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The Sports Doctor: Weight training benefits lacrosse players

Weightlifting not only makes one feel better, but early research has shown significant gains in physical capacity as well as an improved performance in lacrosse. Researchers found that players had greater ability for short bursts of power -- to run down that small little rubber ball with a lacrosse stick.

In turn, body fat decreases for improved muscle mass and grip strength improved for some. Forehand stroke speed also improved with an increased velocity. Weight training is also beneficial for maintaining bone density which decreases one's risk for osteoporosis (brittle bones) with age or injury.

There are, however, precautions to take when starting a weightlifting program -- especially if one has tight muscles and joints. It is always important to do some stretching exercises before you begin. Also be sure to keep a positive attitude and increase in moderation; start with a lighter weight before slowly building up to a heavier weight. The weight training program should be at least 20 to 30 minutes, two or three times per week for improved results and do not expect them for at least a few months.

The program should encompass an entire body workout, including leg presses, bench presses, shoulder presses, dumbbell raises, arm pull downs, pull-ups, and calf, back, arm and wrist curls.

Proper shoe gear and cleat design is important for maximum performance, and if there are any biomechanical foot imbalances, a corrected orthotic insert should be used. Always practice safety when weight training by having an instructor or spotter nearby.

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Dr. Robert F. Weiss

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