It’s the start of the women’s lacrosse season. You have spent the off-season preparing. You feel faster, stronger and more confident than you did last year. All the long hours of hard work in the gym will finally be put to good use.
You are at a crossroads. Should you train during the season or focus all your efforts on lacrosse?
I’m a strength coach. I always tell my athletes to do some kind of strength training during the season. The many benefits include maintaining your strength and power and decreasing your chance of injury.
But during the season, your performance on the field comes first. That means your lacrosse in-season training program should not interfere with your ability to play the sport at a high level.
Tips for planning your lacrosse in-season training program:
- Each session should last no longer than an hour. Forty-five minutes is ideal.
- Volume of work should be kept to a minimum (fewer sets and reps).
- Conditioning should be light and used more for building team camaraderie.
- Workouts are best done the day after a game.
- If you are feeling rundown, take a day off. Don’t forget, your main goal is to excel at lacrosse.
A few more pointers:
- The season is not the time to get fancy with your programming. Stick to your bread-and-butter multi-joint lifts to get the most impact from your time in the gym. I also like to use more tri-sets during this time. They are very time-efficient and nicely integrate the upper- and lower-body movements you need to play lacrosse. You are never just using your legs or your torso; everything works together.
- Don’t introduce a bunch of new exercises into the program, because they can cause muscle soreness.
- Avoid exercises that are eccentric, such as GHR’s, Forward Lunges, and Step-Ups. If you must program one of these exercises, introduce it during the weeks prior to the season or build up the volume gradually.
- You want a mix of power and strength movements. Perform the power movements in the beginning, so you will be fresh and can perform them at a high intensity. To increase strength, keep the intensity high, working near 85% 1RM and up. I also like to incorporate one heavy set of an exercise in each workout.
Lacrosse Training Program
I dislike the idea of working out during the season just to maintain strength and power. I can say without a doubt that with an in-season program, you will maintain; but your goal should be to get stronger and more powerful, not just maintain.
With a good program, you will get stronger and be able to play at a high level for the entire season. When playoffs come around, you will not feel rundown. You will feel stronger than you did at the beginning of the season.