And I own a lotttttt of fancy recovery stuff.

By Lauren Mazzo
March 07, 2020
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My body is 26 going on 60.

As much as I love to tout my affinity for juggling all the workouts in the world—versus committing to and specializing in one thing—it’s certainly left me more prone to injury. Couple my tornado of a workout routine with the fact that I’m still cheerleading as an adult (if you’ve watched Cheer you know that sh*t is not easy on your body), and you get my current sitch: a cranky foot, neck, and hip, two hamstrings that are likely forever-busted, a recovering shoulder injury, and the potential for many, many more issues. 

Luckily, as a Shape editor, I’m spoiled with the ability to try all the latest and greatest workout recovery gadgets. Including, yes, the $400 Theragun, vibrating foam rollers, e-stim machines, and more.

But the tool I reach for every single time something is tight and screaming? My trusty Champion Sports Official Lacrosse Ball, which costs a whole $6 on Amazon

I’m not saying those other tools don’t do it for me—getting gunned down by a percussion device or having a vibrating Hyperice Hypersphere shake out a tight quad is a whole other kind of release. But when it comes to reliability, ease, and portability, this simple tool is queen in my mind. 

For one, unlike the guns, I can easily use it on my posterior chain (read: back, glutes, and hammies) without anyone’s help (hi, single person problems). Plus, it doesn’t require any charging. It also doesn’t make any noise—important, considering I live in a pre-war apartment building and my favorite time for self-massage is midnight (sue me!). It’s small enough that it can dig into trigger points around my shoulder blades and hip joints, where a traditional foam roller misses the mark, and it's perfect for massaging sore, tight feet (which, FYI, you should be doing, especially if you're a runner). It’s compact and lightweight enough that I can toss it in my carry-on to bring on active getaways or even throw it in my backpack to bring to work or cheer practice if I know I’ll need a little lacrosse ball-massage action. And, finally, I can use it without having to lay on the floor....

Which brings me to my single favorite way to get cozy with my recovery bae: sliding up against a wall and rolling my glutes out. Seriously, you can get the best lacrosse ball massage by putting the ball on a wall, leaning your butt up against it, and going at it, pressing into any tight spots in your butt, hips, and lower back. (You can do the same thing with your upper back; it’s a game-changer for tech-neck and desk-body posture.) It feels so good, I’ve literally begged my physical therapist for just one more minute on the wall with this little guy.

No tea nor shade to the fancy new recovery tools out there—they deserve their time in the spotlight. But my recovery philosophy echoes my mantra for health and fitness in general: Keep it simple. TL;DR Eat more plants, move often, and buy a cheap lacrosse ball to massage your butt. 

If you need any more convincing, you can get one in various different colors or for even less than $6 each if you go for the multipack—you know, just in case you want to keep one in every single room in your home. After you try it, you’ll probably want to. 

Amazon

Buy It: Champion Sports Official Lacrosse Ball, $6, amazon.com

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