We’ve spoken about how using foam rollers can be incredibly beneficial in regards to massaging your muscles and easing out the tension you carry in your body. Foam rollers, as the name suggests, are cylindrical rolls of foam that you roll your body against to ease knots and tightness so you can be limber and free for your BJJ training.
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Foam rollers are great but they lose effectiveness when you need to target small, specific points in your body.They’re meant for the broad strokes; entire large muscles groups like your legs or your back, rather than tiny, niggling knots. Sometimes those niggling knots you have are deep within the tissue and your foam roller is not going to be able to work that deep.
This is where a massage ball would come in handy. A massage ball is a ball which is normally the size of a tennis ball, but rather than having a flat surface, it is ridged with prongs or spikes. Don’t let the word spike scare you off, you won’t be cutting yourself. These nodules, or spikes, work deep into the ailed tissue to release tension and restore motion.
These nodules are also perfect for working with harder surfaces like the soles of your feet for example. If a significant portion of your training is stand up, whether wrestling or striking, your feet will take a battering. Foam rolling won’t be able to help them that effectively but a massage ball would be perfect.
Though saying all that, some balls are completely flat and provide a different sort of release.
Not all massage balls are identical and whilst all of the products below are excellent purchases, you might like to buy a specific ball with specific tension and nodules for your needs. Below, we’ve listed your best available options.
Our Favourite Massage Balls
Masters of Muscle Massage Ball
This is one of the hardest and most solid of massage balls on our list. This makes it perfect for you if your feet are a problem area of yours. The solid interior and the pronged exterior make short work of the tension of your feet and can ease your plantar fasciitis if you happen to suffer from it.
Foam rolling is great for lower back pain but a lot of peoples back pain is focused into distinct points. A firm and hard massage ball like this one from Masters of Muscle will work wonders on that aching back.
This aforementioned hard texture allows the spiked nodules to be extra durable. With some inferior massage balls, the spikes can wear down and even break off completely. But not with this one.
You can use it multiple times a day for a long time without worrying about the ball breaking apart.
Therapist’s Choice Pack of 2 Massage Balls
Therapist’s Choice offers you two great products in one here. The balls are not identical and each one has something different to offer than the other.The green ball is larger and softer, though still firm enough to be effective. The red ball on the other hand, is both smaller and harder.
You can consider the green ball to be a more general, all-purpose massage ball. This is the ball you use for general tension release and even as more of a preventative measure to prevent tight knots from forming.
The red ball you would use to target deep and precise knots and to work out the tensions in particularly tight parts of your body.
Kieba Massage Smooth Lacrosse Balls
Kieba are another company that offer two massage balls for the price of one! These balls, unlike the Therapist’s Choice ones, are identical. This is beneficial because they can be used simultaneously. For example, one ball under each hamstring.
This allows you to cover more area like you would with a foam roller but with the added control and depth of the massage ball. It’s very difficult to work your trigger points in a circular motion with a foam roller so the duel massage ball technique is great.
If you don’t feel like using both simultaneously then you can always keep one at home and chuck one in your training bag for use after a hard night’s training. These balls are also smooth. No nodules, no spikes.
Sport2People Spiky Massage Ball Roller
You have three choices here. Three colours, with each colour representing a different level of firmness. The pastel blue has a soft texture, the vibrant blue/turquoise a medium one and the green ball is the firmest of the three.
All three balls are made of the same high quality natural rubber to give it a strong and sturdy construction. No wearing down or breaking apart like some balls. So it’s really up to you which ball you choose depending on what level of firmness you require. If you’re an absolute beginner to massage balls, it would be a good idea to go with the soft one first and then work your way up if need be.
Like foam rolling, some people can find using massage balls to be uncomfortable and even painful in certain circumstances. So it might be a good idea to er on the side of caution. Picking a ball that is too firm, too soon could lead you to being putting off of massage balls altogether and really missing out on everything they have to offer you.
FlexFixx 3 Massage Ball Set
I’ve spoken above about how not all massage balls are the same and how balls of different sizes, firmness and textures offer you different benefits. This can make it difficult when deciding just which ball for you to choose. But FlexFixx have just made it easy.
Their set comes with three balls; two spiky, in two different sizes, and a smooth lacrosse ball. With this set, all bases have been covered and you’re able to reap every single massage ball benefit you can. They even come with a breathable mesh bag to carry them and keep them fresh.
If you’re unsure or confused about how to effectively use the balls, FlexFixx have even chucked in a user guide. Both in printed form and an eBook. This nifty user guide shows routines and techniques for you to use as well as a handy reflexology chart for both your feet and hands.
When training BJJ and MMA, you accrue all kinds of injuries and ailments. You could shoot in for a takedown and tweak your knee.
You can fight your way out of a kimura only to twist your shoulder in the escape. Your feet could be battered and bruised from hours of stand-up striking. You need massage balls and foam rollers to ease these wounds and prevent yourself from serious injury.
Especially as you age, things like stretching and using massage balls become a mandatory requirement!