12 STRENGTH Exercises Your LACROSSE Athlete Should Be Doing

by Jack Gladstone

  1. Front Squat

We utilize the front squat for training lower body strength as well as to challenge the midline control of the athlete. The movement promotes stability through the pelvis, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and abdominals. By loading the barbell in the front rack position we minimize the risk of loading the pelvis and lumbar spine into a lordotic position (increase stress on the lower back as the pelvis is tilted forward). The front rack helps the athlete gain control over a maintaining a neutral spine. Whereas most of the musculature in the human body is meant to create motion, the muscles of the midline are meant to brace or resist motion. This is a vital component to preventing injury in an athlete but will also aid in an increase in power during the violent action of shooting a lacrosse ball. The front squat is fantastic for the lacrosse athlete in that it promotes strength, stability, and durability throughout the entire system (ankle, knee, hip, spine, abdominal, shoulder) all of which are crucial when sprinting, jumping, cutting, checking,  or even absorbing a check.

      2. Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift has many of the same benefits as the front squat in the sense that it challenges the integrity of the entire system. However, during the sumo pull, it’s important to cue the athlete to drive their knees out towards the outside of their foot, attempting to “spread the floor.”. Why is this so important for the lacrosse athlete? The sumo deadlift will aid in building hip and external rotator strength which is extremely crucial in a lateral dominant (ie. cutting) sport like lacrosse. The sumo deadlift can also be safely utilized dynamically for power development.

     3. DB Lunge

We utilize the dumbbell lunge as an accessory exercise to a main lift (For example: We would do these after completing our squat, press, or deadlift). The dumbbell lunge is a tremendous unilateral exercise that is critical for developing strength through the glute, hamstring, and quad. By creating this unilateral strength and stability via the lunge, the athlete will also promote stability and strength throughout the knee joint. This is vital in a sport that sees too many knee injuries throughout the course of a season.

     4. Box Jump

The box jump is utilized for the lacrosse athlete to promote lower body power through triple extension of the ankle-knee-hip, critical in sprinting, jumping, and cutting. Triple extension is a key aspect in transferring energy from the lower half to the upper half – something all lacrosse players know is vital to their sport. Additionally, the eccentric strength capabilities required from landing on top of a box will be instrumental in bulletproofing the athlete from injury.

     5. Hang Power Clean

Similar to the box jump, the hang power clean is a great exercise to generate power throughout the entire system. However, unlike the box jump, the clean a great deal of kinematic sequencing (ensuring the timing of the lower half and upper half are in sync) in order to execute the movement properly. While it is a great power development exercise, it is a great movement for the lacrosse athlete in that it teaches the athlete to generate force and simultaneously absorb force.

    6. DB Push Press

The push press is a great way to train the upper body while still demanding full body awareness. The push press applies much better to the field athlete than a traditional strict press would. This movement allows the athlete to generate rapid extension through the knee and hip which will then translate to the momentum and power needed to thrust the weight overhead. Additionally, anytime an athlete is loaded in the overhead position, the movement is demanding midline strength and stability (ie. not allowing the back to arch or sway). This rapid extension combined with midline bracing correlates to a lacrosse athlete throwing a check and pushing off of an offensive player.

7. Renegade Row

Lacrosse has a tremendous demand on the athlete being able to generate and resist rotation. The renegade row is a great exercise to train the body to stabilize the pelvic region during rotational exercises. By not allowing the hips the rotate, we train a domain that is referred to as “anti-rotation.” Some professionals even believe that anti-rotation is even more critical to the rotational athlete than a weighted rotational exercise. At the end of the day, the idea of being able to generate force through the transverse plane is irrelevant if the athlete cannot stabilize it first.

8. Alternating Goblet Lateral Lunge

The lateral lunge trains the anterior midline and overall hip strength in the frontal plane. Creating strength in the frontal plane is critical in lateral movement on the lacrosse field. The movement also trains aspects of the posterior chain as well as adductor in that it requires a tremendous demand on ranges of motion throughout the lower body in order to complete a full range repetition. As most injuries happen at the extremes of the movement, the lateral lunge is very beneficial in preventing common hip flexor and groin/adductor strains that happen in the sport of lacrosse.

      9. Sled March

The sled march is beneficial to the lacrosse athlete for the purposes of acceleration. Offense is entirely predicated on getting a single extra step on the defender, and vice versa for the defensive player. By focusing on the rapid extension of the back leg, the sled march continuously trains an aggressive and powerful first step.


10.  Single Leg RDL

We train the single leg RDL for the lacrosse athlete as a unilateral posterior chain exercise. The single leg RDL is used as a great tool for training the hamstring, a critical stabilizer of the knee as well as extremely important for speed development. This exercise has great implications for injury prevention as well as performance enhancement.


11. Farmers Walk

The farmers walk trains the athlete to stabilize their hips while moving forward. It is very beneficial for the overhead athlete in training stability of the shoulder girdle while the humeral head is depressed downward, rather than overhead. Additionally, overall grip strength and body awareness will be improved due to demanding the body to hold and control heavy weight at their side.

12. Box Squat

In a similar manner to the sumo deadlift, the box squat is a movement that is extremely beneficial to hip strength and hip health. While the box squat is technically a bilateral, sagittal plane movement, it’s beneficial for the lacrosse athlete for lateral stability and power, as the coach will cue the athlete to generate force towards the outside of the athlete’s feet. The athlete should work to brace their midline in an attempt to drive straight upward so that their hamstrings and glutes get more involved in the movement opposed to just their quads. This will also be beneficial for an athlete being able to take pressure off of their knee joint when squatting.


January 11, 2018
January 4, 2018
All about the Box Squat with Coach Gladstone
December 18, 2017