Nowadays, what can you get for $3? An RX Bar? A bag of Giants sunflower seeds? Three Powerball tickets? Not much outside of these, unless you are one who frequents the “golden arches”. Then I guess you could get a double quarter-pounder, a McChicken and a value French fries.
Well, there is one more thing that comes to mind that would be worth your $3.00: a lacrosse ball. Of the aforementioned items and almost anything else out there for the price, can you get more than one use out of any of them? Probably not.
The white lacrosse ball that I purchased early on in my CrossFit journey has seen more places on me than anyone except my wife. It may not be the pearly white ball that I once had, but it has lost no value in my mind.
Over the past couple of years, the lacrosse ball has become more widely known as a mobility tool than as what it is ordinarily intended for. Here are a few practical uses for one outside of the gym:
Mobilization for the desk-jockey:
- In some cases you don’t even need to stand up to mobilize. Start with the ball just above the back of your knee, on your hamstring. Keep it there for five minutes, then slowly move it closer to your buttocks until you have it right on your glute. The people who know you do CrossFit already think that you’re weird, so prove them right and help yourself out while you’re trapped at work.
For the standing desk-jockey:
- This one will take slightly more effort on your part, but at most about 2%. You will slide one shoe off and stand on the lacrosse ball. The amount of pressure you can put on it will increase as your foot starts to loosen up. Typically, I start on the ball of my foot, with my toes curled around the ball. Try to let it sink into your foot instead of just rolling it around. You will notice how when you relax, your muscles start to let their guard down and allow you to really make some progress. I have spent an hour on each foot on more than one occasion, but I’ve also done quick sessions when I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands.
- A wise man, you may know him as Matt Onken, once told me to bring my lacrosse ball on a plane and mobilize while you cannot do much else. So, recently I had a three and a half hour flight to California and I brought my lacrosse ball. It was the longest mobility session of my life, but I also felt like a new man walking off that plane, which I have never been able to say before. I did the hamstring/glute one from above but also my entire back. This one is really difficult: you need to find any spot on your back and just lean against it. I started on my upper back and worked it around different areas for about five minutes each. I watched two movies and fell asleep all while getting in some quality mobility work.
There are literally hundreds of uses for this little devil. Spend some time with your lacrosse ball in areas that you need it the most and I guarantee you’ll start to feel better. Any of our coaches would be more than happy to recommend some of our favorite tips and tricks for putting the lacrosse ball to work. Just ask if you’re in need of some recommendations.