In order for a massage tool to help, you have to know how to use it. Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about the Orb massage ball to get started rolling right now!
I found The Orb by accident.
Back when I was doing some research into myofascial release with foam rollers, I came across an article about why foam rollers don’t work for myofascial release. Long story short, one of the main reasons foam rollers don’t work is because they can’t release the fascia that is directly beneath the skin. (Another reason has to do with “strumming”, but I’ll talk about that in a minute.)
To release the fascia directly beneath the skin, you need to have a grippy-surfaced object that will keep hold of your skin as you move across it. On this website, there is a video of a man using a grippy ball to break up myofascial adhesions in his quadriceps.
The manufacturer of the ball was not listed, and there was no link to a store where I could buy it. So, naturally, I wandered over to Amazon and began looking around.
I found The Orb.
It doesn’t look like much. In fact, I was pretty sure that I was going to write this piece and then send it back or maybe donate it to a local resale shop. However, from the first moment I used The Orb, I knew I would be keeping it. In fact, it goes with me to work, and then it comes home with me. I hide it up high so my kids can’t find it.
Hands down, The Orb is the best tool I’ve found for relieving body pain yourself.
Psst! If you want a complete, printable free guide about how to roll your entire body, click here for your copy of The Secret to Immediate + Lasting Pain Relief. And, if you haven’t guessed it, rolling is the magical ingredient to keep your body pain-free.
5 Things You Need to Know to Relieve Your Pain with the Orb Massage Ball
Just like with any other tool, the Orb massage ball works best when you use it correctly. Below are some tips to help you use your Orb correctly so you can feel fantastic afterward.
1. The Orb is a multi-directional tool.
This makes it completely unique from most other rolling tools. But, what does “multi-directional” mean? It means you can roll:
- up and down a muscle,
- in a circle,
- in a crazy zigzag pattern, and
- against the grain of your muscle.
This movement against the grain of the muscle is known as “strumming.” Strumming is a great way to break up myofascial adhesions.
2. While you’re rolling, you also want to:
- Move nearby limbs from the joints. For example, bend your knee if you have the ball under your quadriceps. If you have the ball under your upper back, move your shoulder. When you are working your piriformis, open your leg from the hip.
- Rotate your legs. On almost any of the exercises with the legs, you can feel several different muscles if you rotate your leg open to the side and then turn it in toward the midline of your body.
3. Use the Orb on the ground or against a wall.
When you use the Orb against the wall, it greatly reduces the intensity. However, if you’re on your back on the floor, gravity will help you get a little deeper into your release.
4. The surface of the ball helps it stay put better than other balls (like tennis balls) would.
The Orb stays put really well when it is used on the wall. It also stays put really well when I use it on a yoga mat or on the hardwood floor. However, it was very slippery when I tried it on the carpet.
5. Because the Orb is a ball, it can really get into some tricky spots.
The distribution of pressure across a surface means that the largeness of the ball helps the myofascial work feel less intense than it would with a smaller ball.
Rolling with The Orb Massage Ball
Since the Orb is so versatile in terms of what direction you can move while on it, I’m just going to tell you how to access the muscles. It’s up to you to roll, circle, zigzag, strum, rotate limbs, etc. Basically, get on the ball, play, and do what works for you.
Please do make sure that you NEVER roll on your spine. Next to it is fine, but never roll across it. Also, NEVER roll the back of your knee.
I tend to do more upper body work with the wall, but it can be done on the floor.
- Pectoralis minor/major (chest). Face the wall. Place the ball on the front of your body in the space diagonally up from your armpit. Roll on anything that is not bone. Don’t try to roll on your clavicle (collar bone) or sternum (breast bone).
- Upper trapezius (neck). Place the ball on your back where you would want to receive a shoulder massage. Explore from there.
- Middle and lower trapezius (rib cage). Because of the solid structure of the rib cage, I don’t spend a lot of time on this one. However, it’s great to open up the spinal muscles that are further away from the spine.
- Serratus anterior (armpit). Roll on to a side and reach that arm out straight. The ball will go right below the armpit area, and you will roll the outside of the rib cage.
- Quadratus lumborum (QL)/Psoas (low back). When working this area, you will roll from the bottom rib to the top of the pelvis. For many people, the QL and/or psoas are culprits for low back pain.
- Around the edge of the front of the pelvis. Be careful when you do this. There are many organs here that are very sensitive to pressure. I roll this area to break up scar tissue from my c-sections. Please don’t do this if you have ever had any inguinal hernias.
Hips and Glutes
- Glutes. Sit on the ball so that your hips are level. Find the muscles from the top of the back of your pelvis to your SITs bones. Roll however you’d like to massage those muscles.
- Piriformis. When you’re sitting on the ball after you’ve rolled your glutes, scoot to the side just a little bit so you’re further away from your tailbone. You might feel like the Orb is sinking into your hip socket. Roll around this area and then challenge yourself to open and close your bottom leg.
Legs and Feet
- Hamstring (back of your thigh). You can start the ball quite high up (near your SITs bones, which are those bones you feel when you sit on the ground) and let it work down to just above the knee. Move your leg from side to side or let it rotate open and closed. NEVER ever try to roll the back of your knee.
- Calf. You can work from just below the knee to the top of the heel. To get a good amount of pressure, you might need to cross one leg over the other. The ball should be under the calf of the bottom leg.
- IT band. Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t roll on your IT band. I am not one of those people, but you can read this article and decide for yourself. To get in position to roll your IT band, place the ball on the outside, top of your hip. Work your way down the outside of your leg until you are just below your knee. (Some people will tell you to stop just before you reach your knee. Again, I am not one of these people.)
- Tensor Fascia Latae. Place the ball on the outside, top of your hip just like you did for the IT band. Now, tilt forward so that the ball rolls more toward the front plane of your body. Essentially, you are rolling the area from just behind your hip bone to the top of your femur (thigh bone).
- Quadriceps (front of your thigh). Begin on your stomach with the ball up near your hip. Work your way down your leg however feels best. I prefer to do an Army crawl with my forearms and non-working leg to move myself forward (allowing the ball to roll down my leg). At various points along the way, you should bend and straighten your knee.
- Adductors (inner thighs). While on your stomach, bring your leg out to a forty-five-degree angle. Place the ball near where the leg joins the hip. Do not put the ball in your crotch. Scooting in this stretch is a little bit tricky, but you want to move on an upward diagonal line away from the massage ball. This will help the ball roll in the same path on your inner thigh.
- Tibialis anterior (shin). This one is a little tricky, but if you are prone to shin splints, it’s worth the effort. Begin on your hands and knees. Place the front of a shin on the ball. Use your hands and other leg to stabilize you as you roll the ball. To apply more pressure, start in a crouched position where your non-rolling leg’s foot is on the floor.
- Feet. This isn’t the absolute best way to access the muscles of the foot, but it works in a very generic way. Simply stand with your foot on the ball and roll it around.
Orb Rolling for the Lower Body Video
Here’s a video to help remind you of where and how you should roll on your lower body.
The Orb Massage Ball Myofascial Release Video
Here is a video for my visual learners. I hope this helps you get the absolute most relief from your rolling sessions with your Orb.
Please make sure to stop rolling if you ever feel intense pain. The whole point of rolling with the Orb massage ball is to help you feel better. Sometimes you might feel uncomfortable, but you should never feel like you’re in pain.
How can I buy an Orb massage ball?
If you’re interested in getting the Orb massage ball, please use this link through Amazon. It doesn’t cost you anything, but I get a sales commission.
Related: If you aren’t sure which Orb massage ball you should buy, check out How to Choose the Best Orb Massage Ball.
Would you like a free downloadable guide to teach you how to use the Orb massage ball?
Maybe you’d like to download some directions on how to use the Orb. If that’s the case, click here for your copy of The Secret to Immediate + Lasting Pain Relief. Remember, rolling is the magical ingredient to keep your body pain-free!