Training Day: Optimize Your Workouts with Dempsey Arsenault, Becca Block


Dempsey Arsenault (left) and Becca Block (right) are committed to their fitness routines.

This article appears in the January edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

Dempsey Arsenault understands the temptation to put together a training program that’s heavy on endurance and skips the weight room.

“As a middle, you have to run all the time,” said Arsenault, the former Boston College All-American who won a gold medal with the U.S. national team and finished sixth on the Athletes Unlimited leaderboard last summer. “If you don’t have muscle, you won’t be able to be explosive and get by them or stop top attackers.”

Arsenault trained at Compete, a gym in Norwood, Massachusetts, with fellow Team USA member and two-time AU Defensive Player of the Year Becca Block. A line defender, Block, who starred at Syracuse, doesn’t log as many miles as Arsenault on the field. But strength training has been essential to her success and longevity.

“Gaining quickness and speed happens in the weight room,” Block said.

Arsenault and Block gave tips on optimizing your time in the weight room.


In 2021, Arsenault sustained what she believes was an overuse injury in her foot. It taught her the importance of tuning into herself and scaling back when necessary.

“If you aren’t feeling great, you probably aren’t going to have a great workout,” Arsenault said. “You have to learn the difference between 30 minutes of an intense workout versus a dragged-on one that you are not into. If you are so tired or not feeling it, it’s OK to take a day off and go harder the next day.”


Block usually has one day for speed, where she and a trainer break down how she’s running and her acceleration. “We don’t usually lift that day,” she said.

But Block does put in at least three days a week in the weight room. Typically, she dedicates one day to lower body, one to upper body and one to full body. Lower-body work specifically helps with her explosive first step and speed.

“We do a lot of single-leg Romanian deadlifts, rear-foot elevated squats, deadlifts, calf raises and lunges,” she said.

Upper-body exercises help with stickwork and typically include core work for stability.

“We are doing bird dogs, rows, pull-ups, push-ups and bench presses,” Block said.

Block said wrist curls help with stick work.


Block says female athletes may shy away from heavier weights for fear of bulking up. See how you feel after three sets of eight.

“You want to be able to do three sets of eight without fully maxing out,” Block said. “You want to have a couple more reps left in the tank.”

But if you feel like you didn’t even lift a finger, let alone a weight, it’s a sign you need to level up.


Block and Arsenault typically move their bodies on off days. Some of Arsenault’s favorite things to do include simple movements like walking and hiking. She’s also gotten into yoga since graduating college.

“I never used to stretch,” Arsenault admitted. “Yoga has helped my recovery so much and the mental clarity has been huge.”

Arsenault hits studios like CorePower. Melissa Wood also offers classes through a membership-based program.


Eating well throughout the day can help you recover and power through a workout.

“I’m a big smoothie person, and I get a lot of my protein in smoothies,” Arsenault said. “I try to be balanced — veggies and protein.”

Treat  yourself too.

“I make sure I am not depriving myself of sweets,” she said.


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