I wish I could count the number of players I have seen pull or tear a muscle but I do not have enough fingers and toes to count that high. Every year during the first week of practice someone howls in pain and frustration after a wind sprint because their calf seized up or their hamstring got pulled tighter than a guitar string. I played lacrosse for over ten years and I’ve run consistently for over three years. I have pulled my hamstring one time.
I stayed nearly injury free through all my athletic endeavors because of two things. I warm up and I stretch.
The importance of warming up and stretching cannot be overrated in my opinion if they are done properly. I list below a very simple and quick routine that players should do before a practice or game especially if it is cold outside.
Gordon’s Get Rocking Warm Up and Stretch Routine
- High Knees Slowly, Stand in Place – 30 seconds
- Run in Place – 30 seconds
- High Knees Run in Place – 30 seconds
- Heel Kicks Run in Place – 30 seconds
That is a brief two minutes. After that you should be breathing harder and feeling warm. Now we turn it up a notch.
- Line Hops Left to Right – 15 seconds (as fast as you can)
- Line Hops Forward and Back – 15 seconds (as fast as you can)
Now your legs from your calves to your butt should be good and warm. You should be breathing nice and hard and feeling good.
- Legs wider than shoulder width bend at the waist and reach for the ground – 20 seconds
- Right leg forward left leg back. Bend at waist over the straight left leg and try to touch your chin to your knee – 20 seconds
- Repeat the above stretch with your right leg forward again try and touch your chin to your knee – 20 seconds
- Grab your left ankle with your left hand behind your back and pull till you feel a stretch. Use your stick for balance – 20 seconds
- Repeat the above stretch with your right leg. Use your stick for balance – 20 seconds
- Get on hands and toes. Pitch your butt into the air like a tent and drive your right heel to the ground – 20 seconds
- Repeat the above stretch this time driving your left heel to the ground – 20 seconds
If you did that warm up and stretch routine you spent just under five minutes while targeting your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. That is five minutes of taking care of your body and lowering your chances of pulling a muscle during a game or practice. Feel free to add any moves you want to this routine but if you are going to do this do not go through the motions. Really give it your best to get a good stretch. Your body will thank you and you will hopefully have years of injury free lacrosse ahead of you.