We’ve had previous blog posts about the benefits of foam rolling and Myofascial Release treatment from a trained practitioner, but what happens when you need treatment ASAP and the foam roller just isn’t hitting the right spot, or you’re traveling and want a more convenient solution? Enter the amazing TENNIS BALL. A tennis ball is an inexpensive, easy, and effective way to give yourself a localized deep tissue massage and it is great at targeting smaller areas that a foam roller may not quite get to.
How to use it?
Place the tennis ball onto a knot/tight/sore area of your body. Once the tennis ball is in place you can apply deep, consistent pressure, or you can slowly rock side to side over the area. You can lie down on the floor using your arms to support you if need be, or you can stand up against a wall when targeting your neck, shoulders and back.
A few other guidelines to consider:
- Hold the ball in place for at least 3-5 minutes, keeping the pressure gentle but sustained and the sensation satisfying and slightly sore but not overly painful
- The tennis ball works really well for the exercises listed below, but you can use it pretty much anywhere on your body
- Listen to your body and stop if anything feels “not right.”
Great areas to target:
- Shoulders and neck area: Best done up against a wall, but also great on the floor.
- Midback: One ball is great, but placing 2 tennis balls in a long tube sock is quite effective and hits multiple areas at once. Position each ball so that it lies in the groove between your spine and shoulder blade. Roll the balls up and down your back by bending and straightening your knees.
- Lumber (low back): Just be gentle; this area is usually more tender than other areas of the back.
- Hamstrings: One easy way to work this muscle group is by placing the ball on a chair and sit on it. You can then roll forward and back, and side-to-side on the chair to work the muscles from the sit bones down to just above the knee. Be careful not to put pressure behind the knee joint.
- Glutes/ hips
- Arches of your feet; Can be done sitting, but you’ll get more pressure if done standing. Press your body weight into the ball as much as feels comfortable.
- Sacroiliac joint: Your sacroiliac or SI joint is the joint that connects your sacrum to your iliac crest (top part of the pelvis). A lot of people, especially women, struggle with SI issues. It’s a semi-movable joint that can easily get out of place due to hormonal changes, pregnancy, labor, and tight muscles. This simple tennis ball trick can help relieve pressure on the SI joint and keep the muscles relaxed so that tight muscles don’t pull the joint out of place. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Place two tennis balls underneath your pelvis about 2 – 4 inches apart from each other. Lie here for a couple of minutes. You can move the tennis balls around this area to target different muscle fibers for a more complete release.
10. Quadriceps: Best done lying face down on the floor, supporting your body weight on your forearms