Lacrosse Exercises for Defense: Top 5
Defense is a very important skill in lacrosse. No matter what position you play, you need to be able to play proper defense against your opponents. The two biggest assets to a defender are 1) Strength 2) Endurance. If you are strong, you can easily push opponents away from the goal or into the sideline. If you have endurance, you can outwork your opponent when they are tired. Today we’ll show you 5 exercises to improve your strength and endurance, so you will become the best defenseman possible.
Overview: Squats are a staple exercise in the weight room, and they are the best exercise you can do to help your defense. This exercise helps strengthen your legs and core, which are the foundation of any movement in lacrosse. When I played attack, the defenders who intimidated me most were the ones with huge legs who constantly got low to the ground in a squat position.
Training: Squats should be incorporated into your training regularly. Have one day dedicated to high weight, low rep (2-5 rep) squats to build up your raw strength. On another day, do lower weight, higher rep (8-15) squats to help your endurance. You don’t even need weights for squats, bodyweight squats will do for many lacrosse players.
2) Sprint Intervals
Overview: You know those dreaded sprints that you have to do at the end of practice? They aren’t fun, but they can be very effective for endurance and speed. The great part about sprints is that you can do them any time, anywhere. If you’re on vacation, you can find a street or grass area to do sprints. After lacrosse practice, you can do a couple extra sets of sprints. They are a great complement to other exercises.
Training: If you are dedicated enough, get to practice early and do 10 minutes of sprint intervals before practice. Then after practice, do 10 extra minutes of sprint intervals. I guarantee you that you will impress your coach and teammates and be in much better shape in a matter of weeks.
3) Bench Press/Pushups
Overview: The bench press and the pushup are essential for lacrosse defense. Turning an opponent away from the goal or the sideline takes strong chest and tricep muscles. These two exercises are perfect for strengthening your chest, triceps, and shoulders. This is one of my favorite exercises to do, because the form is very easy.
Training: If you feel ready, go to your local gym and have someone spot you while doing bench press. Some people love to max out on bench, but I never find that necessary. Similar to squats, I think you should have one day where you do low rep high weight for pure strength, and one day where you do high rep low weight for muscle endurance.
4) Wall Sits
Overview: Wall sits are a perfect exercise to incorporate into your training routine. When playing defense, it’s important to be able to “sit” in a stance that allows you lower your body to push effectively. This stance is similar to the “3 point stance” in basketball or how offensive lineman block in football. Wall sits give you endurance so you can stay in this position or longer.
Training: I think of wall sits as a nice “finisher” exercise to do when you’re done with your normal routine. Throw in a few sets of 30 sec-60 sec and watch your leg strength and endurance improve. One of the best defensive minds in lacrosse, Gerry Byrne, says he sleeps “in an athletic stance.” Help your athletic stance by doing wall sits.
5) Long Runs
Overview: This isn’t the first time that I have mentioned long runs as beneficial to lacrosse players. They are one of my favorite exercises to incorporate into training routines. Long runs help with your endurance, recovery, and rejuvenation after long periods of work.
Training: My suggestion is to do 1 long-run per week. Set a timer for 1 hour and run at a steady pace for the entire time. Throw on some music, a podcast, or an audiobook and let yourself relax. Long runs should not be taxing on your cardiovascular system; you should not be breathing heavy while you run. I always loved long runs on Sundays after a big game on Saturday.
In conclusion, lacrosse defenseman need to be in great shape in order to be at the top of their game. Incorporate these 5 exercises into your training routine to get in better shape and become an elite lacrosse player.