Tag Archives: lacrosse ball

Xmas Gift Ideas for People Who Work Out

gifts

If you’re looking for gift ideas for people you know that are into lifting or exercise in general, here are mine. You could also add these to your own wish list or simply buy them for yourself. I have broken them down by price.

 

$1 – $20

First off, an ab wheel. This is easily one of the best tools to develop your abdominal muscles. For slightly under $13 with free shipping, you can’t go wrong. It’s also rated 5/5 on Amazon with 81 reviews (when I checked).

ab-wheel

 

And who doesn’t want a Superman t-shirt? For $13 with free shipping, you can’t beat it.

superman-tshirt

 

Next up… a pair of yoga blocks for just under $13 with free shipping. 5/5 based on 165 reviews when I checked. These are terrific for yoga (obviously), stretching, self-myofascial release, etc.

yoga-block

 

Lacrosse balls are just about essential for self myofascial release. I would suggest getting three: One for trigger point release and two as a lacrosse ball peanut (to work on thoracic extension). You can get three white ones for $17.95 with free shipping (the cheapest color is blue at $18.95 with free shipping for 3 balls).  If you end up buying only one, most of the colors cost $6.95. Note: The ‘size’ option on the page is actually just how many balls you want. The balls are all the same size. They are standard lacrosse balls.

lacrosse-ball

Foam rollers are awesome for recovery work and you can get one for under $20! The one below got rated 5/5 with 1,014 reviews (at the time I’m writing this) and you can get the 36 inch version for $19 with free shipping. You could also go to a home improvement store and buy a PVC pipe for $3, but it will hurt a lot more. 🙂 If you’re new to foam rolling, this is likely a better option. I’ll add some more expensive foam rollers that are also excellent in the price categories below.

foam-roller

Lifting chalk is awesome to keep a grip on those heavy barbells. Under $13 with free shipping for a pound of the stuff is a great deal. 5/5 rating with 161 reviews makes this stuff a no-brainer, if you even lift.

chalk

The eco ball is my favorite chalk alternative. It’s like regular chalk, except it doesn’t leave a mess. $5.95 with free shipping makes this an awesome, yet inexpensive, gift for any lifter or climber. 5/5 rating with 66 reviews. I personally use this, because my gym doesn’t allow normal chalk, and love it.

eco-ball

Liquid Grip is a liquid chalk that doesn’t leave a mess. You can get the 1.5oz bottle for $5 with free shipping or you can get an 8oz bottle for slightly under $20 with free shipping.

liquid-grip

Under Armour t-shirts are awesome for keeping relatively dry when you’re sweating your ass off. Usually they cost slightly more than $20, but some size and color combinations can be had for less than $20!

under-armour-tshirt

Similarly to the Under Armour t-shirts, UA boxers will keep you from having epic swamp ass. For under $20 with free shipping and a 5/5 rating from 210 reviews, you can’t go wrong with these. I wear them to the gym all the time.

ua-boxers

Lifting straps are usually good to have. You can get them for under $6 with free shipping.

lifting-straps

Other gift ideas under $20: Deadlift Slippers for $13.95 with free shipping | Bacon Socks for $9.90 with free shipping | Shaker Bottle for under $8 with free shipping | 600g of Optimum Nutrition creatine powder for under $15 with free shipping

$21 – $50

I’ll start this price category off with some Under Armour shorts, which you can get for just under $25 with free shipping. 5/5 rating based on 145 reviews.

under-armour-shorts

Fat Gripz are awesome to make your grip stronger. You can grab some for under $40 with free shipping. Rated 5/5 based on 222 reviews.

fat-gripz

The Stick is a great recovery tool. Depending on which one you pick, you can get it for slightly under $28 with free shipping.

the-stick-massager

A ton of the mobility tools available at Rogue can be purchased for under $50. What I’d specifically recommend would be: Monster Bands, lacrosse balls, Voodoo Floss Bands and a Knobber.

rogue-mobility

Other gift ideas under $50: 13 inch Grid foam roller for $39 with free shipping | 12 inch Rumble Roller for $45 with free shipping | 2lbs of Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder for $28 with free shipping | Rehband Knee Sleeves for $43 with free shipping

$51 – $100

For around $60, you can get a nice powerlifting belt with a lever.

powerlifting-belt

A blender to make some badass shakes can be had for under $80 with free shipping!

ninja-blender

Whether or not you get the blender, Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder is a great choice because you can mix it into water or milk with just a spoon. It tastes great and boosts your daily protein intake with ease. Under $54 for 5lbs of the stuff is pretty damn good!

on-whey

$60 with free shipping gets you a nice food dehydrator, so you can make your own jerky and dried fruits. Apple chips are delicious!

dehydrator

$100+

This is where all the really awesome gift ideas will be of course. I’ll start with the Excalibur food dehydrator. You can get one for $255 with free shipping to make homemade beef or turkey jerky, dried fruits, dried herbs, etc.

excalibur-food-dehydrator

For just over $100, you can get yourself an Olympic barbell. The best start to any great home gym.

olympic-barbell

For $450 you can get an awesome Vitamix blender. Pricey, but arguably the best blender out there. I’m not sure who argues about blenders though…

vitamix-blender

Need more ideas?

If you need more fitness-related gifts and found nothing you liked in my list, browse through the Rogue site and I’m sure you’ll find something you like. I wish I could buy almost everything on there…

rogue

Limber 11 Video – Upgrade of Agile 8

One of the most popular lower body warmup and general flexibility routines has been the Agile 8 from Joe DeFranco. The video below is a new and improved version called the Limber 11, also from Joe DeFranco. This routine will improve your hip mobility and can be a part of your daily active recovery work.

Tools you will need: Lacrosse Ball | Foam Roller – A PVC pipe does the trick and the Rumble Roller is probably the best foam roller you can buy. I also like the Trigger Point The Grid foam roller.

Pain Relief with Self Myofascial Release from Kai Wheeler

I just came across Kai Wheeler’s YouTube channel and she has some awesome self myofascial release (SMR) videos I wanted to share with you. I touched on this in my active recovery article, but today I’ll just stick to a few quick videos from Kai Wheeler on how to release parts of the body that generally need it.

Tools You’ll Need

For some of the SMR she uses her hands, but a lot of the videos show methods that will require a lacrosse ball (or a tennis ball, if you can’t handle a lacrosse ball yet). Some of them also require a medicine ball.

Personally, I have the following SMR tools: Lacrosse ball (most important in my opinion), PVC pipe (get it at a home improvement store and wrap it in duct tape to make it less slippery), foam roller and Rumble Roller.

Other SMR tools, if you have the cash to spare: This Trigger Point Set and the Trigger Point Roller are pretty badass. A ton of people also love The Stick.

Traps

Pecs

Subscapularis

Lats

Hamstrings

Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) – Outside Hip Muscle

Hip Adductor – Inner Thigh

Rectus Femoris – Quad or Thigh

Calf

Gluteus Medius – Glutes or Butt

Piriformis – Deep Gluteal Muscle or Deep in Your Butt … That’s what she said.

 

Subscribe to Kai’s channel, because I’m sure she’ll be posting more SMR videos in the near future. I subscribed myself, because I don’t want to miss those.

 

BRB going to do some SMR.

Ankle Mobility

Other Mobility Articles: Shoulder Mobility | Thoracic Mobility | Hip Mobility

 

Adequate mobility throughout the body is important, especially for people who lift weights and athletes that have to move efficiently. Even non-lifters and non-athletes can benefit from postural integrity however, so there is really no valid excuse to have poor mobility. With that being said, the ankles (and adequate range of motion within them) are part of an important foundation that allows you to have better mechanics in all sorts of movement patterns from walking to squatting.

 

Do You Have Decent Ankle Mobility?

A great way to test ankle mobility quickly is to check whether or not you’re able to get into the bottom position of a pistol squat. A pistol squat places a lot of demands on ankle mobility. Where you’re able to compensate more easily for poor ankle mobility in a bilateral squat, the pistol squat will expose your weakness. The video below from MobilityWOD is where this idea came from.

Strength or lack thereof could be a limiting factor in this test, so if you can’t do a pistol squat and you believe it’s because you simply aren’t strong enough to do a unilateral squat movement, then keep it bilateral. Do a regular body weight squat: Heels on the ground throughout the movement with weight distributed through the tripod of your feet. Your feet should be turned out slightly at about 15° and people with exceptional ankle mobility will be able to keep them pointed straight forward. Don’t try to keep your feet pointed straight forward, unless you know you have great ankle flexibility. This can cause knee pain without the required ankle mobility. Why? Answer part 1 and part 2. 🙂 Squat all the way down with the knees tracking your feet (at minimum) or preferably outside your feet. If your knees cave inward during any part of the movement, or you simply can’t get them to at least track your feet, there is a very good chance  you should work on hip mobility. (Note: This does not mean you have adequate ankle mobility, it simply means you have poor hip mobility.)

When doing the squat movement, see if you notice your feet turning outward as you squat down. If this happens, there is a good chance you should work  on ankle mobility. The turning out of the feet is how your ankle compensates for less than optimal mobility to reach depth on the squat. Great hip mobility can compensate for this a little bit, but you should still strive to at least have good ankle mobility.

 

Improving Ankle Mobility

Now that you kind of know where you stand with regards to your ankle mobility, it’s time to improve it.

One of my favorite ankle mobility drills is this one from Kelly Starrett.

More ankle mobility drills: Foam roll your calves like this and stretch them like this. Also mash your calves like this. Improve ankle mobility with a box, jumpstretch band and a friend like this. More ankle mobility work being done here. Another good ankle stretch is this one. If you’re looking for a badass foam roller, the Rumble Roller is your best bet. Your cheapest option is getting a PVC pipe though. Pro tip: Wrap it in duct tape to make it less slippery.

Fix your feet! The feet are also important. Mash them like this with a tennis ball, lacrosse ball (what I use personally) and/or golf ball. Also worth watching: Rebuilding the Feet (from MWOD) – Part 1 and Part 2

 

Compensating for Ankle Mobility Issues When Squatting

Now you know how to improve your ankle mobility, but it’s not going to be completely fixed overnight (while you will notice a difference immediately after self myofascial release) and there is a very potent trick to quickly mask a deficit in ankle flexiblity: Wear Olympic weightlifting shoes to squat (high bar, Oly style squat with a fairly narrow stance) or when you perform Olympic lifts like the snatch or clean. The 0.75″ heel lift in these shoes allows for greater ankle range of motion, which in turn enables you to squat deeper with less than optimal ankle and/or hip flexiblity. Oly shoes also give you a very stable platform to squat from, because they don’t compress like most other shoes. This doesn’t mean you stop working on mobility. It simply means you can compensate a little bit for less than optimal ankle mobility.

adidas-power-perfect-2

Note: If you squat low bar with a wider stance, you’re probably better off wearing flat shoes like Converse Chuck Taylors. More on that in my article about lifting shoes.

 

Conclusion

There is usually a fairly easy way to address a mobility or pain issue. In this case, we have a lack of flexibility in the ankle, so we attack what’s above it (the lower leg) and what’s below it (the foot) to improve it. Coupled with poor ankle mobility can be knee pain, which we try to improve by fixing hip mobility and ankle mobility. Above and below again.

And that wraps up ankle mobility. As always, it’s just my opinion. I’m not a doctor or physical therapist. I’m just a guy who lifts and reads. If you have anything to add, leave it in the comments and I might edit this article to include it.