How to Use A Ball for MyoFascial Self-Massage

5 Easy Ways to Use a Ball for Self Massage and Myofascial Release

A lacrosse ball is a perfect, inexpensive tool for self-massage and myofascial release. A solid ball really allows you to pinpoint the pain and release smaller, painful trigger points with directed pressure. Using a ball for self-massage is easy. Typically, you apply consistent pressure to an aching spot by trapping the ball between your body and the floor, a wall, or in some cases, another part of your body. Simply roll the ball across the area in circles or back and forth for a few minutes and release. You do not need to be overly precise. Once you locate the spot, massage out, and apply deeper pressure as needed to draw more blood flow to the area. 

Try these five self-massage techniques to soothe your sore muscles after your next big workout.

Back and Shoulders

Upper Back

●     Lie face-up on the floor

●     Place the ball in between the floor and you along one side of your spine (in the upper thoracic and lower cervical areas) 

●     Move up or down until you find a tender spot

●     Breathe slowly out as you try to relax your weight into the ball, allowing gravity to apply pressure. Hold this pressure for 15s-a1min

●     Massaging any knots or tender areas you may encounter by rolling the ball around it and relaxing upon the ball

●     Repeat on the other side

Shoulders

●     Stand next to a wall, and pin the massage ball between your shoulder and wall

●     Slowly turn your hips so you’re facing the wall, then slowly turn away from it, keeping pressure against the shoulder

●     When you find a spot of increased tension, take a deep breath and slowly exhale, pressing into the ball for 15s-1min

●     Slightly squat up and down to massage that spot. 

●     Repeat on other side

Glutes

●     Stand with your back against a wall, placing the ball against the meaty section of your glutes.

●     Move up and down, side to side, or in circular patterns.

●     When you find a tender area, take a deep breathe and relax your weight into the area, pressing back towards the wall. Hold for 15s-1min.

●     Then continue to move in small circles to massage the trigger point.

●     Repeat on the other side.

Chest 

●     Stand facing the edge of a wall or doorway.

●     Place the ball on the chest muscle, close to your underarm. 

●     Lean forward and roll the ball along the pectoral muscle, and up towards the clavicle bone (but not quite to it).

●     When you locate a tender area, take a deep breath and relax your weight into the area, pressing towards the wall/doorway. Hold for 15s-1min.

●     Then continue to move in small circles to massage the trigger point.

●     Repeat on the other side.

Hamstrings and Hips

Hips

●     Lie down on your stomach, placing the ball beneath you just inside the hip bone. 

●     Slowly roll around the area, relaxing your body weight on the ball (letting the ball push inside your pelvic area).

●     Breathe deeply and stay in place until you feel the muscle start to relax (Hold 15s-1min).

●     Release the pressure and roll the ball slowly until you find another tender area.

●     Roll onto your side, placing the ball beneath the hip bone, and repeat the process, moving up and down along the IT Band.

●     Repeat on the other side.

Hamstrings

●     Sit on the floor with the ball beneath your thigh. 

●     Gently apply pressure by sitting upon the ball, using your hands on either side of you to guide your body in small rotations/movements and to lift the body from full weight. 

●     When you happen upon a tender area, take a full breath and slowly release your weight on top of the ball for 15s-1min

●     Move the ball slowly down the hamstring to find other problem areas. You might need to lean forward or apply pressure to the leg as needed.

●     Repeat on the other side.

Feet 

●     Stand with the ball beneath one of your feet.

●     Gently roll the ball back and forth, applying more pressure when tender. (Breathing out slowly and holding pressure for 15s-1min) 

●     Target your heels, beneath the arch, or around the outside of the foot. 

●     Repeat on the other side. 

Conclusion

Myofascial release can be uncomfortable and slightly painful. You shouldn’t be in excruciating pain as you massage out your trigger points. Regular self-myofascial release is a good kind of “pain” that helps improve your muscle recovery and mobility. Stretching and massaging your fascia helps it maintain or rebuild elasticity so that your muscles can move freely underneath. Start your self-massage today and reap the benefits of a more flexible, pain-free body!

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