As with its cousins, soccer and field and ice hockey, women’s lacrosse is an intermittent sport -- one that requires strolls, jogs and lung-bursting bursts of speed. Lacrosse demands a strong upper and lower body and core to support you through a 60-minute women’s game. If you’ve played soccer or hockey before on an organized team, you’ll recognize weight-training mainstays that work perfectly for lacrosse as well.
With the lacrosse season wrapping up in terms of national championships as well as recreational leagues around Memorial Day, the summer offseason gives you a perfect window to hit the weight room. Sportswriter M.B. Roberts recommends in her classic “Lacrosse: The Player’s Handbook,” to aim for four days of weight training a week: two days for the upper body and two for the lower body. Or you can take the advice of the authors of “Women's Lacrosse: A Guide for Advanced Players and Coaches,” who recommend three sessions a week on nonconsecutive days, such as Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.
You have any number of options for specific exercises during your offseason weight-training program. Roberts recommends the barbell bench press, the military press and the biceps curl to work the chest, shoulders and biceps, respectively. Follow with the dumbbell or kettlebell squat to work the quads and glutes and situps to work the core. “Women's Lacrosse” also suggests the squat -- either with a barbell, dumbbells or a machine -- during your Monday and Friday training, combined with leg raises as well as single-leg dumbbell squats. Single-arm rows and single-arm presses prepare your arms for handling the stick during games. Add single-leg dumbbell step-downs and alternating dumbbell presses on an exercise ball to your Wednesday workout.
Preseason and Inseason
About four weeks before your first game, switch from your offseason program to a preseason schedule. Challenge yourself two days a week with squats into squat jumps, as well as incline dumbbell presses on an exercise ball into standing medicine ball overhead presses -- pushing you to greater strength, balance and cardio fitness all at once. Add the leg press into the box jump and standing cable rows into bent-over medicine ball rows, recommend the authors of “Women's Lacrosse.” On a third day, perform pushups into mountain climbers; step-ups with a leg lift into step-up jumpers; pull-downs and reverse flyes. During the season, your coach will advise you about whether to pare down to one or two days of weight training per week, so you can balance your need to maintain strength with your need for rest between competitions.
Roberts recommends that you work up to three sets and order your lifts so that you exercise the largest muscles first and the smallest last. Perform strength training before cardio and remember to keep breathing throughout each lift. She recommends picking a weight you can lift slowly and with control for nine reps.
- Functional Training for Sports; Michael Boyle
- Lacrosse: The Player's Handbook; M. B. Roberts
- Women's Lacrosse: A Guide for Advanced Players and Coaches; Janine Tucker, Maryalice Yakutchik
- Lacrosse For Dummies; James Hinkson, Joe Lombardi
- Jay Paul/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images