Metro State Men's Lacrosse
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Steps to Develop Your Muscle to Excel in Lacrosse

Apr. 10, 2013

Although good cardiovascular fitness is imperative during a game of lacrosse and training requires players to build on this to ensure they perform well, developing your muscles is also crucial. During a game of lacrosse you can expect to use most of the muscles in your body; all these need to be developed to enhance play and to prevent sports injury. Well formed and strong leg muscles are a must if they are to provide you with the stamina to run up and down the pitch for an hour. Your core muscles are also vital, as those of your abdomen and back allow you to bend forwards, to the side or backwards to enable you to reach for and catch the ball during a game. Then let's not forget your arm muscles, as you need to increase your upper body strength if you are to control and manipulate your lacrosse stick to cradle and throw the ball. Consequently, unlike some sports that require you to concentrate your training on building up specific sets of muscles, your regime needs to work all your muscles. However, it isn't solely about appropriate resistance training, as what you eat can help to maximize your increase in lean body mass.

Developing your lower muscles

If you're not able to get to the gym to use their resistance machines to work your leg muscles, squats and lunges represent a great alternative, as these also help to add bulk and strength. Through these you will be using your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and those of your lower back. Both additionally require you to use your core muscles, so you get more of a work out than you realize. While it's advisable to do these or an equivalent exercise three times during the week, to prevent overexertion leave at least one day in between each strength training session.

Training your upper body

Don't underestimate the importance of your arm, shoulder, chest and upper back muscles during a game, so don't focus on working your lower muscles at the expense of these; on the days when you work out, turn your attention to both. Resistance training for your upper body could include bench presses and dips, push-ups and pull-ups, as well as shoulder presses. Using weights can additionally help.
Good all round training.

Swimming isn't just ideal for helping you to work out your heart and lungs, but it also requires you to use a wide range of muscles throughout your body, working those of your arms, legs, shoulders, chest and back. Varying your stroke can help to develop your muscles, as each uses the muscles in a different way and to different extents. Front crawl is great for working the muscles of the chest and back, and the fast arm movements required by the stroke allows you to make improvements in the speed and power that these can produce. Additionally breaststroke and butterfly are good for strengthening your shoulder muscles; incidentally butterfly is the best stroke for fat burning if you are aiming to reduce your body's fat stores. As you would expect, backstroke really works the lateral muscles of your back. All strokes rely heavily on your use of your hamstrings and quadriceps, helping to keep these muscles in good shape. If you know there are particular muscles that you need to work on, you can adjust your stroke accordingly. A training program where you're resistance training three times a week would benefit from two weekly swims; add another if you want to burn fat, but remember you need to leave yourself time for recovery. However, swimming does carry the advantage that it is low impact, so allows you to achieve a good work out, while not putting the stress on your joints that you experience on the field or in the gym.

Consider your dietary intake

When trying to build muscle, many people will simply up their protein intake, but this is a mistake. While adequate protein is needed to repair damage to muscle fibers and stimulate the growth of new muscle tissue, once you start consuming daily intakes close to 2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, your body can't incorporate it into new tissues, so the excess is flushed from the body. Besides this limit of how much protein your body can use, it also needs sufficient carbohydrate; not just to fuel your strength training activities, but also to physically create new muscle tissue. A high protein low carbohydrate diet is therefore definitely off the cards, as both need to be included at each meal; fill about a third of your plate with each of these, while the remaining third should be vegetables or salad. Obtain protein from low fat sources to promote a healthy heart; lean red meat, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, skimmed milk and pulses are all good options. Meanwhile wholegrains, root vegetables and fruit should provide the majority of your carbohydrate at meals, as these are denser in vitamins and minerals than refined carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread or those we think of as tasting sweet. For optimal muscle building, include a snack after training that contains protein and carbohydrate; examples might include a cereal with milk, a sandwich, fruit and yogurt or dried fruit and nuts.

Through following a strength training regime that targets all muscle groups, while paying attention to your dietary intake, it should be well within your reach to achieve the muscular physique that will enhance your performance in lacrosse.


By: Eve Pearce



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