Best Lacrosse Warm-Up Drills Before Every Game

As every responsible player and coach always says, a good warmup is half the battle. Whether you are a beginner laxer or advanced player, you are probably no stranger to doing some basic warm-up before training or matches. 

If you haven’t put a lot of effort into performing a good warm-up, I am confident you will change that forever starting today. In the next few sections, I will show you great lacrosse specific warm-up exercises to do before matches and how you could maximize your performance in the best condition possible.

Importance of doing warm-up drills before practice and matches

The goal of warm-ups is to prepare your body by activating muscles and increasing heart rate. A good warm-up ensures your body is at 100% after the first whistle blow. When you aren’t properly warmed up you could feel it immediately as your range of motion is stiff and restricted. Not to mention, under cold weather, improper warm-up puts you at great risk of getting muscle injuries or sprained ankles. 

As a coach, you must enforce warm-up drills and routines for players before every practice or match. And train your players to treat it as seriously as a real game. The lacrosse community doesn’t need another avoidable injury due to improper warm-up.

Dynamic warm-up explained/examples

Unlike static warm-up that doesn’t involve a lot of movement, dynamic warm-ups have quickly found their popularity in the sports industry. Today, it’s the standard routine for athletes across all sports. 

In short, a dynamic warm-up is an effective series of moving exercises that put your body in a game-ready condition. It starts with low-intensity exercises that slowly jack up your heart rate and body temperature. 

As your body starts to get warm, you want to increase the intensity to fully activate your body and muscles. At this point, you should feel a tiny bit of sweat coming down your forehand and are ready for the final sprint to finish off. Give everything you got for the final run which then concludes the entirety of a dynamic warm-up.

Perform these 10-step dynamic warm-up drills before a game or training to improve your mobility and range of motion:

  • Version 1
  1. Stride – 2 x 60 yards
  2. High Knee Jog – 2 x 60 yards
  3. Toy Soldier Skip – 1 x 10 yards
  4. Butt Kicks – 1 x 10 yards
  5. Lateral Lunge – 1 x 10 yards each side
  6. Inchworm – 1 x 10 yards
  7. Carioca with Big Turns – 1 x 10 yards each direction
  8. Shuffle and Sprint – 1 x 15 yards each direction (shuffle 5 yards, sprint 10 yards)
  9. Sprint and Shuffle – 1 x 15 yards each direction (sprint 10 yards, shuffle 5 yards)
  10. Build-ups – 2 x 30 yards (80% for 10 yards, 90% for 10 yards, 100% for 100 yards)
  • Version 2
  1. Jog Forwards/Backwards – 1 x 60 yards each direction
  2. Skip Forwards/Backwards – 1 x 60 yards each direction
  3. Toy Soldier Skip – 1 x 10 yards
  4. Side Shuffle – 1 x 10 yards 
  5. Lateral Lunge – 1 x 10 yards each side
  6. Spiderman – 1 x 10 yards
  7. Carioca with Big Turns – 1 x 10 yards each direction
  8. Shuffle and Sprint – 1 x 15 yards each direction (shuffle 5 yards, sprint 10 yards)
  9. Sprint and Shuffle – 1 x 15 yards each direction (sprint 10 yards, shuffle 5 yards)
  10. Build-ups – 2 x 30 yards (80% for 10 yards, 90% for 10 yards, 100% for 100 yards)

Dynamics/Static stretching routines

In addition to warm-up exercises, stretching is another essential part of playing lacrosse. Stretching allows muscles to loosen up so they can become flexible and relaxed for rapid elongation that will incur during a game. There are many good studies done on this specific topic (source). 

So is it better to stretch before warm-up or after? You want to stretch when your muscles are warm and ready. The best time to stretch is after you have finished a 10 – 15 minutes warm-up for the best in-game results.

Just like a dynamic warm-up, we will also perform dynamic stretches. Here are a few key points to understand before we proceed to the detailed stretches you’d be doing:

  • Do dynamic stretches only after your muscles are warmed up
  • Keep control of your movements using your muscles, instead of letting momentum take control
  • If you feel pain during a stretch, you should alert your coach 
  • Gradually progress to intense and fast movements from slow and low-intensity motions

Follow these 6-step dynamic stretching routines that prepare your body for optimal performance:

  • Arm Swings

Since we use arms to perform every action in lacrosse, it’s very important to fully stretch our arms. Plant your feet on the ground and move both of your arms back and forth.

  • Leg Swings Forward and Backward

If necessary, find a wall or a partner for support. Use one of your legs as a base and swing the leg back and forth to stretch your legs. Last 1 minute for each leg.

  • Leg Swings Sideways

Very similar to leg swings back and forth, this time you are swinging the leg sideways to stretch your hip muscles.

  • The Quad Stretch

You might want to find a partner for balance for this exercise. Plant one feet on the ground and bring the heel of another leg towards the back. Hold it for 30 seconds. Then switch leg. 

  • Lunges

This is a popular and great stretching motion. Bring one leg forward and bend it at the knees so that it’s parallel to the ground. While lunging forward, use the front toes of the other leg to balance. 

  • Butt Kicks

Keep your upper body straight and tall. Start kicking the foot back so that it touches the back of your body. Pump your hands while kicking your foot.

Goalie warm-up drills

Since goalies need a wide range of motion to make challenging saves, there are additional exercises that could be very beneficial. The key to goalie specific exercises targets all core areas of your body such as hips, legs and core muscles. 

In this section, let’s take a look at some movements that goalies could incorporate into their warm-up drills:

  • Side Kick Lateral
  • Step Lunges / Backwards Step Lunges
  • Straight Leg Kicks
  • Heel Over Knee Running

See demonstrations in this clip below:

Conclusion

As we wrap up the discussion, I hope the post thus far has given you great information to help you improve your warm-up results. The differences between the best and good enough players start the second they step onto the field. As an aspiring laxer, you must treat warm-up seriously and professionally. 

If you are looking for some great lacrosse warmup jackets, check out Boathouse website and Lacrosse Monkey.

Additional resources:

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Adrian James
I am Adrian from Florida. After playing lacrosse for 15 years, I decided to start this website to share my journey and knowledge to help people get better at lacrosse.

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