By Dave Donovan
Of Lacrosse Evolution
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/2/08
Another key part of a warm-up routine is Dynamic Flexibility. We’ve got the muscles activated and warm, and now they need to be stretched.
Lunge with a Twist
Step forward into a lunge: head and chest up, both feet pointing forward and the step should be long enough to create 90 degrees of knee bend for both legs.
Then twist your torso towards the side of the forward leg with arms straight out parallel to the ground, holding your stick in both hands.
Twist back to center, stand back up and step forward with the opposite leg. Continue stepping for 10-15 yards.
Toy Soldier Kick
With arms extended out holding your stick above eye level; each step should be an attempt to kick your hand with your foot without bending your leg or lowering your arms across the 10-15 yard line.
This may be difficult at first (static hamstring stretching implemented a few times a day can help increase one’s ability to complete this movement). A variation to this would be to kick to the opposite hand.
Walking Quad Stretch
Beginning with your stick in your left hand, take a step forward with your left foot and then pull your right ankle up to your buttocks and hold with your right hand (as in a static quad stretch). With your left arm reach up high overhead and come up on the ball of your left foot.
Hold this position for a count of two. Release the right ankle, take another step forward with your left and repeat the stretch again for the right leg. Repeat this three more times for a total of five; then switch your stick to the right hand and complete five stretches of the left leg.
Walking Hip Flexor Stretch
Grasp your stick in both hands with a close grip, hands nearly touching on the shaft, bring one knee up to your chest and pull it to your chest. We are also coming up on the ball of our support leg and leaning the torso back slightly.
Release the leg and step forward as you repeat by bringing the opposite leg to your chest. A lot of people miss label this as a high hamstring stretch when the focus should be on the hip flexors.
Some individuals may feel a stretch in the high hamstring due to inflexibility, but the stretch should be felt in front of the hip above the quadriceps.
Take your time with all of these because even though you are moving, you are stretching, it is not a race.
We have our muscles activated and lengthened. Now we need to make sure our brain is prepared to communicate explosive contractions to the muscles. Neuromuscular Activation gears up our brain for game speed. The next few exercises are ballistic in nature; therefore they require a quick response from our Central Nervous System.
In place, jump straight up into the air as you pull both knees up to your chest. Land without making a sound, spend no time at all on the ground (Imagine yourself on a sizzling frying pan as you are jumping and you are trying not to get burned) and take off again, repeating 5-10 times.
Start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground and your arms set in a good sprint starting position; that is, both arms bent at 90 degrees, opposite hand of the forward leg at eye level, the other hand next to your hip with the elbow behind the body.
Jump straight up pushing off mostly with the forward leg. As you reach full extension on the jump, drive the knee of the back leg up in front of your hip parallel to the ground. As that knee is coming forward and the elbow of the same side arm should be thrust behind you as in the sprinting form.
Land on the same leg you took off with and drop all the way back down in the lunge position ready to repeat. Complete 10 reps with each leg.
Quick Feet Reaction (QFR)
There are multiple variations to this exercise. Here is just one I like to use as part of the warm up because it is simple and it gets everybody fired up. The key to this drill is the start position.
Coaches should focus on making sure that everyone is in perfect athletic posture before the drill begins. Keep the buttocks low and back, knees flexed, feet spread to shoulder width or a little wider, up on the balls of your feet, chest over the toes and head up.
The rest is simple; alternate tapping the balls of your feet as quickly as you possibly can. Then blow the whistle for a short 10-15 yard sprint. Repeat 3-5 times.
QFR is also a great training tool as well. Next time I’ll pass along some great lax related QFR drills.