You are a defender. Your job is stop another human being from getting what they want. These exercises will help you ruin their day.

Prepared by Arsenal Strength director and Stevenson alum Brooks DiFiore:

If you want to be a good defenseman you have to learn to enjoy hard work. A well conditioned defenseman can be a scary thing for an offensive player. There is not one attack man who enjoys going up against a defenseman that is so well conditioned that they stay in their gloves from the first whistle to the last.

Here are three exercises that can take your game to the next level.

High Block Pulls/Pin-Pulls

Deadlifts in general are probably the best exercise out there for gaining strength and building muscle. They can be particularly useful to a defenseman who needs to develop the strength to drive with their hips when an offensive player makes contact.

Pin-pulls are an accessory movement that will not only help your deadlift, but also have a huge ability to transfer to the field as a defenseman. It is vital that we have the ability to make solid contact with an offensive player, drive our feet through the ground, and push an offensive player away from the goal.

Pin-pulls are a deadlift variation that starts with the weight off the ground. To determine where you need to start get down in your defensive position and let your hands fall to your side. Wherever your hands fall is where you want the bar to be placed so set the pins accordingly.

Perform 5 sets of 3-5 reps after you deadlift.

3-Board Bench Press

Once you’ve developed power in the hips you need to get some strong arms. How many times has your coach told you to fully extend your arms when you’re driving on someone’s hips? In college, my defensive coordinator would say “no alligator arms.” When you first make contact with an offensive player its almost impossible to not have a slight bend in the elbows. The question is how do we develop the strength to receive that contact, understand that our arms are going to be forced back into a flexed position, and have enough force to drive our arms into the offensive player and back into full extension.

Board Pressing not only helps to increase your bench press by allowing you to handle heavier weights, but it also teaches you how to be explosive in a partial range. This is the same range of motion that is nearly identical to the one required to drive an offensive player away from the goal with your arms in fully extended.

Perform 5 sets of 3-5 reps after you bench press.


Great defensemen have great feet. At Stevenson, we started every practice with footwork and in that time the program produced eight All-Americans and one Defensive Player of the Year. While the offensive worked on shooting, the defense was busting their butts working on footwork and agility. Ladders are not only cheap, but they’re portable and will easily fit into any lacrosse bag.

Hit the field early and get 10 minutes of footwork in before practice.

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To see video of the exercises, click here.