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Through the evolution of exercise and fitness programs, tissue release balls (or lacrosse balls) are being used more regularly for massage and to reduce tightness in muscles. Unlike tennis balls, these balls are hard and dense and can be powerful massage tool for many areas of the body, if done correctly.

Using tissue release balls for massage affects the fascia, a thin sheath layer of connective tissue, that covers all the organs and muscles. Tight fascia can pull the muscles out of alignment and cause pain and dysfunction. Benefits of self- massage with a lacrosse ball:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased soreness and fatigue after exercise
  • Improved muscle performance

Best done after exercise, but even finding a few minutes during the day to mobilize consistently can have long lasting benefits.

Here are five areas that you can release using a tissue release ball.

  1. Glutes – standing at a wall, place the ball center within the glute. Push in hold tight areas 30sec. each, can also move the leg up and down while releasing.
  2. Hamstring – sit on a chair high enough so your foot can hang. Lean forward while sitting hamstring on the ball, hold 30 sec. flex and extend the leg.
  3. Upper trapezius – with the ball on the wall, lean into tight areas where the muscles extend from the neck into the upper back. Try to relax into restricted muscles.
  4. Chest and shoulders – stand at a wall with arm extended straight behind you. Place the ball at the chest muscle, close to the armpit, relax into tight areas.
  5. Plantar fascia – sit and place ball under arch of foot, lean into the ball, roll into tight areas.

If you can tolerate a little bit of pain, tissue release ball massage can work greatly and benefit your muscle performance by releasing adhesive tissues.  Get some lessons from your Physical Therapist for proper instruction. Tissue release balls are also inexpensive and can be purchased at all PT360 locations.