Posted on February 17th, 2021



Lacrosse, a high-contact, high-speed game, is a sport best played by players who are strong and quick. In some high schools (but needs to be more) and in college, off-season workouts contain as much weight lifting as conditioning so by beginning a weight training routine today, athletes gain a better shot of out-muscling the competition and seperating their game from their peers who do not. With that said, it is important to know WHEN players should start and WHAT specific workouts should be performed. 


First of all, it’s important to distinguish between weight lifting and strength training. Weight lifting emphasizes heavy weights and maximizing lifts to build strength while Strength training uses low resistance and repetition to build strength and conditioning.


In general, if your child wants to work in the weight room, he or she should stick to these guidelines:


  • Kids as young as 7 or 8 years old can participate in strength training activities if they want with exercises that should be fun and that include activities for the whole body with the following examples but not limited to; push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jump rope, lunges and squats.
  • By age 9 or 10, most children are physically ready to begin training with light external resistance. Keep the exercises simple and monitor how the child tolerates the stresses of training. Use resistance bands or very light weights.
  • Many coaches and physical trainers suggest that kids should not begin any type of weight training before puberty. It would put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and growth plates. By 13, your child’s nervous system and muscles should be developed enough to start getting into the weight room but every thirteen year old is different, so keep an eye on your child and use the best discretition before proceeding.
  • At age 14 or 15, add sport specific exercises and increase the volume of training. The term Sport-Specific is extremely important and will be covered in more detail below.
  • By age 16, most athletes are ready for entry-level adult programs, but noticed how I underlined the word, most athletes as this is contingent on the basic level of training experience they have gained.  If ready, start with higher volume and lower intenity work then gradually build to lower volume and higher intensity work. 


No matter what age your child starts weight lifting, his or her first year should be spent learning correct exercise technique and developing a general fitness base.


Strength training has definite benefits:

  • Increases muscle strength and endurance
  • Protects your child’s muscles and joints from injury
  • Improves performance 


Strength training can also be beneficial because it does the following:

  • Strengthens bones
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Helps keep a healthy weight
  • Improves self-esteem


Studies have shown that Weight Training plays an integral role not only in enhancing an athletes performance but that it can also help in injury prevention. Researchers at the University of Florida concluded after studying football injuries at more than a dozen high schools that coaches who want to keep players in the game should keep their players in the weight room.


This is when it is important to know WHAT training excercises should be done, focusing on the quality versus the quantity.  


Dynamic, functional workouts should be performed for at least 20-25 percent of the workout where the over 75-80 percent can be the typical, full body workouts used by other athletes from different sports and some excercies seen by body builders. What this means is that a lacrosse player should be lifting differently than a football running back or a marathon runner.  After playing at the Division 1 level for 4 years, professionally for 2 years and now working with athletes who are in the process of playing the collegiate level in addition to players who are current collegiate athletes, I have had the chance to learn from a plethora of Strength & Conditioninig Coaches and College Coaches with their philosophies.  Below are a majority of lacrosse-specific dynamic, functional workouts implemented into 99 percent of Division I-III Colleges/Universities that I would highly recommend:


  • Squats (Front and Rear) 
  • Hang Cleans
  • Snatches 
  • Bench Press (Incline, Decline, Flat)
  • Single Leg Box Squats
  • Box Jumps (Emphasize the Soft Landing)
  • Military Press
  • Front Raises/Lateral Raises
  • Pull Downs
  • Pull-Ups (If too easy, add a belt with weights)
  • Bent Over Rows
  • Deadlifts 
  • Four Point Core Series
  • Bicep Curls (Use different variations: e.g. hammer curls, preacher bar, straight bar, reverse curl)
  • Tricep Extensions (Use different variations: e.g. Metal triangle, triangular rope, over-the-head aka skull crushes)


As you can see, a lot of the above exercises focus on the core, legs, back and full body workouts with supplemental exercises to help strengthen the surrounding muscles to maximize strength and for injury prevention purposes.  


When it comes to the players goal as for getting more powerful or getting more defined, this is when a workout will differ from peer to peer.  Typically, heavier weight with less repetitions equates to more power which in turn, results in bulking up while lesser weight with more repetitions, equates to more conditioning resulting in getting more cut-up. As prefaced, this should be on the individuals goals, however, it is always good to shock your body on a monthly basis by implementing a different routine, switching up the workouts and changing the repetitions.


* It is always a good idea to get advice for any regimen from a coach or trainer who can guide your young athlete into a safe and age-appropriate workout*


This article was written as the Winter Season is approaching and this is when players should really be spending a lot more time in the weight room, preparing for the official lacrosse season.


-Published by TM a National Strength & Conditioning All-American