Winter Break Conditioning

Q: Jon, Hi my name is Graig Gallo, and I am an assistant lacrosse coach at Delaware Valley University in PA. I am writing to ask you a question in regards to winter conditioning specific to the lacrosse preseason. Our staff was having a debate in regards to the amount of aerobic/anaerobic conditioning that needs to be implemented into our winter break program I give the team.

1. Knowing I won’t have direct access to my players over the winter break, and knowing they’ll likely be in commercial gyms with minimal access to sleds for anaerobic work, how do you recommend they train for the running in the preseason past our lifting program?

2. Is there any sort of benefit to getting them run outside during this time (i.e. is there an acclimation period for the cold)? All of our players are from the northeast so it will be quite cold during this time, but so is our preseason.

To give you a point of reference: our winter break program before heading into our season mostly consists of triples, followed by some circuit to try to get their heart rate going while staying indoors and minimizing the amount of stress on their shins/ankles.

All the best,

Coach Gallo

A: Coach Gallo, thanks for writing in! Sorry, I haven’t gotten back to you sooner, I’m slammed with clients. Lucky for you I had a cancellation, so I wanted to answer your question before your players leave for winter break! As you may know, I don’t believe in endless running for athletes, so I like your approach! I would give guys anaerobic power exercises/circuits and anaerobic capacity exercises to achieve your goals. Anaerobic power is done on lower body days and anaerobic capacity on upper body days.

Some quick examples that come to mind are:

  • Sprints on a treadmill with the motor running.
  • Sprints on a treadmill w/ motor turned off.
  • Farmer walks on an incline treadmill.
  • Elliptical/Bike/Versaclimber (my favorite) with medicine throws in between rest.
  • Quick continuous lateral shuffle (cones spaced out 3 yards).
  • Bermuda Triangle plate pushes use towels underplates if there isn’t a turf surface available (done in cardio room).
  • Vertical Jumps (nonweighted/ weighted) nonstop
  • Battling Ropes
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Medicine ball slam downs
  • Band Marches
  • Step up to step down for time with weight
  • Farmers Walk with dumbbells
  • Calisthenics with weighted vest – Jumping Jacks, Bear Crawls, Groiners, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, etc.

There you have it a quick list of exercises you can use in any public gym. You can combine a couple of exercises or utilize one for more extended sets. For Anaerobic alactic power have athletes go all out for up to 8 seconds and Anaerobic alactic capacity have athletes work up to 20 seconds.

*Since I live and train athletes year-round in Florida I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer your cold temperature question, I tried to research some things and didn’t find much, so I’ll leave you with this, practice the way you play!

Hope this helps!

Jon