6 Self Massage Moves to Power Through Muscle Pain

There’s nothing quite like the swirl of endorphins after a tough workout – you know, until the muscle pain kicks in. Since hiring a personal masseuse after every gym visit just isn’t in the budget, mastering self massage techniques will protect you from spending the rest of your day feeling like a Robaxacet puppet.

First things first: Start by draping a hot or warm washcloth over the affected area to relax your muscles. This helps to increase the effectiveness of the massage and makes the benefits last longer (cha-ching!). For hard-to-reach areas (or if your hands are prone to cramping), I highly recommend having such massage tools on hand as tennis balls, golf balls, foam rollers, and a small screwdriver (nope, not joking).

1. For between your shoulder blades…

Place a tennis ball against the wall and lean your back against it, making sure to rest it between your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and carefully squat up and down so the tennis ball rolls around and hits different muscles.

2. For your shoulders and arms…

Cross your arms over your chest and grab a shoulder with either hand. Squeeze your shoulders, hold for a few seconds, and release. Repeat five times. Use this technique for your arms too, squeezing and letting go right down to your wrists.

3. For your lower back and upper leg area…

Using your knuckles, fingertips, an elbow, or (drumroll please) the handle of a small screwdriver, self massage by pressing the muscle into the bone and moving your hand (or device) in small clockwise circles for a few seconds at a time. Repeat on the other side (if applicable), and do three to five reps on each sore area.

4. For your calves…

Press your thumb into the bottom of your calf muscle, hold for five seconds, then let go. Keep moving up your calf and repeat this motion until you get to your knee, then switch to the other leg.

5. For your feet…

What self massage tutorial would be complete without a DIY foot massage? Using a tennis ball or golf ball, roll your foot over it, section by section. You can also cool them off by swapping the ball for a frozen water bottle.

6. For your neck, arms and legs…

Fill a sock with uncooked rice and tie the end in a knot or with an elastic. After sticking it in the microwave for two minutes, remove it and rub it up and down your legs or against your neck. Leave it filled with rice and use it after every workout. You can even sprinkle it with your favorite essential oils for the ultimate chill factor.

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