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A common mistake lacrosse players make is not warming up properly before they play, run, or lift. Warm-ups are crucial to staying healthy and performing at top capacity.
Here are 4 easy ways you can warm-up better, to perform better.
Foam rolling is an ideal part of your warm-up because it allows you to “smooth out” the connective tissue surrounding your muscles.
This leads to better range of motion, muscle activation, and blood flow—without any loss of force production (as seen with static stretching). Foam rolling can help iron out some of those nagging knots from weeks of games or practices, and can help to streamline the effectiveness of the rest of the warm-up to get you ready to play at your best.
Break a Sweat
To properly prepare for a hard practice or game, it is necessary to first get your body temperature up.
Jump roping, light jogging, some calisthenics are all you need to get the muscles, heart, and lungs up and rolling. As you get moving, blood rushes to the active muscles and increases their internal temperature.
Increased muscle temperature helps keep them pliable and ready for intense movements and increased range of motion. Increased heart rate and blood flow allow more oxygen to get to active muscles and prepares you for long bouts of hard work.
Doing a full-body warm-up will ensure you are fully ready for the activity ahead. A good warm-up should get you sweating, but not make you feel exhausted.
Sitting in class all day or having bad posture can leave some muscle groups “deactivated.” Poor posture often inhibits certain muscle groups from contracting in efficient patterns, and can leave other muscle groups overly shorted.
Activation drills help to wake up these small motor units and get them working in a way that helps stabilize joints, assist in powerful motor actions like shooting and sprinting, and help reduce certain asymmetries developed from overuse.
Using bands, medicine balls, and other tools that allow for a high volume of work in difficult positions are ideal for activation training.
Warming up with some proper activation drills can get these small motor units firing in a cohesive pattern, keeping your injury risk low and your performance high.
Prime the Mind
Once the body is physiologically ready, the next step is to get it neurologically ready. Lacrosse is a game of speed and quickness, and that means the communication between brain and body needs to be prepped to perform at its best.
Reactive drills, ladder sprints, and fast skill work are great ways to get the mind and muscles operating on the same page. By now the body should be ready to move at is fastest pace, which allows for the skill work developed here to be the most intense.
Working small, fast passes off a wall or with a partner should be done at a quick (yet manageable) pace to challenge the mind and body to adapt to faster speeds.
Optimizing your warm-up is an easy step in improving your overall performance. Taking your warm-up seriously has HUGE benefits in making you a better athlete, as well as keeping you safe and functional.
Every warm-up task should have a purpose, which means your warm-up should have a direct translation to your performance goals.