Mobility coach, physical therapist and founder of The Ready State, Kelly Starrett, regularly makes YouTube videos offering his advice and insight on how to best avoid injury in your workouts, and maximize your body’s recovery afterwards, as well as tips for healthy mobility in everyday life.
Starrett’s latest, slightly unorthodox video is for those among us who might not yet own a massage gun. He explains that in a pinch, many beneficial mobility exercises and techniques can be performed using nothing more than a lacrosse ball.
Throughout the video, Starrett lists a number of the surprising applications of the ball. These include addressing trigger points or intramuscular stiffness that might be causing you discomfort, increasing flexibility of the muscles by making them less sensitive through PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), mobilizing stiff ribs, and applying constant pressure to break spasms.
Having already demonstrated the most effective ways to use a percussion massager while warming up and cooling down, Starrett explains that if you don’t own a massage gun, a lacrosse ball will do just fine for massaging sore muscles. “Sometimes you just need non-threatening input for your patients,” he explains.
Starrett recommends relieving headaches with a do-it-yourself massage, by lying back with your head on the ball, and rolling it from side to side. You can even fashion an improvised foam roller by taping two of them together for post-workout recovery.
Or, he adds, you can just use it for a good old-fashioned foot massage.
“You can synthesize principles of PNF and breathing for simple desensitization.”
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