Flexibility & Stretching Zone!

Foam Roller and Tennis Ball – Surprising Massage and Stretch Tools

Two pieces of “equipment” that can really help you stretch and massage your tight muscles? A foam roller and a tennis ball!

While the tennis ball needs no explanation, the foam roller is a soft, comfortable-looking bolt of foam, especially effective when treating clients with any kind of tightness in their bodies.

When used properly, the foam roller and the tennis ball can be vital tools in keeping your body in the correct postural form, thus enhancing your physique and contributing to your overall health. By performing these stretches below, the foam roller and tennis ball can decrease the tight and tender spots in the body, which allows for muscles and joints to function in a pain-free range of motion. Ultimately, this will improve posture and allow the body to move more efficiently.

Here are some stretches to try with the foam roller:

For IT Band
– Lie down on your side and place the roller at the top of your hip (Tensor Fascia Latae, TFL) and roll down the side of your leg. Hold on tender spot as it allows the adhesions to break down. The IT Band is probably the tightest and most tender part of the body because we often sit in a flexed position, so the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and joints is extremely dense and receives a limited amount of blood flow. Repeat on other side.

For Adducturs – Lie face down and place the foam roller on the inside of one leg while having the other leg faced away. Hold the leg being stretched in full extension. Hold on tender spot for 30 seconds. Switch sides. This is a great stretch for the adductor complex.

For Pecs – Lie chest down and place the roller directly underneath your pec muscle. Hold for 30 sec then switch sides. Many patients have tightness here from internally rotating shoulders and sitting with poor posture.

Here’s how to use the tennis ball to massage tight muscles:

Back Stretch – by placing a tennis ball on your upper back you can massage your upper back muscles, which tend to get overworked when sitting with poor posture and slouching your shoulders. To offset this postural abnormality, massage your upper back to prevent slouching and enhance your posture. Perform 1-2 sets for 30 seconds on tight and tender spots at least once a day.

Ryan Krane, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist/Fitness Consultant, Ryan Krane, Inc