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Choosing the best massage ball for your needs shouldn’t be hard, that’s what the internet is for! On this page we’ll review the most popular massage and therapy balls out there that you can use for self massage and self myofascial release.
Using a massage ball is sometimes necessary to get into tough to reach areas that a self massage tool like a foam roller can’t access. Massage balls are also great for giving yourself a foot massage by stepping on the ball and rolling your foot around on it.
What are the best massage balls out there?
That’s a great question, and one I hope you’ll feel I have adequately answered by the end of this article. A lot of these ‘review sites’ will slap up 10 products they found on Amazon and direct you to them, but I really don’t feel that there are always exactly ’10 best products’ out there… That’s why I try to narrow it down to as small of a list as possible to make sure you’re only looking into the best massage balls, so here we go.
The simple ‘lacrosse ball as a massage ball’
This is at the top of my list, because it really does do a good job getting most of the hard to reach areas, it will last forever unless your dog chews it up, it’s cheap, and you can find them pretty well anywhere – you may already have one in your house! Here are some alternatives to the lacrosse ball, and some size variations:
- Hockey ball
- Golf ball
- Tennis ball (works great if you put it in a sock, sling it over your shoulder, and press up against a wall with the ball between your back and the wall)
The benefit of using something like a golf ball would be the size difference, getting into the actual massage ball products now, the biggest variations you will see are:
- Size: The size of the ball affects which muscles you can effectively massage
- Density: The density will depend on the muscle, and on your personal tolerance and experience with self massage
- Texture: Do you want a flat ball, or a textured ball for your massage. Some will have small bumps, and others will go as far as being covered with spikes!
If you need a lacrosse ball you can find them on Amazon here. It’s not the easiest to find individual golf balls so check your house, ask your family members or a neighbor to see if you can get an individual one rather than buying a whole box.
Often times you can find a sporting store around your house that will sell them as well.
Best Spiky Massage Ball Pick
Our top pick for the best spiky massage ball goes to the Pro-Tec spiky massage ball. This is a firm, 3″ in diameter ball that is my absolute favorite for foot massages, and is great for treating plantar fasciitis. After you have a foam roller, and a firm and smooth massage ball – this is the next direction I like to take when it comes to self massage. This product is highly reviewed on Amazon, and has clearly helped a lot of people in their self-massage quests. Here are some more details about the ball:
- Firm 3″ diameter ball
- Spiky outer layer that offers great stimulation to the sole of the foot (and other areas)
- Our rating: (4.5 / 5)
- Click here for more info on this ball
Best Overall Massage Ball Set
My pick for the best overall massage ball (set) is the Soma System. This massage ball set comes with 5 balls sized 27, 32, 45, 60 and 63 mm. And what do you know, those sizes happen to line up almost perfectly with some of the key sizes described in the massage ball size guide below. The only ball that the set is missing is a very large ball (up to 100mm) that can be used for the chest and some parts of the shoulders. Here’s an outline of the set:
- Set contains 5 balls that are firmer than tennis balls
- Sizes are 27, 32, 45, 60 and 63 mm
- The smallest ball is around the size of a thumb, perfect for massaging those impossible to reach areas
- Included is a $50 training program on how to use the balls effectively
- Our rating: (5 / 5) – this set accomplishes it all!
- Click here to learn more about the set on Amazon
What’s the best massage ball size?
Of course different muscles and body parts have varying sizes, and therefore you would benefit from using a different size massage ball depending on where you want to target.
- Hands, forearms, and feet: Try balls between the size of a golf ball and lacrosse ball, this range is around 40-60mm.
- Calves, hamstrings, hips, glutes, delts, traps: Try a ball 60mm and above, this will likely be a specific therapy ball.
- Chest and shoulders: Try to find a large ball, even up to 100mm to target these areas.
More massage ball properties
Let’s go over a few more massage ball properties that you should consider on the search for the best massage ball for your needs.
Massage ball density
The next important factor to consider is the density of your ball. Depending on the muscle, you’ll want different firmness to get the right massage. Too firm on the smaller muscles may be painful and press through to bone or ligament contact. Lacrosse balls offer a happy medium for density that I feel can effectively massage almost all of the muscles you’ll want to hit.
Weight of the ball
The weight will also come into play – a heavier ball will generally stay in place better, and also will be solid so not compress at all. Heavier and more solid balls generally are more expensive, but this characteristic is also tied into density so if you want a more dense and stiff ball you will likely be paying a bit more for it.
For me grip is really important for giving a good self massage with a ball. You need to be able to balance and roll around on the ball without fear of it slipping. A good rubber, or gripped surface will be your best bet – also keep in mind that the surface you roll on will affect the grip. Roll on carpet or matted surfaces to stay stable if your balance isn’t the greatest.
Massage ball texture
Smooth balls, other than the grip, will always be the most effective in massaging and working out your knots. You can try funky-textured devices, but in the end all you need is a proper diameter and density ball pressing and massaging a target muscle. Instead of looking for a texture you should adjust your ball size as necessary – which is why I recommend the Soma massage ball set, it comes with every ball size you need to adequately massage your body.
More massage ball tips
Here are some final tips when it comes to purchasing a massage ball and using your ball:
- Start large and soft and work your way to harder and smaller balls for the best stimulation
- Lacrosse balls are arguably the best overall ball that you can use on almost every body part
- Start with a lacrosse ball, and size up and down with additional balls once you gain more experience or find specific areas you can’t massage effectively
- Avoid rolling over bones and ligaments
Thanks, and I hope this article of reviews helping you find the best massage ball for your needs was useful. Happy rolling!Find Mobility Guardian on Google+