11 Techniques to Get Instant Relief From a Massage Ball
Everybody loves a good massage. However, the expense and inconvenience makes it a rare treat for most people. Imagine if you could get the benefits of a professional massage with nothing more than your body and an inexpensive ball. Well, you can. All you need is a massage ball and the knowledge to use it. In this article, we’ll discover 11 techniques to get maximum relief from aches and pains with a lacrosse ball massage.
Technique #1: Fascia Relief
Place the massage ball on the floor and stand in front of it. Place one foot over top of the ball, right underneath the arch of the foot. Roll backwards and forward. Place as much bodyweight on the foot as you feel comfortable with. You can also roll the soft tissue massage tool through the metatarsals underneath the base of the foot.
Roll the ball both horizontally and vertically to really open up the fascia. Work on extending the toes and getting maximum mobility back into the foot. Move the massager right through to the heel.
Remember that your foot is the first point of contact with the earth. It can take a lot of pressure. So, don’t be afraid to exert maximum force on the massager when doing lacrosse ball foot massage. The pressure will break up a lot of the adhesion that immobilize connective tissue and fascia within the muscle. This will give you a great self foot massage.
Technique #2: Calf Roll
Sit on the floor with one leg outstretched. Place the massage ball under the achilles tendon. Now roll up and down the length of the calf. Work all areas of the calf muscle, including the inside of the muscle as well as the outside, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Of course, the more pressure you put into the massager, the more intense it is going to be.
If you wear high heels, the area just below the knee will be an area of tightness for you. People who do a lot of running shoes in thick edged heels will also have problems because they are not allowing their foot to plant on the ground as they run. Target this area by placing the ball just about under the knee cap. Allow the ball to run down the full length of the calf and back to the knee in full strokes.
Technique #3: Hamstring Focus
Sit on the floor with one leg outstretched and the ball under your hamstring. It’s best to do this on a firm surface. The hamstrings and the IT bands are areas where there is a lot of build-up of tension and accumulation of toxins for many people. Start by sitting in an upright position with your leg outstretched. Roll the massager from your knee all the way up to your pelvis, moving both vertically and horizontally.
To place more pressure on the ball, push down on your thigh with your other foot by bringing it across and resting it on your mid thigh. To really get into the IT bands, roll onto the outer the side of the thigh and allow the ball to run from the knee right through the hip, remembering to move it in all directions. Then switch to the inner thigh and repeat the same motion.
Place the ball right under the hip joint and work in a circular motion around the TFL. From there, work into your glutes. To apply more pressure place one foot on the opposite knee and push into the glutes.
Technique #4: Quad Roll
Lie face down on a solid surface, with the ball under your mid thigh. Gently roll right through from the hips right down to the knee, massaging up and down as well as side to side. You should try to get the ball right into the medial side of the hip bone. This will open up the upper thigh, which is very stiff for a lot of people.
Remember to vary the amount of pressure that you place on the ball according to the feel of the muscle. Massage this area for at least two minutes, playing around to hit your trigger points.
Technique #5: Lower Back Tension Reliever
Lie on your back and place the massage ball under your lower back. Find your tension spot and massage the ball into this area. Hold the tension for up to 30 seconds before allowing for a release. Now work it through, move it around and allow it to get into your tight spots. Lie right back allow the ball to travel up and down the length of your spine. Take it up as high as your shoulder blades.
To really get deep into the muscles of your shoulder blades, place one hand under the lower back. This will create a bridge that allows the muscles to open up, so you can work into the tight areas that you didn’t even know you had. From the shoulder blades, you can work right up into your trapezius muscles. Following this technique will give you a very effective lacrosse ball lower back massage.
Technique #6: Wall Tension
All of the massage techniques that we’ve been doing on the floor can also be done against a wall. This will provide a different feel to the muscles. Just work the ball through the target area as you are leaning back into the wall. This is an especially good way to work the lower back and shoulder blades. It allows you to target the toxins that have built up in these areas, allowing you to squeeze them out for instant relief.
Carrying your soft lacrosse balls with you allows you to pop it out and perform a quick deep tissue massage session against a wall any time that you feel tightness in the area. There are plenty of great portable balls out there, but our favorite and the one we recommend is the Due North Foot Rubz massager. It even contains a complete instruction manual to on how to use a lacrosse ball for massage.
Technique #7: Upper Trap and Neck Focus
Stand in front of a wall, placing the ball between you and the wall at the upper trapezius level and lean against it. You can move side to side or up and down by slightly bending your knees. The trapezius muscle goes all the way to the base of the skull.
To target the neck muscles, lower yourself further by bending the knees more. However, this may prove uncomfortable, so it may be better to reposition the ball a little higher on the neck. To increase the pressure use the thumb to press the shoulder muscle against the ball. Move the ball all around the neck area, moving both vertically and horizontally to get deep into the areas that require your attention.
Technique #8: Using the Spiky Ball
The spiky ball is a porcupine looking ball with lots of rather sharp projections coming from it. It allows you to work more deeply into the target muscle areas. To target the upper back and neck muscles with the spiky ball, stand against a wall with the ball at upper shoulder blade level.
Massage the ball in a circular motion. If you come across any areas of tension or a knot, lean into it. Allow the spiky ball to sink in. You can also bring your neck across to the opposite side in order to increase the stretch. Hold the pressure for 10-15 seconds. Then continue along the muscle, scanning for other pressure points.
You can target the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders with the spiky ball by standing with your back against a wall and bring the arm across the chest on the shoulder that you want to massage. Place the spiky ball behind the shoulder and massage behind the shoulder, going side to side and up and down. Scan for areas of increased tension and stop and push the spikes into these areas.
Technique #9: Spiky Ball Lower Back / Glute Focus
Stand with your back against a wall and place the spiky ball on the side of the lower back that you want to work on. Cross your hands and gently slide your body up and down the wall, paying attention to any areas of tension. When you do find a spot, lean and relax into it, allowing the spiky ball to sink in.
You can also bend your trunk away from the wall to add and extra stretch. Maintain this for 10-15 seconds, before you continue scanning for other hot spots in the area.
To target the glutes, stand against the wall and place the spiky ball behind the line of the hip. Massage along that line. To get into the hip joint itself, slightly bend your knee and turn your foot inwards to open up the hip from behind. This will place the spiky ball right behind the hip, from where you can massage up and down. This will give you enhanced lacrosse ball mobility.
Technique #10: Spiky Ball Foot Massage
Sit on the floor with your shoes and socks off. Place the spiky ball under your foot. Relax your toes and roll the spiky ball up and down the entire length of your foot. Roll it side to side and in a circular motion under the sole of your foot. Spend a good thirty seconds to a minute working on this area. When you come across a hotspot allow the spikes to dig into the area in order to work deeply into the muscle tissue.
Now that you’ve got the techniques down pat, you need to find the right massage ball for your needs. Check out our comprehensive Best Massage Balls Review 2017 - it’s got the balls you need!
Technique #11: Spiky Ball Chest Massage
Stand up straight facing a wall, with the spiky ball between your upper chest and the wall. Clasp your hands behind you and straighten your arms. Maintain a neutral spine with a slight arch in the lower back. Now, gently apply pressure to your chest, as you rock your body left and right. This will provide a great massage to the pectoral muscles.
In order to create a stronger level of stretch, pull your arms behind you. When you identify a hot spot, stay on that point, allowing the spikes to dig in the the muscle and provide the most effective deep tissue massage possible. This will bring relief to tight pectoral muscles.
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Massage balls are among the best self myofascial release tools out there. You have 11 moves to allow you to provide a complete deep tissue massage to every area of your body. To get the most out of these exercises, be sure to move slowly. Breathe naturally rather holding your breath. Allow the massager to work in for up to 90 seconds. Remember, too, that while your massage should be challenging, it shouldn’t be painful.