Improving Flexibility for Surfers and Getting Rid of Pain – Tennis Ball Massage

How to Improve Flexibility for Surfers, Getting out of Pain, and Improving How you Move…. Green Balls.

Time is short. Time to train, or move, or help yourself get of pain, or improve flexibility is valuable. It can be difficult for people to simplify what it is they should be working on. Tennis ball love, or self-myofascial release is one of the things you need to be using. Here’s why, and how. Here’s flexibility for surfers.

Grab your balls. The fuzzy green one’s will do. Tennis Ball love.

Foam Rolling Glute Max and Deep Hip External Rotators

In the health field we call it self-myofascial release. You’ll be using a tennis ball, or foam roller, to impact your muscle and fascial tissues. This is a good thing, and can be a key in pain elimination and improving flexibility (joint mobility).

It’s one of those things that I think of as an essential piece of body maintenance, that everyone should be aware of and using.

The very basics just require that you spend a few minutes a day, a few times per week, working on your issues. = (I’ll generally refer to this as working on your “shit”, but I got an email recently from someone harping on my use of profanities… so I’ll keep it clean for my grandma, not for the dude that sent the email).

There is this accumulation of wear and tear, bad posture, previous injuries, muscle stiffness, and chronic tensions that can generate pain, and limit the way you move. You are going to undo that with a tennis ball.


Learn some very basic anatomy, and roll around on that tissue. You’ll likely find it to be a bit sore, and in some places may find trigger points.

Trigger points are neuroumuscular pain generators that can send pain to another place on the body. It’s not a “bad” thing, but we do want to eliminate them. A common one is the latissimus dorsi muscle sending pain into the arm, forearm, and hand.

Latissimus Muscle Triggerpoint Referral Pattern

You’ll find some nasty spots on the posterior rotator cuff too. That’s why it’s a good thing to look into this tennis ball love if you’re dealing with any pain issues, or have had some previous injuries.

Pain scale 1-10. Roll around and work from a comfortable 3-6 range. I’m cool with 6’s and can stay relaxed and breathe. That’s a key, the breathing. Diaphragmatic non-stressful breaths, to help the body to relax. If you start rolling and it’s gnarly, opt for a foam roller or even a softer foam roller.

Hurting that bad is a pretty big sign that you need this type of work. If you can’t relax with the hurt, you’re not really helping yourself as your nervous system will be too hyped up to allow for positive change.

Get your joints moving properly. Tennis ball love.

10-15 minutes per day, working on your issues. Improve your body so you can surf! It’s that simple and that should be your focus. Spend some time on key areas of tension.

  • Hips – Lateral- Glute Medius, TFL
  • Hips- Anterior Muscles- Quadriceps Muscle Group, Rectus Femoris, TFL
  • The Hips – Hamstrings
  • Shoulder-Anterior Muscles / Chest – Pec Major, Pec Minor, Anterior Deltoid
  • Shoulder- Posterior Muscles – Rhomboids, Trapezius, Posterior Deltoid,
  • The Shoulders- Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major
  • Shoulder- Posterior Rotator Cuff – Infraspinatus, Teres Minor

Those are some of the big ones that most of surfers, or any athletes should be hitting on. If you’ve got no idea what or where those muscles are… no problem, check out Stretches for Surfers

Tight hips can make a knee or low back hurt. A stiff lateral quadricep muscle can can alter knee mechanics and send trigger point pain referral. A nasty posterior rotator cuff can send pain to the anterior shoulder.

My point is, if you’re dealing with some funk, or attempting to improve how you move, start getting into some self myofascial release work. It should become part of your normal routine….. or at some point you’ll have to pay someone like myself to help you get out of pain.

Here’s an older vid of me, with some killer hair, going over a few bits of shoulder anatomy and a lacrosse ball (most beginners should start with a tennis ball).


If you want to stay flexible and move well, which is absolutely essential to staying surf-fit and injury free, you need to put in a bit of effort and self-maintenance. This is especially true when you start smashing through your 30’s.

I’m not asking you to spend hours a day and getting fully yoga-zen, but I am pretty much insisting you start taking some responsibility for keeping yourself in surf shape.

I work with surfers on a daily basis, and a lot of them are in pain, and most of them wouldn’t be in that pain if they had taken care of their bodies.

Generally speaking, a lot of guys over 30 are too stiff, and that’s a huge limitation on surf movement or athleticism. 

Bad posture, genetics, previous bad training, lots of desk or computer time, inflammatory diets, previous injury, or a combination of those things make you stiff.

Once you’re stiff you chance of injury while surfing skyrockets, unless you’re just some 1foot mal-rider ( not that that’s bad, it’s just generally pretty mellow from a movement perspective). Anything 3foot and above requires some fundamentals of flexibility, strength, power, and having the flexibility to get into pretty dynamic positions.

If you’re stiff through joints, you can’t get into the positions that the sport can require, and things will generally start to hurt. This self myofascial release is a big step in improving the way you move, staying out of pain, and making sure joints have full range of motion.


Stretching is an essential aspect, but you need to be specific with anatomy and what you’re trying to improve. That’s a whole other topic, but the key to understand is that some time on a tennis ball performing some self-myofascial release, or tennis ball love, is an essential step in restoring or improving flexibility for surfers.

It’s too simple not to do it. If you’re not willing to put in that type of effort, than I honestly can’t help you improve your body.

Tennis ball love… or a foam roller… it’s simple and effective. The only excuse you’ve got to not use it is that you’re too damn lazy.

If you want more insight into this tennis ball love… Or if you’re dealing with some nagging aches, want to improve your flexibility for surfers, and want a full resource for stretching, dynamic stretches, tissue release, trigger point work, foam rolling, flexibility drills…. Check out my full program: STRETCHES FOR SURFERS- DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY


surf movement nutrition life

Improve the Way You Move
Eliminate Pain, Prevent Injury, and Move Better in the Water.



  • […] Tennis balls, foam rollers, tiger tails, spike balls, voodoo floss, whatever tickles your sweet fancy.   Here’s a full post on the little green balls and foam rollers.  Improving Flexibility for Surfers & Getting Out of Pain […]
  • […] The kindergarten explanation is this: Roll around on a tennis ball or foam roller, help to reduce excess muscle tone, adhesion, fascial restriction, whatever you want to call it.  It can help reduce “stiffness” in tissue that may be limiting your range of motion, or help to eliminate tiggerpoints that may be contributing to your pain syndromes.  It’s a feel good hurt, and can make a very big impact on how you feel and how you move.  Here’s a recent post about the Tennis Balls:  Improving Flexibility for Surfers & Getting Out of Pain […]

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