BENEFITS OF THE LACROSSE BALL
When used for self-myofascial release (aka, massage), a lacrosse ball can help break up the connective tissue surrounding your muscles that can get rigid from prolonged sitting, poor posture, or exercising. What sets the lacrosse ball apart from a foam roller is its ability to loosen up tough-to-reach spots.
Give these exercises a try both before and after a workout to improve your range of motion and ease sore muscles.
SHOULDERS – OPTION 1
On a solid surface, lay down and position the lacrosse ball between you and the floor. To target the muscles surrounding your shoulder blades, such as the trapezius (traps) muscle, keep the desired pressure for approximately 30 seconds while extending your arms in different directions. This will ensure that you’re massaging the muscles from multiple angles. In order to massage the full trapezius muscle you might have to readjust the position of the ball multiple times.
SHOULDERS – OPTION 2
If you’re limited in space or do not have a solid surface to lie down, you can also target shoulder stress by positioning a lacrosse ball between you and a wall. Place the ball in an area where you’re experiencing soreness and lean back to achieve the desired pressure. With firm pressure, either keep that position or roll the ball in a circular motion for approximately 30 seconds.
GLUTES – OPTION 1
To relieve stress in the gluteus maximus (the largest of the gluteal muscles), get into a seated position and place the lacrosse ball between the floor and the area you are experiencing pain or tightness. For added pressure, bring a foot up and rest it on your opposite knee while using your hands for balance. With firm pressure, either keep that position or roll the ball in a circular motion for approximately 30 seconds.
GLUTES – OPTION 2
To reach additional gluteal muscles such as the medius and minimus, lie on your back with your knees bent. Place the lacrosse ball where your glutes meet your low back. Put your weight on top of the ball (using your elbows for stability) and slowly roll side-to-side over it, rolling all the way to the outer edge of the hip. Then, allow your knee and thigh to fall toward the mat. Pull the knee back up toward center and repeat. Continue for approximately 30 seconds then alternate sides.
A lacrosse ball can provide relief from tight arches and also help those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Place the ball under the arch of your bare foot and roll back and forth, stopping short of the heel and toes. If you come to a spot of soreness, stop rolling and allow the ball to rest there for approximately 10 seconds with as much pressure as you can tolerate.
HIPS AND IT BAND
On a firm surface, lie on one side with knees bent 90 degrees. Rest hands on the floor in front of your body and raise your hip. Place the ball directly under the stressed area and slowly lower your weight onto the ball. With firm pressure, either keep that position or roll the ball in a circular motion for approximately 30 seconds. Move the ball up or down your side to hit various areas of the iliotibial band (IT band), glutes, or wherever you’re experiencing pain or tightness.
Sit with both knees bent at 90 degrees with one leg placed in front of you and the other to the side. Place the lacrosse ball on your outer most quadricep (quad) muscle. Shift your weight over the front of your body, keeping your chest up. With firm pressure, either keep that position or roll the ball in a circular motion for approximately 30 seconds. Continue moving the ball up the thigh on that same muscle until you reach your hip.
Sit on a hard chair or table that’s high enough to let your legs hang. Place the lacrosse ball under your thigh along your hamstring, moving it around until you find a tender spot. Lean forward and rest your arm and your body weight on your thigh for added pressure. Keeping the ball in that position, slowly extend and bend your knee for approximately 30 seconds. Move the ball up or down to hit various points wherever you’re experiencing pain or tightness.
If you give these a try but are still experiencing tightness, soreness or pain, contact Performance Therapies to schedule an appointment with one of our Physical Therapists.