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Be Proactive, Not Reactive: Beneficial Lacrosse Exercises

Be Proactive, Not Reactive: Beneficial Lacrosse Exercises

Lacrosse is a physical sport that requires high level of both lower and upper body strength and coordination. It involves constant sprinting, cutting, shooting, and hitting, which can result in devastating injuries for players if they are not trained right. Having injured my shoulder, elbow, hip, and back from playing college lacrosse, I would like to point out a few things that could prevent other lacrosse players from going through what I’ve been through.

Flexibility is important!

Muscle length-tension relationship: Muscle fibers are elastic and they need to be stretched to the point where they can achieve optimal tension and have a forceful contraction. Tight muscles cannot produce as much force. It is like punching something by taking a full swing versus punching something from 6 inches away. A full swing will produce much more force. It is easy to only associate the weight and strength training, but stretching is absolutely necessary to produce maximal force with your muscles. Focus on dynamic stretching and stretch your gluteals, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, pecs, and latissimus dorsi to achieve faster running and shot speed.

Achieve proximal stability for distal mobility!

Core day should not consist of just rectus abdominis (“6-pack”) workouts. Address transverse abdominis, obliques, and multifidi as well to improve dynamic stability and rotational power.

Common Exercises:

  • Planks
  • D1/D2 chops
  • Dead/dying bugs
  • Series-50
  • Side plank rows
  • Bird dogs
  • V-sit body blade

Hip strength is crucial for balance, stability, and explosiveness. Also, hip and core rotation should be the main driving force for your shots.

Common Exercises:

  • TRX split squats
  • 3-way lunges
  • Sport cord skaters
  • Squats
  • Dead lifts

Be proactive, not reactive

Many injuries can be prevented easily by simple exercises. Muscular imbalances due to muscle tightness and/or weakness can result in injuries secondary to postural dysfunction and faulty movement mechanics. Here are some common injuries that can be caused by tight muscles and how to prevent them.

Shoulder impingement: tight chest, weak scapular stabilizers, and weak rotator cuffs can cause narrowing of the subacromial joint in the shoulder.

Common Exercises:

  • Doorway stretch
  • Waitor tips
  • Side-lying shoulder external rotation
  • Y’s and T’s

Back pain: tight hip flexors can yank on their origin, which is the lumbar spine, and extend it, while weak core and faulty movement mechanics such as hinging the trunk excessively while shooting can further jam on the lumbar facets or even nerves and irritate them.

Common Exercises:

  • Kneeling hip flexor stretch
  • Prone quadriceps stretch
  • Latissimus dorsi stretch
  • Gap stretch

 

Rest!

No matter how strong and conditioned you are, muscle fatigue will decrease your stability and efficiency. Make sure to have one rest day each week and let your body heal.

Being mindful of these tips will help protect your body from injury and with proper practice, your body will automatically use the proper mechanics in the future.

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David Ha, PT, DPT
In David’s spare time, he enjoys working out, going to the beach, golfing, and snowboarding. He also tries to pick up his lacrosse stick and go out on the field to shoot when he can.