Massage Ball Exercises (Upper Body)

by PhysioAdvisor Staff

Exercises > Massage Ball > Upper Body

The following massage ball exercises are designed to reduce muscle tension and improve the flexibility of specific joints and muscles of the back, chest, shoulder, arm and forearm. When performed correctly, these exercises can be used to perform effective self massage or muscle release techniques, simulating the effects of a sports massage.

Massage Balls can be purchased through the PhysioAdvisor Shop.

You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.


Massage Ball Exercises (Upper Body)

The following massage ball exercises should generally be performed 1 – 3 times per day provided they do not cause or increase pain. Initially, they should be performed gently, infrequently and on a soft surface to allow the body time to get used to the exercise. As your flexibility improves, the exercises can be progressed by performing them on harder surfaces or gradually increasing the duration or frequency of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Lower Back Release

This massage ball exercise is designed to reduce muscle tension and improve your lower back flexibility.

Place the spikey massage ball under your lower back as demonstrated (figure 1). Using your legs, move your body forwards, backwards or side to side to massage tight areas. Breathe normally keeping your back and neck relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. A gentle form of this exercise can be performed in standing (figure 2). You can also apply sustained pressure to a particular tight spot for periods of 15 – 60 seconds or until the muscle relaxes.

Spikey Ball - Lower Back Release Supine

Figure 1 – Lower Back Release

Spikey ball - Lower back release standing

Figure 2 – Lower Back Release Standing

Upper Back Release

This massage ball exercise is designed to reduce muscle tension and improve the flexibility of the upper back muscles.

Place the spikey massage ball under your upper back as demonstrated (figure 3). Using your legs, move your body forwards, backwards or side to side to massage tight areas. Breathe normally keeping your back and neck relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. This exercise can be progressed by placing your arms above your head. A gentle form of this exercise can be performed in standing (figure 4). You can also apply sustained pressure to a particular tight spot for periods of 15 – 60 seconds or until the muscle relaxes.

Spikey Ball - Upper Back Release Supine

Figure 3 – Upper Back Release

Spikey Ball - Upper Back Release Standing

Figure 4 – Upper Back Release Standing

Suboccipital Release

This massage ball exercise is designed to reduce muscle tension and improve the flexibility of the suboccipital muscles (upper neck muscles).

Place the spikey massage ball under your neck slightly to one side as demonstrated (figure 5). Using your head and shoulders move your neck forwards, backwards or side to side to massage tight areas. Breathe normally keeping your neck relaxed. Repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. A gentle form of this exercise can be performed in standing (figure 6). You can also apply sustained pressure to a particular tight spot for periods of 15 – 60 seconds or until the muscle relaxes.

Spikey Ball - Suboccipital Release Supine

Figure 5 – Suboccipital Release

Spikey Ball - Subocciptal Release Standing

Figure 6 – Suboccipital Release Standing


  Physiotherapy products for Massage Ball Exercises

To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with Massage Ball Exercises click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.


  Other Exercises


Find a Physio

Find a Physio

Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can assist with Massage Ball Exercises.


‘PhysioAdvisor Exercises’ iPhone App

iPhone AppDownload the ‘PhysioAdvisor Exercises’ iPhone App.


Become A Member  Become a Member

Become a PhysioAdvisor Member and gain full access to our complete database of physiotherapy exercises and injury rehabilitation information. For more details see Become a Member.


Return to the top of Massage Ball Exercises (Upper Body).