Improve Your Lacrosse Performance With These 4 Stretches
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Lacrosse is the fastest-growing high school sport in the nation. The sport is a bit like soccer, hockey, and basketball all rolled into one. Lacrosse is often called “the fastest game on two feet” because of how quickly the ball can move across the field. The game is so fast that sometimes you may not even see where the ball is until somebody scores a goal.
Lacrosse players need to generate power in their legs for sprints and to cut in all directions. This requires open hip flexors. Stretching the shoulders helps to increase the torque on your shot. The following stretches help lacrosse players to stay fast and agile on the field.
You can use a lacrosse stick to assist you in the first two poses.
Standing Side-Bend Stretch (with lacrosse stick)
Why it’s good: The standing side-bend stretch opens your shoulders and chest. It improves your mobility for faster shots, and more fluid upper-body movement.
How to do this: Spread your arms wide and place your hands at opposite ends of the lacrosse stick. Lift it over your head. While maintaining your grip, lean to the left. You should feel a stretch across the right side of your torso and hold for 20 seconds. Lift the stick back to center, then lean to the right and perform the stretch on the other side.
Wide-legged Forward Fold (with lacrosse stick behind your back)
Why it’s good: The wide legged forward fold stretches the back of the legs, calves and hamstrings. At the same time, it stretches your chest and preserves the health and mobility of your shoulders.
How to do this: Stand up and hold your lacrosse stick parallel to the earth in both hands behind your back. Spread your feet apart about 4-5 feet with your toes pointing slightly in and your heels pointed out. With a soft bend in your knees, slowly fold forward reaching your head toward the ground. Reach your arms holding the lacrosse stick overhead to stretch your shoulders. Keep pulling your chest forward as you fold in order to protect your spine. If you feel any pain or pinching, back off the stretch a bit. Take five deep breaths.
Why it’s good: Lizard lunge is a great way to stretch your hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Strengthening these muscle groups will help you maintain a full range of motion.
How to do this: Come into a low lunge with your right foot forward and your left leg back. Your right knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle and stacked above the ankle. Your toes should point out about 45 degrees. Bring your elbows to the floor with your forearms flat on your mat and spread your fingers wide. Keep your head in a neutral, relaxed position, looking down at the mat. Stay for five deep, full breaths. To release from the pose, straighten your arms so your wrists are under your shoulders. Switch sides.
Standing Bow Pose
Why it’s good: Standing bow is an awesome pose for lacrosse players because it mimics the motion that lacrosse players make for shooting. This balancing posture helps to open your chest and shoulders. It also strengthens your legs and core.
How to do this: Stand straight and tall on your mat. Bend your right knee and move your right heel toward your butt. With your right palm facing out, receive the inside of your right foot with your right hand. Stand tall on your left foot, with your bent right knee next to your standing left knee. Lift your left arm straight up to the ceiling and slowly begin to bend your torso forward. Gently press your lifted foot into your hand as you lift it higher toward the ceiling. Eventually, your left arm will point straight ahead, parallel with the floor. Take five deep breaths. Switch sides.
These stretches work because they allow the muscles players use most often in lacrosse to recover. Stretching can help to prevent injury from repetitive motion by playing too much lacrosse. What? There’s no such thing as too much lacrosse. Not to worry, with these stretches you will pass, catch, cradle and shoot with ease on the field.
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Sarah Kostin is a freelance copywriter, published author, life coach, and yoga teacher. An exercise and outdoor fanatic herself, Sarah has a passion for writing about health, wellness, fitness, yoga, and living your best life.