Over the previous few years, foam rollers have grow to be a health staple in many individuals’s mobility routine. And it’s no marvel: They’re nice for enhancing range of movement and decreasing muscle soreness. But foam rollers aren’t the only approach to follow self-myofascial launch—you may also use a small, arduous ball, like a lacrosse ball, to work out muscle kinks and soreness.
“A lacrosse ball is a simple tool that everyone can use to ease stiffness, reduce pain, and ultimately help body positioning and performance,” says Kelly Starrett, DPT, a bodily therapist, coach, and writer of Becoming a Supple Leopard. “They’re small and strong, so they can get into areas a foam roller can’t. They also happen to be super inexpensive!”
Unless you’re suffering from again pressure that gained’t go away or IT-band tightness that seems to rear its head each day, you may marvel why it is best to even set time aside for some soft-tissue work. Afterall, teasing out muscle kinks and working connective tissue, ligaments, fascia, and takes effort. But it’s time nicely spent.
“Tissue that’s stiff doesn’t function as well,” says Starrett. “Making your soft tissue healthier through self-myofascial release can improve work capacity, strength, and stamina, and reduce pain.”
Ready to give lacrosse-ball self massage a shot? Keep these four pointers in thoughts.
1. Set Aside 10 Minutes
While it won’t look like a lot, setting aside 10 minutes before bed to roll out is right. “That’s long enough to make a difference but not so long that you overdo it,” says Starrett. “Plus, soft tissue work can have a parasympathetic effect, meaning it can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.”
2. Remember To Breathe
When you’re engaged on easing pressure—concentrating on robust spots and pushing by means of the soreness—maintaining a gentle breath might take a backseat. It shouldn’t. In reality, your breath should play an enormous position in the process.
To use a lacrosse ball appropriately, place it beneath part of your physique (like your shoulders, hamstrings, or quads), and let your physique weight push down on the ball. Roll around till you find a spot that feels somewhat uncomfortable. Stop there and breathe in for 4 seconds. Then clench the muscle where the ball is and hold for four seconds. Finally, loosen up the muscle and exhale for eight seconds. “The longer exhale tells your body to relax,” says Starrett. Repeat this respiration method till the space has softened up and you may put your full weight on the ball. Then move on to the next spot.
three. Target One Area At A Time
Don’t consider lacrosse-ball release as a full-body exercise. This is one case the place much less is extra. Instead of going from head to toe, spend one night time working on your legs and the subsequent on your higher back. Each night time, transfer your focus to a unique muscle group with the objective of hitting all main physique elements by finish of week.
The one factor to keep in mind: Make positive to hit each side. If you do your right leg, do your left leg the similar night time. Need some inspiration for where to goal? “Put the ball under a spot you feel stiff,” says Starrett. “Or, if you have pain somewhere, think about targeting the surrounding areas.” In different phrases, in case your neck hurts, lie down and put the ball beneath the trapezius muscle in your higher back.
four. Stop If It Hurts
Discomfort, particularly at first, is nothing to worry about, however in the event you really feel sharp pain, reassess. “When you put the ball under a part of your body, it should feel good,” says Starrett. “If it hurts bad enough that you can’t take a full, deep breath, you need to back off the pressure by supporting your weight with your hands or throwing a towel over the ball.”
This article is just not meant to substitute for informed medical advice. You shouldn’t use this info to diagnose or deal with a health drawback or situation. Always verify together with your doctor before altering your food plan, altering your sleep habits, taking dietary supplements, or starting a brand new health routine.