Interested in Trying Tennis Ball Massage? Start With These 4 Areas

bare foot on a tennis ball
A tennis ball massage can be an easy and affordable way to relieve sore and achy muscles.
by Autumn Jones

When you don't have the time or extra cash to hit the spa, the next best thing just might be a tennis ball massage. It turns out those fuzzy, bright yellow spheres aren't just for the court! Think of it: a tennis ball's size, shape, and firmness make it the ideal tool for targeting those hard to reach sore spots and tight muscles that need some extra attention.

If you're not sure how to perform a tennis ball massage, don't worry! The techniques are easy to learn and use, and they can lead to fantastic results! Using a tennis ball for a massage can relieve soreness and pain as well as increase your circulation. The key is applying pressure (but not so much that you feel pain).

Ready to start using this simple and effective method? Try massaging the following four areas to alleviate aches and pains.

1. Back

Whether your back is achy from a workout or from sitting in an uncomfortable desk chair, you can use a tennis ball massage to work out the kinks. Address your back in zones, working from the bottom of your neck to your shoulders down to your lower back. An important tip to keep in mind when you use this massage technique is to avoid rolling the ball over your bones— stay on the muscle tissues instead.

Start by lying down and placing the tennis ball under your shoulder. Slowly and gently move your body from side to side, allowing the ball to roll in small areas over the muscle. Once you feel some relief in the shoulder and neck area, begin moving down your back while remaining cautious of your spine until you've made it down to your lower back.

Make sure to take deep breaths as you go to increase pressure! Aim for five minutes of rolling.

2. Feet

If you're on your feet a lot, they will thank you for this tennis ball massage!

You can do this from a sitting position, but standing will place more weight on the ball to help it really sink into the muscles. If you choose to stand, just be sure to hold on to a wall or chair for stability.

Place the ball under your foot and slowly roll from side to side so the ball goes across your arch. Next, roll the ball from heel to toe, covering the length of your foot. Roll for one or two minutes on each foot.

3. Glutes

Sit with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Put the tennis ball under one glute. Lift yourself up about half an inch, placing your hands behind you for balance. Roll slowly until you find a tight spot, and then stay in that spot and take a few deep breaths before switching to the other glute.

4. Hamstrings

Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Place the tennis ball under the middle of one of your hamstrings. With your hands on the ground, press up so your glutes are lifted, and then start rolling in a front-to-back motion. Massage for about four minutes before switching to the other hamstring.

A tennis ball massage is an affordable option that can give you all of the benefits of a massage without the need to leave your home! Additionally, you can toss a tennis ball in your suitcase when you travel to help relax after a long flight or a night in an unfamiliar hotel bed.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.