August 01, 2017

Origins of Lacrosse: Past & Present, Fierce to Fun


By Michael Rankin, CSCS- Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Drexel Uni.

Lacrosse, like so many other aspects of our world have changed drastically since it was first invented by Native North Americans. What we now know as a fun game played indoors and out by men and women across the globe actually started as a way for Native American tribes to solve disputes, train young warriors for combat and to honor their gods, themselves and their tribes. Originally, teams were comprised of 100 to 1000 warriors competing on the same playing field which ranged from 500 yards to miles long and often did not have any boundaries. The goals were typically a landmark such as a tree or rock and the games could last days, playing from dawn till dusk. The games were extremely violent and at times Natives actually aimed to injure or kill their opponent in order to acquire a clear shot on the goal. Due to the violent nature of the game it was appropriately given the nickname “The little brother of war.”

Origins of lacrosse in native american tribes

Lacrosse today is much much different. There are rules and regulations that players must abide by making the game safe and geared towards fun and competition rather than training for war. The field is roughly 100 yards long and the goals are standardized both indoor and out. Games are no longer played over several days and the equipment used has changed as well. Native Americans competed wearing no pads while today our men wear gloves, arm pads, shoulder pads, helmets and mouth guards. Women wear eye guards and mouth guards while the goalies wear helmets, throat protectors, chest protectors and padded gloves. The sticks are no longer made of wood and the strings are no longer comprised of cat guts and leather. The sticks used today are made of materials such as titanium or aluminum and have a plastic molded head with strings similar to shoelaces.

If you are interested in learning more about the origins of lacrosse here is a link detailing the history in about 60 seconds. Watch the video

As a strength and conditioning professional I often wonder what kind of training these warriors were doing to prepare for these games. In this case, lacrosse was the training. As I mentioned before, lacrosse was training for young warriors. So what else did Native Americans do to train? Were they in the weight room? Probably not, because weight rooms didn’t exist yet. Instead, the world acted as a weight room. These warriors were hunting, gathering, walking, running, riding horses, setting up shelters, and whatever else it took to survive. In today’s world most people no longer build their our own homes, hunt, or even gather food like Native Americans did. Instead, we sit at desks, type on computers or lie on our couch watching television or playing video games. Not necessarily the lifestyle to develop a warrior for a lacrosse game. Does this modern day lifestyle not help to develop the mental or physical toughness lacrosse once required either. What can be done to bring back some of this toughness while also helping enhance an athletes performance on the lacrosse field?

Lacrosse and its origins

 I propose incorporating a day of training outside of the weight room simulating some activities of past generations. One of my favorite alternatives to incorporate is the Mostfit Core Hammer.


Sample Core Hammer Lacrosse Workout

This workout requires a Core Hammer, open space and athletes who are willing to put in the time and effort to completing all of the repetitions.

100x Left & Right - 360’s
100x - Barbarian Squats
100x - Curls
100x Left & Right - Spear Stab/Poke Check
100x Left & Right - Grave Digger/Ground Ball
50x Left & Right - Wood Chop (gloves recommended) 50x Left & Right - Wood Split (gloves recommended)

It is time to start thinking and training like an ancient warrior and implementing some of the movements of our mentally and physically dominant ancestors from generations past. Do not delay order your MostFit Core Hammer, TODAY!!!


References war-clubs.htm


Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise program. You as the user are responsible independently for use of any fitness programs or equipment and assume the risks of any resulting injury.