Pop quiz for lacrosse players: When was the last time during a game that you stood perfectly still and picked up a heavy object?
The answer: Never. Which is why traditional weight-room strength training—you know, the kind where you do bicep curls while looking at your arms in the mirror—won’t make you a better lacrosse player. Instead, you need to build functional strength, using medicine balls, cables and dumbbells to challenge your body to move in every direction, like you do on the field.
To be a more dominant force next season, try the following three full-body workouts. Begin each training session with a dynamic warm-up and end with cool-down stretches.
Lacrosse Workout 1: Strength
Dumbbell Side Lunges and Upright Rows
Focus: Strengthen quadricep, hamstring, glute, core, bicep and shoulder muscles.
- Holding two heavy dumbbells with overhand grip, assume athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart
- Lunge laterally with right foot, simultaneously raising dumbbells above waist toward chest
- Bring left foot back toward right foot while lowering dumbbells
- Continue Lunges/Rows four more times
- Rest 30 seconds, then repeat starting with left foot Lunges/Rows
Heavy Medicine Ball Squat, Overhead Press and Twist
Focus: Horizontal movement that works on external and internal rotation, helping you reach, turn and twist rapidly on the field.
- Hold heavy medicine ball close to chest
- Lower into squat, then rise and explosively press ball overhead while twisting upper body to right
- Perform four more reps
- Without rest, perform five reps rotating to left
- Rest 30 seconds between sets
Lacrosse Workout 2: Hypertrophy
Front Lunges and Cable Chops
Focus: Helps attacking, reaching overhead with your stick, and shooting.
- Set cable height to just above shoulder level and attach cable rope as handle
- Grab ends of rope with both hands and pull rope to just above left shoulder
- Turn and face opposite direction, standing one to two feet away from machine (your back should be facing it)
- Assume athletic stance, then lunge forward with right foot while simultaneously driving rope down and across body toward right ankle
- Pause for a second, then slowly stand back, reset feet and return rope to starting position just above left shoulder; maintain control throughout, taking about three seconds to return to start
- Perform nine more reps; then, without resting, switch to holding rope above right shoulder
- Lunge forward with left foot and perform 10 Chops/Lunges on that side
- Rest one minute between sets
Reverse Lunge and Cable Row
Focus: Builds back, forearm, biceps, core and leg muscle strength while also working on grip, which is important for stick control.
- Again using rope handle, set cable height to waist level
- Step one to two feet back and stand facing machine, holding one end of rope in each hand
- Assume athletic position, then explosively pull rope toward waist while lunging backward with left leg
- Pause for a second, then take three seconds to return to start position in slow, controlled movement
- On last rep, hold pull for 15 seconds to challenge grip strength
- Rest 30 seconds, then repeat pulls while lunging backward with right leg
Lacrosse Workout 3: Endurance
Medicine Ball Jump Squats and Multi-Directional Sprints
Focus: Building endurance in muscle groups throughout your upper and lower body to keep your legs and torso fresh late into practices and games.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding light medicine ball (no more than ten pounds) at chest level
- Squat and jump as high as possible while pressing ball overhead for 15 reps
- After 15th rep, hold ball and immediately sprint forward 10 yards, laterally 10 yards, diagonally 10 yards, and backpedal 10 yards to finish
- Rest 45 seconds then repeat for two more sets
DB Side Lunges and Twists
Focus: Rapid dumbbell rotation engages all angles of the abdominal, middle and lower back muscles, essential to the sudden twisting, turning and bending you do on the field.
- Hold light dumbbell (no more than 10 pounds) with both hands and extend arms at chest level
- Lunge laterally with right foot while simultaneously and quickly rotating to bring weight to right, keeping it at chest height
- Bring left foot to right as you un-twist, then repeat movement 14 times
- Without resting, perform same sequence while lunging laterally with left foot. That’s one set.
- Rest 45 seconds and repeat.