Besides its use as a fetch toy for a dog or for playing tennis, a tennis ball can serve beneficial purposes for your muscles. Tennis balls are often used in exercise to aid a person in stretching the back muscles. Numerous exercises help stretch your back in a way that typical stretching cannot accomplish. Be sure to consult your physician before performing any of these exercises.
Melt Around the Tennis Ball
Lying on your back, put a tennis ball between your spine and your upper back. Bring your forearms and hands to the back of your head and reach as far back as possible. Hold this position and take deep breaths. When you do this, inhale slowly, hold your breath, then exhale slowly. Continue doing this for about five minutes. This strengthens the core of your body, as your body melts around the ball, as the exercise’s name suggests. If your forearms do not rest naturally on the ground in this position, place a pillow under yourself to keep your body comfortable.
Three Balls in a Sock
Place three tennis balls in a sock and tie the top of the sock so that they can’t fall out. Put the sock under the small of your back and lie with your stomach facing up. Move your body up and down the tennis ball bundle so that the sock rolls up and down your back. This relieves sore muscles but also strengthens your legs as you roll up and down the sock. Perform this exercise very slowly, taking deep breaths as you move across the tennis ball sock.
Sciatic Nerve Exercises
Your sciatic nerve begins at the top of the back of your leg and runs down toward your foot. If it is stretched or inflamed at all, it causes a great amount of pain. Place one tennis ball above one of your buttocks, about where your back pants pocket would be if you were wearing jeans. Lie on your back, then bend your legs slowly. This puts light pressure on the tennis ball and stretches your sciatic nerve. Roll your body on top of the ball, then sit up. Your body should roll back over the ball when you try to lie back down. Repeat this a few times, then place the ball on your other buttock. Repeating this exercise helps reduce any inflammation in your sciatic nerve, in addition to relieving any muscle soreness.