Are you a runner looking for a more practical solution for your post-run recovery or pre-run warm up? As runners, our bodies are familiar with the high impact, hard hitting, repetitive toll that adding on miles takes, which is why I feel that the running community can positively benefit from YTU Therapy Ball use. Short distance, competitive, and ultra runners can all gain many perks from the self-message techniques performed with the YTU balls – regardless of the miles covered, your tissues need a self-care and recovery tool that is as hardworking as your body.
The running community has stretching on its radar – calf stretch, runner’s lunge, and hamstring lengtheners all initially come to mind, but are those muscles really primed for stretching after miles of the repetitive motions of running? Overuse of the same tissues can shorten some muscles, while overstretching others, which can cause uneven wear on joints and gripping and knots in many muscles. YTU Therapy Balls provide a tool for achieving tissue balance throughout the body so that it is better prepared to recover. By rolling out the adhesions in the soft tissues, the Therapy Balls also return length to the tissues so they are primed for more efficient stretching.
Runners are not entirely unfamiliar with myofascial release, as almost every runner has used a foam roller at some time. It’s not that the foam roller is bad, per se, but the grippy, pliable, rubbery surface of the YTU balls is much more forgiving to soft tissues than a hard, unyielding foam roller. More notably, the Therapy Balls are far more effective at penetrating the superficial layers and “digging into” fascia than a large rolling pin. For those runners who travel often, the cumbersome mass of the foam roller makes it difficult to pop in a bag during travel, lug to parks or trails, or use during post run sessions at the computer. (Yes, you can use your Therapy Balls under your feet while at your standing desk or under your hips while seated.) The biggest “ah-ha” for me was rolling my IT band with YTU Therapy Balls. With the small, spongy, malleable Therapy Balls you can create cross-friction and slide between the layers of connective tissue layers in the thick iliotibial band and its neighboring vastus lateralis muscle. The foam roller provides more of a sledgehammer approach to self-care with its solid and inflexible surface as compared to the focused precision possible with the moldable YTU balls.
Another terrific benefit of the YTU balls for runners is rolling the tissues of the upper back, shoulders and chest areas. Many runners have no idea what their favorite fitness pastime is doing to their bodies above the waist until they experience self-massage on their upper bodies. Chronically overstretched upper back muscles and internally rotated shoulders, coupled with the repetitive pumping motion of the arms makes for a supreme slate of body parts that need to be reset, reopened and restored. The YTU balls can bring any runner greater awareness to these often unattended places and offer myofascial release to these upper body areas for soothing, self-care recovery.
Check back on Friday for my favorite YTU therapy ball rolling exercises I most often share with the running community, the “Calf & Hamstring Smash.” This YTU technique is time efficient and super effective for runners and for anyone who kneads to regain balance in tissues with issues!