5 Lacrosse Exercises Every Player Should Do

Dec 7, 2022 | Sports Performance, Strength & Conditioning

Athlete doing lacrosse exercise on field in full uniform

Don’t get me wrong, a strong back and chest are important, but a quick first step and an explosive split dodge can change the face of a game. For anyone looking to improve their lacrosse skills, lower-body strength is key. Focus on these five exercises this off-season for improved lower-body strength that pays off BIG TIME on game day.

Steve Gagliardi is a former D1 lacrosse player and founder of LaxFarmer and BodyBlizzard.com. Based out of Austin, TX, he is passionate about creating online resources that research and review the best new goodies in health and fitness. In this blog, he shares the top five lower-body exercises for lacrosse players based on his years of experience playing at a high level.

Steve Gagliardi

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Lacrosse: The Fastest Sport on Two Feet

There’s a reason why lacrosse is referred to as the fastest sport on two feet. It requires athletes to be explosive, agile, and alert. The ball can zip past you at a moment’s notice, so you better be sure your lower body is trained to react in an instant.

Offensive players are faced with the daunting task of dodging defenders and getting to the goal, requiring them to change direction on a dime. Conversely, defenders must be light on their feet while maintaining the ability to open their hips, backpedal, and slide to help other defenders.

No matter where you are on the lacrosse field, lower body strength is the foundation of your athleticism.

To improve your performance on the field, I’ve come up with a list of the five best lower-body exercises for lacrosse players.

1. Squats

Squats are one of the most effective exercises out there. Not only do they work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, but they also build core strength and improve balance, which is vital for generating power on your shot.

If you take a peek inside any D1 college lacrosse gym, players are back squatting and front squatting with a barbell every week in the offseason.

The secret behind offensive lacrosse greats like Jordan Wolf and Rob Pannell is their combination of core strength and lower body strength. Like a running back in football, they’re able to use a low center of gravity to win the leverage battle against 220lb defenders.

So no matter your size, you can have an advantage over your opponent. Squatting allows you to simulate that movement and build strength.

2. Dumbbell Lunges

Few exercises are as effective at working your lower body as dumbbell lunges. By targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, this exercise strengthens multiple muscle groups in your legs. It also improves your balance and coordination.

To perform this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Step forward with your right leg, lowering your body until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee is nearly touching the floor.

Keep your torso upright and your core engaged throughout the movement. Press through your front heel to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your left leg, and continue alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions.

Check out this blog for some more lunge variations: The Ultimate Guide to Lunges: Queen of All Glute Exercises

3. Hex Bar Deadlifts

The hex bar deadlift is a variation of the conventional deadlift that allows you to lift heavier weights while putting less strain on your lower back. This exercise is performed standing inside a hexagonal-shaped bar, which is why it is sometimes called the trap bar deadlift.

The hex bar deadlift is a phenomenal exercise for building strength, power, and explosiveness in the lower body.

4. Agility Ladder

Anyone who has ever watched a professional lacrosse game knows that the players are incredibly agile. And to be honest, a great 40-yard dash time is much less important than your ability to change direction in the blink of an eye.

Agility is more important than straight-line speed for lacrosse players.

To become more agile, players train a ton of agility work, using ladders and step hurdles from behind the net.

Ladder drills involve running in and out of the spaces between rungs and making quick changes in direction. The numerous ladder variations make it an incredibly useful tool to improve your footwork and coordination regardless of fitness level.

5. Box Jumps

Box jumps are a great way to improve your power and explosiveness without free weights. They’re also a fantastic plyometric exercise that can be scaled down for beginners.

To do a box jump, start by standing in front of a box or other elevated surface. Lower into a quarter squat, then explosively jump up onto the box. Land with both feet on the box and absorb the impact by bending your knees. Then stand up tall and jump off the box. Repeat for reps.

All of these exercises allow you to construct the pillars of athletic success on the lacrosse field: agility, coordination, and strength.

As you progress your game over time, you’ll notice that lower body strength and speed become more of a factor than ever before. So be sure to take the time to properly recover in addition to training hard, and watch it pay dividends in the game.

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