September 2, 2009

Devoe: Youth Training Video; Straight Shooters

by Rashad Devoe | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

In the August issue of Lacrosse Magazine ("Youth Movement"), lacrosse strength and conditioning specialist Rashad Devoe delves into new ways to train youth lacrosse players. Here's the video of the routine, courtesy of Devoe Human Performance. Below, Devoe answers your questions submitted to "Straight Shooters."

Straight Shooters

Got a question for Rashad Devoe or any of our other "Straight Shooters" columnists? Click here for submission instructions.

From Maribel Gallegos, Denver, Colo: I think I've always seen somewhere someone with an ankle brace, but I've seen the most in lacrosse. As a player, I'd like to know what kind of exercises can help strengthen your ankles to reduce injuries?

Rashad Devoe: It is very interesting that you see a lot of braces in lacrosse and football, but you rarely see any in soccer, where they wear the low tops. Soccer trains the muscles and ligaments of the ankle to be stronger, instead of taping ankles and making the muscles and ligaments around it weaker. That is a debate that trainers have been fighting over for years.

Now to your question on how to strengthen your ankles, at Devoe Human Performance we use do a lot of our exercises on wobble boards or exerdisc. These boards are unbalanced and force you to stabilize and balance, which helps you work the muscles and ligaments of the ankle. We also do flexion and extension exercises with Thera bands to strengthen the ankle. Another good exercise is writing the alphabet with your foot.

From Stacy Taylor, Tampa, Fla: What's the best pre-game meal? Something light? Lots of protein? Thank You.

Rashad Devoe: Best pre-game meal; this is a difficult questions because everyone is different. Some people can't even eat before a game; some eat junk and do just fine.

I like to have some type of carbohydrates before a game with a little protein. Stay away from red meats, burgers and lots of fat that will stick in your stomach and drag you down. Also, have fruit for during the game like small apple, few slices of orange, or a few pieces of melon -- this is a good way to get an energy boost during the game. If you feel yourself dragging, have a small piece of fruit and you will see a HUGE difference in performance and energy level.

From Alex Shaw, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.: Are protein supplements an effective way to increase muscle mass? I've been drinking them after workouts for a little while.

Rashad Devoe: At Devoe Human Performance, we don't look at protein supplements for gaining mass. Calories help gain mass, not just drinking protein shakes. If you eat the right amount of calories, you will gain weight. We use protein supplements as a way to recover quickly from a tough workout or practice. Within 30 minutes of a tough workout or practice, we have our athletes drink a protein supplement.

We also use protein supplements to maintain your weight. Some of our athletes are so active they need to eat at least 6,000 calories a day or they will lose weight. We use the protein supplement as a quick way to get them the calories they need to maintain. There are a lot of protein supplements out there -- make sure you choose one that helps with muscle recovery. The quicker your muscles can recover, the quicker you can go hard for a practice or workout.
From Andrew Hess, Dallas, Texas: In your training article in the May '09 issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the items that are used are dumbbells and a medicine ball. What weight dumbbells and medicine ball should I use for these workouts? And also, how much are the DVDs on your Web site?

Rashad Devoe: This is a great question and it depends on you. Start with a weight that you can do the workout with that will allow you to complete the workout but give you a little struggle. We don't want the weight to be too heavy to and cause injury or bad form. With all training programs, start light and gradually increase as you progress through the training.

The DVDs on my Web site ( are $17. We also have a Web site (  that has workouts from some of the best strength coaches in the country.

From Nick Finagin, Leonardtown, Md.: Is there a specific muscle that helps you shoot faster?

Rashad Devoe: There is not a specific muscle that helps you shoot faster, but there are some muscles to target that will allow you to shoot faster.

The first is your back. We do lots of pull-ups , modified pull-ups and push-up rows.

The next is forearms. Our programs are designed to to also work the forearms hard.

You may hear a lot of trainers talk about trunk rotation when it comes to your shot, but in actuality your trunk can only rotate 13 degrees. Trainers try to force it to go further, which causes a lot of back injuries. So what we work on is something called sequential pulling and pressing exercises. This will allow you to have a stronger core without hurting your back and allow you to activate your core quicker and with less range of motion, which will help with a stronger shot.

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