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The Best Massage Balls for Runners and Athletes in 2020

 

Taking proper care of your body is essential for getting the most out of your workout and allowing you to continue enjoying your runs for as long as possible.

Having the right gear for the run itself (like good running shoes, for example) is an obvious must. But what you may not realize is that the tools needed for your pre- and post-run routines are just as essential.

Massaging your body reduces pain, breaks up scar tissue, and improves circulation. This will all help speed up your post-run recovery. Massage balls are an excellent choice for targeting and rehabbing problem areas and for helping your body to loosen up and recover fully.

We have selected and reviewed the best massage balls for athletes available now…

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

TriggerPoint MB5 Massage Ball

 

  • Provides deep massage
  • 5 inch diameter can cover large areas
  • Relieves tightness, restores mobility to entire body
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Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls

 

  • Great for the mid and upper back
  • Simple but effective
  • Relieves tension
Check Price

 

Pro-Tec Athletics Spiky Massage Ball

 

  • Spiky surface increases circulation to massaged area
  • Perfect for rolling arches of your feet
Check Price

Best Overall Massage Ball

1. TriggerPoint MB5 Massage Ball

The TriggerPoint MB5 Massage Ball gets our pick for the Best Overall Massage Ball. It exerts pressure in the exact same way that the elbow of a massage therapist does. This targeted pressure restores movement and relieves tightness in those muscle groups that are normally harder to get to, such as the hips, glutes, and shoulders.

This massage ball is 5 inches in diameter, which provides you with extra leverage for targeting and releasing tension to allow for an increase in your range of motion.

The fact that the MB5 has a foam surface makes it more hygienic than those made from cloth. It’s also simpler to clean.

Furthermore, the pressure exerted by the MB5 promotes oxygen and blood flow to those targeted areas to elevate your performance, range of motion, and overall movement.


PROS:

  • Provides deep massage in hard to reach areas
  • 5 inch diameter can cover large areas
  • Easy to clean, hygienic foam surface
  • Relieves tightness, restores mobility to entire body
  • Enhances movement by promoting circulation

CONS:

  • May not be firm enough for those used to a lacrosse ball

Check Price on Amazon

Best Massage Ball for Foot Pain

2. Pro-Tec Athletics Spiky Massage Ball

The Spiky Massage Ball from Pro-Tec Athletics is the best massage ball for those who are experiencing foot pain. It is 3 inches in diameter – the perfect size for massaging the bottom of your feet.

Its firmness provides you with the ability to massage your deep tissue, and the spikes covering the outside provide a stimulating effect that increases circulation to the targeted area.

It is a great tool for massaging backs, calves, and shoulders, and it is excellent for helping to relieve the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.


PROS:

  • The 3 inch diameter makes it perfect for rolling and massaging the arches of your feet
  • Spiky surface increases circulation to massaged areas

CONS:

  • May not be firm enough to work deeply into fascia

Check Price on Amazon

Top Massage Ball for Neck Pain

3. TriggerPoint MB Deep Tissue

The MB Deep Tissue massage ball, another winning entry from TriggerPoint, serves to stimulate your circulation, which in turn reduces your recovery time.

This massage ball, which is made out of easy to clean foam, is designed to target and provide relief for the aches and pains coming from those smaller and harder to reach muscles such as the muscle groups in your calves, feet, and shoulders.

The MB Deep Tissue possesses a distinct texture that allows for a reduction of your body’s recovery time.

Also, its diameter of 2.5 inches makes it portable and enables it to provide deep tissue compression massaging to the aforementioned smaller muscle groups.


PROS:

  • 2.5 inch diameter makes it perfect for targeting small muscle groups like feet, shoulders, and calves
  • Stimulates circulation and reduces recovery time
  • Made of water resistant, easy to clean foam

CONS:

  • May be a tad heavy for some users

Check Price on Amazon

Best Massage Ball for Back

4. Pro-Tec The Orb

Back problems are all too common among both runners and non-runners. We have found that the best massage ball for rolling out your back and alleviating back pain is the Orb from Pro-Tec.

The Orb is highly dense, which allows it to offer aggressive deep tissue massages to areas like the IT band, quadriceps, hamstring, calf, back muscles, and more.

The ability of the Orb to target specific muscle groups with a focused, deep massage enhances your body’s performance, promotes flexibility, and reduces tightness as well as muscle fatigue. The Orb is made from EVA foam, which allows it to provide the user with such a firm massage.


PROS:

  • Outstanding pain relief for all areas of the back as well as other muscle groups
  • Improved range of motion for massaged areas
  • Helps dig into normally hard to reach areas
  • 5 inch diameter provides deep tissue massage to a large number of muscle groups

CONS:

  • May feel a bit too lightweight for some users

Check Price on Amazon

Top Value Massage Ball

5. Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls

We have found that the massage lacrosse balls from Kieba provide the best value overall in terms of massage benefits and performance for the money. They’re not very fancy, but they get the job done. 

You can buy the balls in a set of two. These lacrosse massage balls are each made of firm rubber and are a portable 2.5 inches in diameter.

The size allows for do-it-yourself myofascial release by targeting pressure points to get rid of knots. It’s also useful to relieve muscle soreness and tightness, and to improve circulation to the targeted areas.


PROS:

  • 2.5 inch size and firm rubber material allow for targeting of trigger points to provide myofascial release
  • Great for the mid and upper back and other muscle groups
  • Relieve tension, get rid of knots, and reduce pain by providing deep tissue massage

CONS:

  • Might be too firm or too small for some users

Check Price on Amazon

Best Massage Ball for Shoulders

6. TriggerPoint MobiPoint Massage Ball

Another fantastic model from TriggerPoint, the MobiPoint Massage Ball is specifically designed to target smaller areas such as the foot and the hand. We have found that it works especially well for your shoulders.

The small 2 inch diameter of the MobiPoint is designed to apply targeted and focused pressure to those smaller areas like your hands and feet in order to stimulate circulation, release tightness, and soothe discomfort in those areas.

And we have discovered that it is particularly good for getting rid of knots in your shoulders, particularly in that hard to reach crevice along the edge of your shoulder blades. Its small size is a boon for those shoulder knots that are normally so hard to deal with.

The MobiPoint is made of firm, solid plastic, a construction that allows it to provide targeted pressure to those problem areas. The raised tips on its surface also stimulate your circulation and allow for increased blood flow. The material of the massage ball grips your tissue while you are rolling it, decreasing your soreness and enhancing your mobility.


PROS:

  • 2 inch diameter great for targeting small areas like your feet, your hands, and your shoulders
  • Reduces soreness, relieves tension, and enhances mobility through deep tissue massage
  • Stimulates circulation and blood flow
  • Solid, easy-to-clean plastic construction

CONS:

  • May not be firm enough for those used to using a lacrosse ball

Check Price on Amazon

Top Mini Massage Ball

7. Hyperice Hypersphere Mini

This entry in the massage ball market from Hyperice, the Hypersphere Mini, is a vibrating massage ball. It vibrates to provide your muscles with targeted, localized therapy. Its portability and all-around awesomeness make it our pick for the best mini massage ball.

The Hyperice Hypersphere Mini comes with three different settings for vibration speed, allowing you to adjust the vibration to your specific needs. It provides targeted relief to your pain points after you exercise or as you are warming up. The high intensity vibration core transmits the maximum degree of vibration to the muscle groups that need it most.

The Hypersphere Mini’s rechargeable batteries last two hours on a full charge, providing a very long session of uninterrupted muscle therapy. The 3 inch diameter allows it to target and deeply massage a wide variety of muscle groups. It’s even TSA approved for maximum portability!


PROS:

  • 3 speed vibration provides deep massage therapy and delivers maximum vibration to targeted areas
  • On a full charge, can provide 2 hours of uninterrupted vibration massage
  • Exterior made of textured, hygienic silicone for good balance and grip
  • Portable, TSA approved 3-inch design perfect for travel

CONS:

  • Expensive

Check Price on Amazon

Best Massage Ball for Gluteal Knots

8. Pro-Tec The Orb Extreme

Another fantastic model from Pro-Tec, the Orb Extreme is a close sibling of the aforementioned Pro-Tec Orb. Everything that is great about the Pro-Tec Orb also applies to the Orb Extreme, and we have found it to be the best massage ball out there for dealing with gluteal knots.

The Orb Extreme is made of the same EVA closed cell foam as the Orb, but the Orb Extreme is firmer and has more prominent bumps. This makes it ideal for sitting on and rolling out your glutes. The Orb Extreme is also just a little bit smaller than the Orb, coming in at 4.5 inches in diameter as opposed to 5 inches for the original Orb.


PROS:

  • Firm, bumpy 4.5 inch construction provides optimal levels of targeted deep tissue massage to the areas that need it most
  • Focused, aggressive massage releases gluteal knots
  • Reduces muscle tightness and muscle fatigue, enhances performance, and increases flexibility

CONS:

  • May be a bit too firm and uncomfortable for some to use

Check Price on Amazon

Top Massage Ball for Hamstrings

9. Hyperice Hypersphere

Hyperice has provided us with another winner with the Hypersphere, the big brother of the Hypersphere Mini. Everything great about the Hypersphere Mini is also true for the Hypersphere, and its larger size makes it the top massage ball for your hamstrings.

The Hypersphere boasts a powerful 30-watt motor designed to deliver the maximum amount of vibration to your body. Like the Hypersphere Mini, the Hypersphere offers 3 vibration speeds, so you can select the one that is best suited to your needs at the moment.

The high intensity vibration allows for much less painful myofascial release, and the 5 inch diameter pinpoints a wide range of muscle groups, such as the calves, feet, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, shoulders, forearms, and back.

It is constructed out of the same textured silicone as the Hypersphere Mini to provide optimal balance and grip, and it also offers at least 2 hours of uninterrupted vibration massage time on a single charge.

Like the Hypersphere Mini, it is also fairly portable, cordless, and TSA-approved, making it an excellent travel companion no matter where you decide to workout.


PROS:

  • 3 speed vibration provides deep massage therapy and delivers maximum vibration to targeted areas
  • On a full charge, can provide 2 hours of uninterrupted vibration massage
  • Exterior made of textured, hygienic silicone for good balance and grip
  • TSA approved 5-inch design perfect for travel and deeply targeting a wide range of muscle groups

CONS:

  • Expensive

Check Price on Amazon

Top Cold Massage Ball

10. Recoup Cryosphere

For the best cold massage ball, look no further than the Recoup Cryosphere. This ingenious product combines the benefits of a massage ball and an ice pack into a single product. The Cryosphere provides all the benefits of other massage balls while also reducing muscle inflammation and swelling through its ice-cold properties.

The Recoup Cryosphere consists of two basic parts: the massage ball itself, and a blue and black housing that partially encases the massage ball to provide free rolling ability. You can use the massage ball in the housing for handle-free rolling, or you can take the massage ball out of the housing to use it by itself.

Place the Cryosphere with or without its housing in the freezer for two hours in order to get 6 hours or more of cold therapy. The 3.15 inch diameter ball allows you to target hard-to-reach muscle groups to provide focused therapy by relieving muscle stiffness, joint pain, knots, and muscle spasms.

By using the Recoup Cryosphere, you provide fast-acting relief and recovery for your muscles by reducing inflammation and focusing on trigger points to provide myofascial release all in one go.


PROS:

  • Housing allows free movement of massage ball in all directions
  • 2 hours in the freezer provides at least 6 hours of cold therapy
  • Trusted by a number of professional athletes for their muscle therapy and recuperation needs
  • Fun and easy to use

CONS:

  • Slightly expensive
  • The base is a bit too small to be stable when used on the ground
  • When cold, cannot be used directly on skin for long periods of time

Check Price on Amazon

Best Massage Ball for Plantar Fasciitis

11. Gaiam Restore Hot & Cold Therapy Kit

The Gaiam Restore Hot & Cold Therapy Kit is our pick for the best massage ball for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. This set of two massage balls—one smooth and one textured—which can safely retain either heat or cold—provide excellent relief from plantar fasciitis and other foot pain.

These massage balls are made out of rubber and are filled with a compound that allows each ball to retain either cold or heat safely. The textured therapy ball, which is covered with either spikes or bumps, stimulates the target area and increases circulation along with oxygen and blood flow.

The smooth therapy ball provides gentle and controlled release of tension to a wide range of muscle groups.

Both massage balls can be used on the back, glutes, shoulders, feet, and more. You can choose the degree of pressure as well as the temperature to provide yourself with completely customizable therapy.


PROS:

  • Set of two massage balls, textured and smooth, offers a wide range of coverage for all your massage therapy needs
  • Can be heated or cooled to the temperature you desire for optimal soothing and pain relief
  • Provides excellent relief for those suffering from plantar fasciitis or other foot pain
  • Extremely firm construction provides optimal muscular tension release

CONS:

  • May be too firm for some users

Check Price on Amazon

 

FAQs:

Why should I use a massage ball?

Massaging your muscle groups before and/or after a run is as essential (or perhaps even more so) as stretching is for your post-workout regimen.

In order to allow your body to recover properly from a workout, you need to work deeply into the fascia (the connective tissue) of your body in order to break up knots (adhesions) as well as scar tissue to increase the circulation to that tissue and make it more pliable.

Basically, using a massage ball allows you to recover faster from your workouts, improves your circulation, increases your mobility and range of movement, and keeps your body healthy and flexible enough to keep running and working out for as long as possible.

What’s the difference between a foam roller and massage ball?

A foam roller is shaped like a cylinder, while a massage ball is shaped like a sphere. Both have their merits. A foam roller is designed for rolling out broad areas or groups of muscles and cannot target smaller, more specific areas like the shoulder, foot, and hand. A massage ball is designed to target those smaller groups of muscles.

Also, a massage ball will usually provide a deeper, more focused massage to a particular area because it can apply more pressure to a particular point. The pressure of the foam roller is spread out across the entire length of the roller.

What diameter should I get for a massage ball?

The diameter you should get for a massage ball depends on what you intend to use it for.

For instance, if you suffer from hand pain, foot pain, or plantar fasciitis and intend to use the massage ball specifically or mainly for that purpose, you should get a smaller massage ball (likely no more than 3 inches in diameter).

It is not that these smaller massage balls cannot be used on larger muscle groups; it is just that they have been designed with the targeting of these smaller, harder to reach muscle groups specifically in mind.

But if you don’t have a specific muscle group in mind that you would like to target, then you can consider a great all-around massage ball like the TriggerPoint MB5 or a set of massage balls that provide great value, like the Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls.

How do I use a massage ball?

The use of a massage ball depends on the muscle group you want to target.

For instance, if you have foot pain, you will usually use a massage ball by stepping on it and rolling out the arches of your foot with it. Your body weight will provide the pressure necessary for the massage.

You can also roll the massage ball over the area with your hand while applying pressure.

Another popular method is to place the massage ball between your body and the wall or between your body and the floor and roll it over the affected area using your body weight.

Read the user guide for your massage ball for more specific instructions and suggested exercises.

The Wired Runner