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4. Glutes, Hamstrings & Calves

4.1 Glutes

Tightness through the hip / buttock area commonly afflicts sports people. Using the massage ball to release this area is highly effective. A massage ball is more targeted than a foam roller - it releases tension in targeted areas.

Glutes Muscles Minimus Medius Maximus Piriformis Massage Balls

Glute Muscles Anatomy

 

Glute Muscles Massage Ball

Glute Muscles Massage

 

Anatomy and Function:

  • The piriformis muscle originates on the front of the sacrum and inserts on the top of the femur.
  • The piriformis is responsible for external rotation of the hip below 60 degrees of hip flexion; above 60 degrees, it becomes a hip internal rotator.
  • The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation and internal rotation of the hip joint.

      Reasons to Treat:

      • Excessive tension on the piriformis can irritate the sciatic nerve. This may lead to pain or nerve irritation in the buttocks, hamstrings, lower leg, or foot.
      • Excessive tension in the piriformis can externally rotate the hip, leading to poor movement in the frontal and/or transverse planes.
      • Between regular use and the fact that many people spend the majority of the day sitting, the gluteal muscles end up in a state of constant tension. If your gluteus medius muscle is too tight or harbors trigger points, you might feel pain when walking around from the legs, hips and lower back or sleeping on your side.

      Massage Balls to Use:

      Plyopic Smooth Massage BallPlyopic Trigger Point Massage Ball

      Set-up:

      • Start by sitting with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Place a massage ball under your right glute, then lift yourself up slightly by placing your hands behind you for support.

      Actions:

      • From the starting position, roll slowly back and forth over the piriformis and gluteal muscles until you find a tight spot, then hold your position.
      • Roll for 30 - 60 seconds, and then switch sides.
      • Try altering your body position throughout to hit the piriformis from multiple angles.
      • To get a deeper gluteal massage, cross the same-side leg over your opposite thigh and bend your same-side elbow to use gravity more.

        4.2 Hamstrings

        Massage balls are perfect for hamstrings which generally don’t respond that well to foam rolling.

        Hamstring Muscle Massage

        Hamstring Muscles Massage

         

        Anatomy and Function:

        • The hamstring is one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee.
        • They run down the back of your leg, crossing both the hip and knee joints.
        • Their main function is to produce movements involving power and speed. 

            Reasons to Treat:

            • Hamstring pain is common for physically active people, and tight, knotted muscles can interfere with your performance in sports and daily activities.

            Massage Balls to Use:

                     Plyopic Trigger Point Massage Ball

            Set-up:

            • Place a massage ball on the floor and roll the entire bottom of your foot over it for one to two minutes. This manoeuvre should release the fascia and enable you to achieve a better stretch in your hamstrings. Loosening up the fascia around your feet can translate into improvements in flexibility throughout your upper legs.
            • After massaging your feet, simply sit up straight, extending your right leg in front of you, your left leg bent and your foot flat on the floor.
            • Place the massage ball under your right hamstring and use your hands to press yourself up so your glutes are off the floor.

              Actions:

              • Use your hands to help move yourself forward and backward over the ball and roll your leg side to side on the ball at each position.
              • You can also flex your right foot and rotate it inward and outward to further target sore spots.
              • The important part of this technique is to roll the ball across your muscles and not parallel to them.


              4.3 Calves

              Gastrocnemius Muscle and Soleus Muscle Calf Massage Ball

               Calf Muscle Massage Ball

              Calf Muscle Massage Ball Application

               

              Anatomy and Function:

              • The soleus is a powerful muscle in the back part of the lower leg (the calf). It runs from just below the knee to the heel and is involved in standing and walking.
              • Along with the soleus muscle, the gastrocnemius forms half of the calf muscle. Its function is plantar flexing the foot at the ankle joint and flexing the leg at the knee joint. The gastrocnemius is primarily involved in running, jumping and other "fast" movements of the leg, and to a lesser degree in walking and standing.

                  Reasons to Treat:

                  • The pain in the soleus or gastrocnemius that is felt when strained includes symptoms such as:
                    • Lateral pain (pain on either side of the calf)
                    • Weakness in the calf when flexing the foot with the knee bent or flexed
                    • Dull, aching pain that begins during or right after strenuous activity

                  Massage Balls to Use:

                           Plyopic Trigger Point Massage Ball

                  Set-up:

                  • Sit on a mat or rug on the floor.
                  • Stretch both of your legs straight out in front of you.
                  • Put a massage ball underneath one of your calves, either at the bottom near the ankle or at the top near the knee.
                  • Bend the other leg so that your foot is flat on the floor, knee bent to 90 degrees.
                  • Plant both hands behind you and out to the side a bit, elbows straight and use your hands to press yourself up so your glutes are off the floor.

                    Actions:

                    • Use your hands to help move yourself forward and backward over the ball and roll your leg side to side on the ball at each position. You can also flex your right foot and rotate it inward and outward to further target sore spots.
                    • The important part of this technique is to roll the ball across your muscles and not parallel to them.
                    • Spend about 10-20 seconds in each position before moving the ball further up the leg. Then switch legs.


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