6 drills lacrosse players swear by

Build coordination, core strength, and balance.

The 2018 National Lacrosse League season kicked off on December 1. With the addition of the San Diego Seals and Philadelphia Wings, the league now has 11 teams competing indoors, traditionally on an ice hockey rink covered with artificial turf. To play with the best, these athletes need to be fast and agile with top-notch hand-eye coordination.

Furthermore talked with Equinox experts with lacrosse backgrounds about the strength and conditioning drills that helped them step up their games. Even if you don’t pick up a stick yourself, they’ll still propel you in your quest for higher fitness.

Medicine Ball Toss
In lacrosse, rotational strength is king, says Jon Short, a Tier 2 trainer at Wall Street in New York City who played for the University of Pittsburgh. “Having a strong core makes you better at throwing, shooting, cradling, and checking.” This exercise adds power to your rotational movements while providing bursts of cardio, he says.
How to do it: Stand with a wall about 5 to 6 feet to your right, holding a medicine ball at waist-height. Mimicking the motion of a shot, step to the wall with your right foot, then pivot your body to face the wall, simultaneously throwing the ball (underhand-style) at the wall. Aim high enough that it rebounds back so you can catch it. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each side, alternating sides with each set.

Gliders Ground Crawl
Having the leg strength to move low to the ground helps you scoop up balls more quickly and efficiently, says Erica Brook, a Tier 2 trainer at Bryant Park in New York City and former high school lacrosse player.
How to do it: Get in a plank position with a glider under each hand. Engage your core and slide the gliders forward slightly, then move your feet to mimic a run (like you would for mountain climbers), pushing your body forward. Push yourself across the length of an Equinox main studio, then back.

Lateral Shuffle with Offset ViPR Check
“I like using the ViPR because the different grips simulate the offset weight of a lacrosse stick,” says Jay J. Lee, Tier X coach at Highline and E at Madison in New York City who played lacrosse throughout high school. Players need to stay stable even as the weight of their stick shifts when they throw it across their bodies to pass or shoot. This move will improve your balance and hand-eye coordination as well as strengthen your obliques, even if you don’t play the sport.
How to do it:Stand with feet at shoulder-width, left hand on the edge of a ViPR, and right hand holding the middle handle with a supinated grip. Explosively shuffle to your left for 5 paces and chop horizontally on the last step, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 5 reps, then switch sides and repeat, switching your hand position.

Dumbbell Pullover
When you pass and shoot in lacrosse, you need to extend the arms overhead and back to build momentum. This exercise helps players throw more powerfully by strengthening the lats, rhomboids, and delts, explains Chris Gambro, Tier 3 trainer at Tribeca in New York City who played lacrosse throughout high school.
How to do it: Lie on a flat bench with legs bent at 90 degrees and feet planted firmly on the floor. Hold a heavy dumbbell in both hands using a triangular grip, with your palms against the dumbbell’s head and thumbs and forefingers touching. Straighten your arms upward so the weight is above your chest, then lower the weight behind your head until your hands are at bench-height. Slowly return to start for one rep. Do 4 sets of 10 reps with a weight that’s challenging but doesn’t make you sacrifice form.

Isometric Split Squat Pallof Press
The anti-rotation component of this move builds coordination and core stability. The isometric split-squat stance also strengthens the legs and improves your ability to move dynamically when passing or shooting on the run, says Anthony Vita, a Tier 1 trainer at Dumbo in Brooklyn who played Division 1 lacrosse at Princeton University in New Jersey.
How to do it: Stand with your feet at shoulder-width and a cable machine to your right, far enough away that there’s tension in the cable. Lower into a split squat with your front leg bent at 90 degrees and your back knee hovering about 2 inches off the ground. Keep as much of your weight on the front leg as possible. Hold the cable with both hands against your chest and press it forward, straightening your arms, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 5 sets of 4 to 6 reps per side. Resist the urge to twist toward the cable machine.

Kettlebell Snatches
The kettlebell snatch is a dynamic movement that requires explosive force and the same mechanical skill as shooting does in lacrosse, says Adam Werdenschlag, fitness manager at Equinox Tribeca in New York City and former University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team captain. It improves core strength, hip power, and trunk mobility.
How to do it: Stand with feet wider than shoulders with a kettlebell slightly in front of your feet. Push hips back and bend the knees as you lower down to grab the kettlebell with one hand, then immediately extend the hips as you drive your elbow vertically pulling the weight up, keeping it close to the body and catching it overhead. Return to start for one rep. Continue for 1 minute, then switch sides and repeat.

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