A lacrosse training program must carefully balance the rigours of one of the most strenuous team sports. The sport requires the physical and performance qualities of most other sports combined.
Very few studies have been carried out on lacrosse athletes and little scientific information is available. From research that has been completed, it is clear that players must posses size, strength, power, speed, agility and endurance. Players are almost constantly moving as they attempt to manoeuvre the ball into the goal (1).
On the whole, players have been shown to have average aerobic capacities, similar to basketball and football players but less than distance runners or swimmers. Midfield players on the other hand, have significantly greater endurance than attackers or defensive players and their aerobic endurance compares favorably to more traditional distance athletes (2). This makes sense as midfielders are the only group of players permitted to move up and down the entire length of the pitch.
Lacrosse players require a high bodyweight to cope with the aggressive physical contact in the game. However, a higher than average bodyweight must be coupled with a low body fat percentageas players are required to manoeuvre quickly around the field of play. Lacrosse players tend to have a lower body fat percentage compared to other athletes such as football, basketball and ice hockey players (2).
From a conditioning point of view then, lacrosse players are one of the few groups of athletes that will benefit from a phase of hypertrophy strength training to increase lean muscle mass. However, size is not the only objective. Maximal strength, explosive power and power endurance are also important outcomes of a strength training program. Not surprisingly attackers and defensive players tend to have greater need for strength and power compared to midfield players (2).
All positions will benefit from both aerobic and anaerobic endurance training, and while this may be more predominant for the midfielders, attacking and defensive players could also improve their performance over 60 minutes with greater stamina.
Speed and agility training is also an important element of a lacrosse training program – for all positions. As with soccer or rugby for example, one of the challenges of designing a suitable lacrosse conditioning plan is combining all the required elements of fitness without one negatively affecting the other…
Take a look through the articles below. They cover the different elements of fitness important to lacrosse players. You will also find sample programs, sessions and drills to help you become a fitter, more complete player.
Lacrosse Training Articles
Interval Training for Sport-Specific Endurance
Every position in Lacrosse requires a high level of endurance. As a multi-sprint sport, interval training is much more sport-specific than other types of endurance training
Training to Increase Lactate Tolerance
The intermittent nature of Lacrosse, with short rest intervals, means that blood lactate can quickly accumulate. This is extremely debilitating but lactate tolerance training can have a significant effect on coping and recovering with the effects of intense exercise
Strength Training The Sport-Specific Way
Lacrosse players are unique. With heavy physical contact the norm, players benefit from muscle bulk (hypertrophy training). But too much reliance on the bodybuilding approach will be to the detriment of their power and muscular endurance two other crucial elements in the all-round Lacrosse player
How To Design Resistance Training Programs For Athletes
Here is the step-by-step process of developing a sport-specific strength training plan – one that meets the demanding nature of the sport…
Power Training for Athletes
Strength and power are not the same. Do Lacrosse players need to be powerful? Definiately. Learn how you can convert a solid strength base into explosive power on the field…
Plyometric Training for Developing Explosive Power
Plyometrics is used in many sports as an effective way to increase speed and power. Lacrosse players can benefit from both upper and lower body plyometric exercises…
Using Power Cleans in Sports Conditioning
Power cleans can be useful for developing explosive power (in appropriate sports). Use this technique guide and animated images to see how the lift should be performed…
The Speed Training Program
Speed, agility and quickness play a major role in Lacrosse training. Here’s how to design a speed training program and how to use and combine various types of drills…
Speed Drills for Maximum Velocity
These speed drills are used to develop basic, all-out speed and acceleration off the mark…
Speed & Agility Drills
These agility exercises are easy to set up and require little or no equipment. They are ideal for teams and individual training…
Ladder Agility Drills for Quick Feet & Coordination
Speed ladders form an integral part of many speed training programs. These five drills will improve your foot speed and coordination…
Flexibility Exercises for Hockey
Increased flexibility may reduce the risk of certain injuries. It may also allow a Lacrosse player to move with greater dexterity, agility and finesse…
Dynamic Stretches & Stretching Routine
Dynamic stretching is now recommended over static stretching before a game or ice hockey training session…
A Sample Off Season Lacrosse Training Program
The off or closed season is typically about rest and regeneration. But that doesn’t mean doing nothing at all…
1) Schmidt MN, Gray P, Tyler S. Selected fitness parameters of college female lacrosse players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1981 Sep;21(3):282-90
2) Shaver LG. Body composition, endurance capacity and strength of college lacrosse players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1980 Jun;20(2):213-20