As a calisthenics athlete, every other day I roll my body out with a lacrosse ball for 10 minutes in the evenings, especially after intense sessions. I realized that this $6 ball has become one of the vital training equipment that I take with me, anywhere I go.
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Lacrosse Ball Massage
Unlike tennis balls, lacrosse balls are made out of highly dense rubber that will last over time and won’t buckle under your body weight. They are specially designed to get immediate pain relief on tight and uncomfortable muscles, reduce tension, increase blood circulation and disperse lactic acid to rejuvenate and revitalize all areas of the body.
Lacrosse ball massage is a form of self-myofascial release that involves leaning on the massage ball or roller massages using your body weight and gravity to eliminate knots and tension points. Empirical research suggests that these tools can improve one’s range of motion, and one’s overall recovery process by reducing the effects of acute muscle soreness and delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS).
Fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue and is a structure that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It can be negatively affected by poor posture, repetitive movements, or dysfunctional motions. The purpose of myofascial release is to alleviate muscle fatigue, soreness while enhancing recovery of muscular performance.
What Are The Benefits Of Self-Myofascial Release?
Pain Relief and Immediate Benefits
This equipment will provide excellent deep tissue massage to relieve pain and provide muscle knot relief to sore fatigued muscles. You can take pain relief back into your own hands using this simple ball to target a wide range of body tissues: upper and lower back, neck, shoulders, arms, glutes, and legs.
A 2015 study has found that self-myofascial release appears to have a positive effect on post-exercise muscle recovery and reduction of DOMS.
Increase Range of Motion
Lacrosse ball massage is great for improving your flexibility. It can help to break up the connective tissue surrounding your muscles that can become tight from exercising, prolonged sitting, or poor posture. This ball will enable you to target and loosen up difficult-to-reach spots.
Empirical research suggests that self-myofascial release increases exercise performance when utilizing a minimum of 90 seconds of foam roll or lacrosse ball massager. For instance, let’s say you’ve been rolling out your shoulders, upper back, and lats. The improved upper body range of motion should help you to improve in exercises such as pull ups and pike push ups.
Easy To Carry and Massage Anywhere
You’d simply lean on the massage ball using your bodyweight and gravity to massage any tender areas to relieve muscle knots and tensions. This equipment is perfect for use while laying on the floor on a yoga mat, leaning against the wall, or when sitting on any chair. It is small, portable, and usually comes in a pouch bag. You can use this at home, at the office, or the gym.
How To Use Massage Ball Roller
Your forearms may need rolling out more than you realize! When you grip on a bar to do chin ups, they will cause tension in your forearms, and this strain could transfer to your wrists or elbows to trigger tendonitis.
You can work on the front and back of the forearms by placing the lacrosse ball between your forearm and the wall, followed by rolling up and down, pausing to release on those tight spots. You could also flex and extend your wrists to further release those tight spots. Work between 60-90 seconds on each side.
Lay down on a yoga mat with a lacrosse ball between you and the ball, around the trapezius muscle, especially where you’re experiencing soreness. Roll your muscle out between 60-90 seconds with desired pressure, while stretching your arms in different directions to target multiple angles.
You may need to readjust your body position multiple times. An alternative is to do this on the wall if you have limited space or do not have a solid surface to lie down.
Since your back is relatively large compared to other body parts, it may be helpful to target one quadrant at a time. You will simply secure the ball between your back and the wall, followed by rolling up and down, back and forth with small motions.
When you find trigger points (tender spots), either hold on to it to release or slowly make small movements. Continue to work each quadrant of your back muscles for approximately 60-90 seconds.
To target the glute muscles, such as the medius and minimus, you will lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place the lacrosse ball on the floor with your glutes resting on top. Put your weight onto the ball using your elbows for support and stability.
Slowly roll back and forth, and side to side, rolling towards the outer hip. Use your legs to maneuver around in multiple directions. Continue for approximately 60-90 seconds.
Sit on a chair or any solid platform that is tall enough to let your leg hang. Place the lacrosse ball under your hamstrings. Move the ball around until you find a tight spot. You can increase the pressure by leaning your forearms forward to rest on your thighs. Keep the ball in the same spot, and slowly extend and bend your knees for around 60-90 seconds.
This one is great fun, and to do it correctly you will need to clear floor space. Begin by lying on your front with the lacrosse ball underneath your quadricep. Use your forearms and your other leg to support your weight as you apply pressure to your quads.
Gently rolly up and down, back and forth pausing on tender points. You can further release these trigger points by bending and extending your knee. Do this between 60-90 seconds.
Sit on the floor with your leg extended. Place a ball underneath your calves while keeping your ankles relaxed. Place your opposite foot flat on the floor to help you roll back and forth. Slowly roll the ball towards the back of your knee. Hold the position still when you find a tight spot and the pain releases. Point and flex your toes to really target the muscle knots. Work on both legs for approximately 60-90 seconds each.
Feet (Plantar Fascia)
The pain that you feel in the bottom of your foot could be caused by plantar fasciitis, which is usually caused by the inflamed or irritated plantar fascia. To release this, you will sit comfortably with a lacrosse ball between your feet and the floor under the arch of your foot. Lean your torso forward to put pressure on your foot, slowly roll the ball back and forth along the arch of your foot. Continue for 60-90 seconds, and work on both sides.
The Takeaway: Lacrosse Ball Massage For Trigger Point Release
I hope that you will give the self-myofascial release a try! Many benefits come with it, from an increased joint range of motion, improving muscle performance, and reducing DOMS and fatigue after exercise. This can be a part of your routine, before your workout, right after your workout, or even at home after a long day at work.
The lacrosse ball is fantastic, cost-effective, and is a great substitute for sports massages. I do recommend you give yourself a lacrosse ball massage for 5-10 minutes every other day, and gradually build up towards doing it daily.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, you may also be interested to learn how to use a foam roller, which holds a similar procedure to the lacrosse ball. Fortunately, we have a handy guide (How To Maximize Muscle Recovery After Calisthenics Workout) that contains all the information you need to get started.
At Gymless, we want you to get fit and strong anywhere and anytime, using your body weight and natural environment to have a great workout. If you’d like to advance your strength and transform your body, you can get a personalized calisthenics training program with our highly experienced coaches. This includes:
- 30-Day Weight Loss Program
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I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.