Not everyone I know owns a foam roller, resistance band, or massage ball and sometimes we just need to get that one spot worked out. As a dance artist, I have a particular knack for the thrifty solution. Before trying any of the following, remember to do a little warm-up to get your blood flowing. This can be something like taking a brisk walk for 5 minutes or doing a full body flow like Sun Salutation.
And with no further ado, here are some examples.
This might seem silly enough but any smallish, hand-sized ball can easily be used for self massage. Think tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or any ball with some support. Pinky Balls were originally manufactured as super high bounce balls and then acquired by folks as massage balls.
Using the ball while on the floor is great if you’re able to manage your pressure while in positions. For a less severe pressure, try using the ball against a wall, or even with a hand or two, on your sore spots.
If you happen to have two of the same size ball, put them both in a sock and tie the end off. Voila! You have a peanut roller!
I love my foam roller. It has many benefits. But if you have a hard-sided water bottle nearby, you can get many of the same benefits and take an environmentally friendly step at the same time. When working out kinks in your arms, shoulders, and legs, a water bottle is a great size. I wouldn’t choose to roll my back with a water bottle, though. Too small and probably too hard. A couple of water bottles wrapped end to end in a towel, however, can adapt to the size and softness your body desires.
Resistance Bands and Yoga Straps
I’m combining these two because there is some crossover. When using straps and bands for stretching, a belt or towel can be a great substitute. Even a pair of pants can step in if you’re out of other options.
And for the strengthening side of resistance bands, using the same props (belt/towel/pants) and a little muscle from your arms or whatever is holding the other end(s), you can get a double-duty work-out. Try holding a towel between your hands and, with good posture, pull in opposite directions for a few seconds then release. This action engages your shoulder girdle and arm muscles like the resistance band would!
And never underestimate the use of your own body!
My calves, in particular, can always use some extra kneading. With a little creativity you can use your opposite knee and shin to get in there where the knots are.
Option 1– Start by kneeling on a towel/rug/yoga mat on the floor. Lean forward to put weight on your hands. Shift your weight off of one knee, lifting it up and laying the lower leg or knee over the supporting calf. Using your arms to adjust pressure, allow yourself to gently press backward against the standing calf. Did you find the spot? Make sure to trade sides afterward.
Option 2– Start by sitting on your butt (on the floor or a chair) with your knees bent up in front of you and feet flat on the floor. Shift your weight back onto your hands or lean against a wall or stable chair if you don’t want this to also be an ab workout. Cross one leg over the other and use the bottom shin/knee to find those sore spots.
I had a lot of fun practicing each of these techniques while writing today and hope they are helpful. If you are interested in more ideas or want demonstrations or photos of anything, please comment, send me an email, or pop into the shop.