Lacrosse is a physically demanding sport that requires good aerobic and anaerobic fitness in order to compete. While lacrosse is considered primarily anaerobic, it heavily features aerobic activities as well. Players will often be required to sprint the entire length of the field many times in one game.
Anaerobic exercise is based on intense activities over short periods, like strength training. It’s called “anaerobic” because the energy for these activities is mostly generated without oxygen. Aerobic exercises, on the other hand, consist of lower-intensity exercises sustained over a long period, like jogging.
Aerobic exercises typically derive most of their energy from your breathing. These are exercises typically considered “cardio” or more accurately “full aerobics”. Anaerobic exercises help build strength, while aerobic exercises tend to help with speed and endurance. Both of these types of exercise are important when you play lacrosse.
Lacrosse is played on a large field with players running on their own two feet. Due to the fast-paced full-contact nature of the sport, both strength and agility are key. As a result, lacrosse features a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Is aerobic or anaerobic exercise more important for lacrosse?
Lacrosse is considered to be an anaerobic sport, requiring feats of strength such as throwing the ball or tackling other players. That being said, there is definitely a pronounced aerobic requirement underpinning the game. As we mentioned before, it’s not unusual for players to spend their entire shift running back and forth.
So the question becomes, which form of exercise is more important? The amount of energy that a lacrosse player has to generate over the course of a shift is extremely high. They must be generating enough energy to sprint at top speed, throw and catch the ball, and control other players through pressure and tackling.
All of this is largely governed by anaerobics. Sprinting, unlike jogging, uses much more muscle energy. This energy is created mostly anaerobically and causes lactic acid buildup in the muscles. This buildup is one of the primary causes of muscle fatigue.
Pushing through or maneuvering around opposing players also uses a lot of muscle energy. This goes double for tackling or controlling other players with pressure. On top of all that, players also need to sustain aerobic energy as they move around the field.
So, when it comes down to it, the main form of exercise in a game of lacrosse is anaerobic. Strength training and sprinting are definitely activities that you will want to be good at for lacrosse. That being said, without a solid basis in aerobics, strength and speed will do little to no good.
Which is better for lacrosse?
In short, you will generally want a balanced routine of exercise for lacrosse. Although the anaerobic portion is very important, it is useless without a solid basis in aerobics. In general, most trainers will tell you to have a good balance of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Examples of aerobic exercise that can help with lacrosse would be long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. These activities help build up your endurance and speed. They will also train your body to make and use energy more efficiently.
Anaerobic exercises that can help with lacrosse are sprinting and strength training. Sprinting is a very common component of lacrosse and getting good at it is absolutely necessary. Strength training will help ensure that you can bring the pressure to the opponent and throw the ball correctly.
Strength also helps provide support to your core, wrists, knees, ankles, and a number of other vulnerable points. Besides being able to dish out punishment, players need to be able to take it as well. This also applies to throwing and catching the ball.
If you don’t focus on a good balance of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, your lacrosse playing will suffer. Your body won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the sport, and you will become more tired, faster. You will even be more vulnerable and prone to injury.
Aside from the actual exercise involved, there are some other things you should be aware of while playing lacrosse. Proper diet and hydration can have a huge effect on how your body keeps up. Having a balanced and substantial diet is essential to giving it your all from beginning to end.
In terms of your diet, aside from it being balanced, timing is key. You want to be able to consume between 3-5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Ideally, you should consume energizing foods before your workout, and protein afterwards.
Hydration is also key, which can be a bit deceiving. A very common mistake is to overhydrate. This can cause a state known as water intoxication.
Basically, when you drink too much water, it dilutes your blood. Without the proper electrolytes and nutrients in the mix, this will cause a number of symptoms. The most common ones are headache, dizziness, and disorientation.
In more extreme situations, water intoxication can cause fainting and even death. For this reason it is essential that you do not drink too much water. You can ensure this by drinking alternatives with electrolytes, or only drinking what you lose through sweat and urination.
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There are a few common questions that people typically ask about lacrosse and exercise. One of the most common is about the “dimensions of fitness” that are used in lacrosse. This is related to the issue of aerobic versus anaerobic exercise.
Lacrosse uses primarily the aerobic and stability dimensions of fitness. Sustaining the kind of stamina that lacrosse demands are a full-time job, and an aerobic base is essential. To a lesser extent, muscle training also plays a role.
In other words, if you have trouble balancing, lifting weights, or running quickly and reliably, you’re going to have a bad time. On the other hand, if you are good at these things, then you will have an easier time playing lacrosse. The best lacrosse players will focus mainly on these elements in their exercise routines.
Another common question is about lacrosse as a workout itself. Is lacrosse itself a good workout? Yes and no, it depends on what you need from your workout.
If you’re looking to build your strength and muscle tone, lacrosse can only take you so far. Because the activity is primarily anaerobic with a strong aerobic background, it is less effective for strength training than simply lifting weights.
For cardio and endurance training, lacrosse can be an excellent sport. That being said, it can be dangerous and injurious if you don’t play responsibly. Avoid playing for extended periods or if your body already hurts.
Team sports in general help build the competitive spirit. This is the part of you that tells you to go that extra mile when your body is screaming for you to stop. Learning to push yourself to surpass your peers has a profound effect on exercising.
So, in general, lacrosse is a good sport for general exercise. As long as you listen to your body and make sure you’re getting what you need, then you won’t have any issues. If you want something that is less impactful, soccer, or even just jogging might be a good alternative.