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October 6, 2010

Functional Isometric Training for Lacrosse

by Rashad Devoe | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000 members today to start your subscription.

About a year ago at Devoe Human Performance, we integrated into our programs a training protocol called Functional Isometric Training (FIT).

One of the main concepts of FIT, the brainchild of EvoSport Training founder Jay Schroeder (www.ultrafitevosport.com), is that if you can absorb force and then generate that force to propel you in an opposite direction. This training teaches you how to absorb and transfer energy to other movements, allowing you to be more efficient on the field.

A major benefit of FIT: it allows the athlete to move without having an extreme preceding movement. For instance, if a player is backpedaling and has to change directions to sprint forward, most athletes have to drop their hips low to spring forward. Functional isometric training, however, provides for proper position and the ability to generate enough power to spring forward without having to drop your hips.

Here are five drills that we use to help build and create explosive, dynamic lacrosse athletes using the FIT system. Emphasize maximum contraction of the muscles and strict form. Stop for bad or incorrect form. 

1. Low Squat Foot Jump

  • Start in a low squat position on the balls of your feet.
  • Make sure every muscle in your body is maximally contracted.
  • Begin quick jumps.
  • Make sure you land softly and explode back up quickly.
  • Repeat.

With this drill, you train to absorb energy in the Achilles, calves and feet. It also trains for quicker reaction time.

2. Low Squat Vertical Jump

  • Start in a low squat position on the balls of your feet.
  • Make sure every muscle in your body is maximally contracted.
  • Begin quick jumps.
  • On coach’s command, jump up as high as you can in the air and land in a static lunge position.
  • Hold for a few seconds.
  • Return to the low squat position and repeat.
3. Low Squat Foot Jumps with Quick Russian Lunge
  • Start in a low squat position on the balls of your feet.
  • Make sure that every muscle in your body is maximally contracted.
  • Begin quick jumps.
  • On coach’s command, hurry into a lunge position.
  • Return back to your low squat position and repeat.
4. Russian Lunge
  • Start in a lunge position.
  • On coach’s command, do a double bounce.
  • Jump in the air as high as you can.
  • Return to static lunge position and repeat.
5. Isometric One-Leg Squat (Hip Flexor Endurance)

You will need a plyometric box or aerobic step for this drill.

  • Start in a lunge position with back leg elevated on the box.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute.

As you get stronger, you can increase the time. As with all functional isometric exercises, maintain maximum contraction of all body parts.

If you would like to know more about Functional Isometric Training, Jay Schroeder has an outstanding video called “Freak of Training”. In this video, he shows you how he trained NFL safety Adam Archulletta. This DVD is one of my favorites. You can also find out more at www.ultrafitevosport.com.

Rashad Devoe is a lacrosse-specific strength and conditioning coach who has worked with some of the best players in the country for over 13 years. For more info on Devoe Human Performance, visit devoehp.com

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