that your stick ends up on the opposite side of your body with the head of the stick by your ear.
  • Step 3. Return to the starting position.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps on each side.

D-Squats

  • Step 1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and with your stick in an upright position.
  • Step 2. Step out to one side, squatting into a defensive position while extending your stick as if to give a poke check.
  • Step 3. Return to the starting position and perform to the opposite side.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps to each side, dropping lower with each repetition to gain a full range of motion.

Ground Ball Stroke

  • Step 1. Stand with two hand on your stick to one side of the body.
  • Step 2. Squat down and swing the stick like a shovel toward the ground as if you were scooping up a ground ball.
  • Step 3. Stand back up with your stick upright and in front of your face.
  • Make sure to get low enough to scrape our gloves on the ground.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps to each side.

Face-off Lunge

  • Step 1. Begin standing with your stick parallel to the ground.
  • Step 2. Squat down as if facing off and extend one leg back as far as you can while keeping your gloves and stick on the ground.
  • Step 3. Return to a standing position.
  • Step 4. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps with each leg.

Drop and Push

  • Step 1. Assume a push-up position.
  • Step 2. While keeping your arms extended and locked, drop your hips toward the floor and pull your head back, nose to the sky.
  • Step 3. Drop you head back to the ground and, while keeping your legs straight, push your buttocks up into the air forming an upside-down V with your body.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps.

Sorpions

  • Step 1. Lie flat on your belly with your arms extended out 90 degrees from your body.
  • Step 2. While keeping your arms and upper body on the ground, rotate your foot up and toward the opposite hand, letting your hips rise off the ground if necessary.
  • Step 3. Rotate back down and return to the starting position.
  • Step 4. Repeat on opposite side.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5-10 reps per side.

Cat Stretch

  • Step 1. Begin on hands and knees.
  • Step 2. Push your midback up to the sky trying to round your back as much as possible.
  • Step 3. Allow your abdomen to drop back down toward the floor and push toward the floor.
  • Be aware of any areas of tightness or impingement.
  • Perform 5 reps.

Weight training

Please note that Gloucester Lacrosse does not recommend weight training for younger players or without your parents consent.

Below is an excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Lacrosse by Robert G. Price. This is an excellent book specifically tailored to training for lacrosse.

Lacrosse Off-Season Program

Weeks 1-4 Strength Training

Days 1 & 3

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Barbell Bench Press 5 8,6,4,2,1
Shoulders Barbell Military Press 5 8,6,4,2,1
Chest Incline Barbell Bench Press 5 8,6,4,2,1
Legs Leg Curls 5 10,8,6,4,2
Triceps Close-grip Bench Press 4 10,10,8,8
Legs/Lower Back Good Mornings 4 15,15,15,15

Days 2 & 4

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Back Wide-grip Lat Pull Downs 4 8,8,8,8
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 4 12,10,8,6
Legs Squats 5 10,8,6,4,2
Legs Leg Extensions 4 8,8,6,6
Back Bent-over Barbell Rows 4 8,8,8,8
Legs Lunges 4 10,8,8,6

Weeks 5-8 Power Training

Days 1 & 3

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10,10,10
Shoulders Push Press 3 12,12,12
Chest Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 12,12,12
Legs Leg Curls 3 12,12,12
Chest/Shoulders Dips 2 failure
Legs Calf Raises 3 20,20,20

Days 2 & 4

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Back Wide-grip Lat Pull Downs 2 failure
Biceps/Forearms Reverse Curls 3 12,12,12
Legs Squats 4 10,10,10
Legs Box Steps 3 12,12,12
Back T-bar Rows 3 12,12,12
Legs Power Cleans 3 10,10,10

Weeks 9-12 Strength Training

Days 1 & 3

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Barbell Bench Press 5 8,6,4,2,1
Back Close-grip Lat Pull Downs 4 8,8,8,8
Shoulders Barbell Military Press 5 8,6,4,2,1
Legs Leg Curls 5 10,8,6,4,2
Legs/Lower Back Good Mornings 4 15,15,15,15
Chest Incline Barbell Bench Press 5 8,6,4,2,1

Days 2 & 4

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Legs Squats 5 10,8,6,4,2
Legs Dead Lift 5 10,8,6,4,2
Biceps Preacher Curls 4 12,10,8,6
Triceps Triceps Push Downs 4 12,10,8,6
Biceps/Forearms Reverse Curls 4 12,10,8,6
Triceps Triceps Kick Backs 4 12,10,8,6
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 4 8,8,6,6

Weeks 13-16 Power Training

Days 1 & 3

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Dumbbell Bench Press 3 12,12,12
Back Close-grip Pull Ups 3 failure
Shoulders Push Press 3 12,12,12
Legs Leg Curls 3 15,15,15
Legs Calf Raises 3 20,20,20
ChestéShoulders Dips 3 failure

Days 2 & 4

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Legs Power Cleans 3 10,10,10
Legs Box Steps 3 12,12,12
Biceps Concentration Curls 4 15,15,15
Triceps Triceps Curls 4 15,15,15
Triceps Bench Dips 3 failure
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 3 12,12,12

Lacrosse Pre-Season Program

Day 1

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Legs Squats 3
Legs Leg Press 3
Shoulders Front Raises 3
Shoulders Standing Flyes 3
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 3
Forearms Behind Back Wrist Curls 4

Day 2

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Incline Barbell Bench Press 4
Chest Flyes 3
Back Wide-grip Lat Pull Downs 4
Back Bent-over Barbell Rows 3
Triceps Triceps Pull Downs 4
Triceps Skull Crushers 3

Day 3

Muscle Group Exercise Sets
Legs Lunges 4
Legs Power Cleans 3
Legs Standing Calf Raises 4
Shoulders Barbell Military Press 3
Shoulders Push Press 3
Forearms Reverse Wrist Curls 4

Day 2

Muscle Group Exercise Sets
Chest Barbell Bench Press 4
Chest Incline Flyes 3
Back T-bar Rows 4
Back One-arm Dumbbell Rows 3
Triceps Triceps Kickbacks 4
Triceps Dumbbell Triceps Curls 3

Lacrosse In-Season Program

Odd Weeks: Days 1 & 2

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Barbell Bench Press 3 8,8,8
Back Wide-grip Pull Downs 3 8,8,8
Shoulders Barbell Military Press 3 10,10,10
Legs Leg Press 3 8,8,8
Legs Calf Raises 3 20,20,20
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 4 8,8,8,8

Even Weeks: Days 1 & 2

Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Chest Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 10,10,10
Back Seated Cable Rows 3 8,8,8
Shoulders Dumbbell Military Press 3 8,8,8
Legs Lunges 3 8,8,8
Legs Leg Curls 3 10,10,10
Biceps/Forearms Hammer Curls 4 8,8,8,8