The benefits of exercise are endless – but there is one side effect of exercise that is not entirely welcome: muscle soreness. DOMS, or delayed-onset muscle soreness, can leave even the fittest athlete in pain for days after an intense workout. Using lacrosse balls for trigger-point massages are a handy and inexpensive way to stop pain before it starts. Watch the video for tips from fitness expert Lauren Williams and to see five ways (plus one bonus!) you can use a lacrosse ball to help repair your muscles.
Don’t let tightness prevent you from reaching your full potential at the gym. Try these five moves with a lacrosse or tennis ball to help you with recovery and to prevent soreness.
Back: For this move we will use a lacrosse ball to roll our your lat muscles, also known as your back muscles. On the floor, come onto your side. Find the space underneath your armpits on the side by rolling the lacrosse ball there. You’ll know when you get to it, because it hurts a little bit. Once there, you will hit a trigger point. Make small circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Glutes: For this move, we’ll use a lacrosse ball to roll out the glute muscles. A lacrosse ball is more targeted than a foam roller—it releases tension in targeted areas. Take the lacrosse ball down to the ground, and sit on it with your right cheek—not directly, but a little off to the side. Take your right leg, cross it over you left knee, and make small circular motions. Go counter-clockwise and then clockwise. Repeat for the other side.
Pecs: For this move, you’ll need a lacrosse ball as well as a yoga block. Place the ball right on your upper chest muscles, above one side. Take the yoga block and place it on top of the ball. Press the lacrosse ball into your chest with the yoga block and make small circles. Go counter-clockwise and then go clockwise. You can create pressure into the ball using your hand, and you can also use a wall. Repeat on the other side.
Calves: For this move you will need a lacrosse ball and a yoga block. Take the lacrosse ball, center it right on your yoga block. Place your right leg in the center over the lacrosse ball. From here, roll back and forth or make small circles. If you need more intensity, take the other leg and cross it over the top, creating pressure. Repeat for the other leg.
Spine: For this move, we will work on opening up the muscles along the spine. Instead of using one ball, we will use two. Either tape them together, or you can put them into a pouch. Take the balls and lay them on the ground. Aim to center them on your spine and your mid- to upper-back. Lay your head down toward the ground—you should already start to feel a stretch. To intensify it, take your arms and reach them overhead and then bring them back. Do this for 3-5 movements, and then move the balls further down the spine and repeat.
Feet: We will focus on releasing tension in your feet. Place the lacrosse ball on the ground. Stand on your right foot. Place your left foot—the ball of your left foot—on top of the ball. Put pressure and move back and forth. From here, you can go down toward you heel, over the arch, and over the side of the foot. Wherever you feel tension, focus on those areas, and make sure you do both feet.