Whether you’re traveling, spending a week at grandma’s in the country, or stuck in an east Turkish prison, there is always time for some bodyweight training to maintain your strength.
The classic bodyweight squats, push-ups, pull-ups, planks and sprints (if possible) are all great for maintaining a basic level of fitness. But when it comes to lacrosse training specifically, there are a few movements that are best for keeping you game-ready when you can’t train for an extended period of time.
The key to maintaining your lax fitness is to stress not only strength, but also explosiveness, reactive quickness, and work capacity.
Below are the top four bodyweight exercises to reinforce these traits necessary for lax dominance.
Push-ups are an age-old tradition. While little can be improved upon in the actual movement, explosive variations to the push-up make it an effective athletic carryover for the power athlete.
Explosive push-ups can involve either a clap at the top of the explosion or landing on an elevated surface, and the main training tip is to initiate the upward explosive action with intent.
Explosive arm action is key to jamming up opponents and firing quick shots and passes. The focus here isn’t on feeling fatigued as much as it is about recruiting as much force as possible for each individual rep.
To develop your explosive capacity, you can cluster your reps into groups of two or three, with small rest periods in between to maintain a high force output within the set.
The small bouts of recovery help to keep each rep as explosive as possible, and your training focused on improving your Lax game.
Explosive Lateral Step-Ups
Lacrosse is a game highly dependent on your ability to change direction, accelerate, and decelerate efficiently. Explosive lateral step-ups help maintain not only explosive lateral quickness, but also allow you to keep your footwork sharp without needing a ton of space.
All you need is an elevated surface (like a park bench, bleacher step, or grandma’s coffee table) at about knee-height that is sturdy enough to hold most of your bodyweight.
With one foot elevated, explode up and over the elevated surface, switching feet midair. Decelerate using your original take-off foot, and load for the next rep going back the other direction.
This movement can get real tough, real fast, but it’s important that you maintain good positioning of the knee over the foot, especially as fatigue sets in. The better you get at redirecting force and rebounding back laterally, the more you’ll see your footwork improve when shaking defenders and getting looks on-goal.
Seated Paused Box Jumps
The box jump is a standard movement relatively common for most athletes. It’s no surprise that box jumps help develop explosiveness, but adding in the extra challenge of removing the stretch reflex adds a whole new level of difficulty and focus.
Standard box jumps or long jumps allow an athlete to “load” the jump by pre-stretching through the hamstrings and glutes to provide added force.
In paused box jumps, that stretch is removed, so the workload to perform the explosive action falls on the pure concentric force of the lower body. This is an effective training mechanism because it focuses on the speed of muscle fiber recruitment and pure power output generated by the muscles.
While we want to train regularly to develop the stretch reflex, taking time to focus on pure concentric speed can help improve the force behind the stretch reflex, adding more power behind the movement.
Rotational Side Planks
Planks and side planks may be a decent tool for core stability training, but adding a rotational element and the challenge of maintaining stability while in motion helps this movement transfer better to lacrosse.
Starting in a side plank, bring the opposite arm down to the planted arm (as if going into a standard plank). Shift your weight onto the opposite hand while bringing the other hand up and over the head to perform a side plank on the other side. Rotate from one hand to the other while maintaining a rigid torso with neutral hips and spine.
Keeping your core strong, especially during rotation, is crucial if you’re away from regular training for an extended period of time.[mks_separator style=”solid” height=”4″]
Squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and planks are always great for keeping your work capacity up, and can help keep your lungs in shape if you can’t make it outside for some sprints. But these four specific movement variations help take the specificity of your training to the next level.
Hopefully, wherever you end up will have a squat rack…but if not, these movements will keep you ready to play.