In this post I’m going to show you how to use the tennis ball to mobilize the muscles of your upper arm. This includes the bicep and tricep muscles. The goal with this mobilization is to anchor one end of the muscle down and then actively stretch out the rest of the muscle against it.
1) Go back and read the massage post specifically on the upper arm to review the body landmarks and muscles in this region. The primary area you will need to be able to locate for these mobilizations are the muscle bellies (thickest part of the muscle) for the bicep and tricep respectively. See the video for further details.
2) To perform this mobilization, you’re going to need your foam roller, a tennis ball, and some tape. The tape will hold the ball in position on the roller (so that it doesn’t roll or move) and give you a raised surface to work on so that you you can move the arm freely. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the video.
For the Tricep muscle: To begin the mobilization, start by laying the back of your upper arm on the tennis ball with your elbow straight. Start 1-2 inches above the tip of the elbow. Apply pressure into the tennis ball and then try to bend your elbow up. Remember, only go as far as you can comfortably. You’re not trying to force these! If this is too much or the spot is too tender, move further up the arm and try a different spot.
For the Bicep muscle: To begin the mobilization, start by leaning your chest into the roller and position the tennis ball on the bicep with your elbow bent. Start 1-2 inches above the crease of the elbow in the muscle belly. Apply pressure into the tennis ball and then try to straighten your elbow out. Same rules. Don’t force it. Build through the reps and do what you can.
3) Try to do 10 reps for each muscle. As you’ll see in the video, you can work your way up from the elbow to the shoulder this way (if you do this, try 10 reps for each spot you work on).
4) Same warm up rules apply. Try to do this either following a workout or warm up the area with the foam roller first. Especially if you’re coming back from an injury or this is a problem area.
Here is a video demonstration of these techniques: