Soft Tissue Work with a Sock?

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So today’s post serves two purposes.

For starters, to show how diesel I look in my vintage Captain America t-shirt, which seems appropriate considering I’m finsihing up week 3 of The Super Hero Workout as of today.  BOOM!  But more importantly, the video demonstrates a cool and simple way to hit up a little soft tissue work on the backside of the body (particularly the rhomboids and traps) using nothing more than a lacrosse ball and (what I hope) is a clean sock. 

We all know the importance of soft tissue work, so I won’t belabor the point here.  But giving credit where credit is due I stole this idea from current CP intern (and resident nutrition guru), Tyler Simmons, when I saw him using this contraption with a client the other day.  Initially, I thought to myself “what in the what is he doing?”  But then I quickly realized that Tyler was onto something, and thought it was a downright brilliant concept that I felt needed to be shared with the masses.  Check out the video below for a quick tutorial.

A few things:

1.  Yes, using a foam roller and/or a PVC pipe is standard issue around CP; but I’ve found that in order to really get after the rhomboids and traps, using something a little more “focused” is ideal – hence the ball against the wall.  In addition, this protocol can be problematic because the ball slips around and falls to the ground much of the time.  Thowing a sock into the mix, however, just makes it a bit more convenient and less cumbersome in the long run.

2.  Of course, another contraption I’ve mentioned in the past is the Thera-Cane, which I’m a huge proponent of.

Thing is, a sock is free.  And if you’re like me, you have a million and one of them anyways so why not toss a ball in there and kill two birds with one stone.  Not only will you have a pretty nifty (yes, I just said nifty) soft tissue tool, but you’ll also have a makeshift weapon if or when you ever find yourself being attacked in an alley by ninjas.  You never know!

Try it out, and let me know what you think!



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Comments for This Entry

  • Michael Gray

    Nice Tony. A simple solution to a common problem. I have to say, when I first read the title I wasn't sure what direction you were taking the blog. :)

    August 5, 2011 at 8:18 am | Reply to this comment

  • Niel

    That's one really long sock! Awesome idea. I usually lay on a tennis ball but it's hard to get control of the thing while rolling around on it.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:40 am | Reply to this comment

  • Matthew

    I always had problems doing soft tissue work on rhomdboids and traps but the idea of using a sock is absolutely brilliant! Props to Mr. Simmons!

    August 5, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply to this comment

  • Matt Biancuzzo

    Great stuff as usual Tony. I'd also recommend checking out The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook ( It's a great resource for self (inflicted) soft tissue work with tons of great ideas on how to get to tricky spots, like the ball in a sock idea.

    August 5, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply to this comment

  • Tyler Simmons

    Thanks for the shout out Tony. That sock and lacrosse ball have been across the nation... From Alaska to California, and now to Massachusetts. Something that helps even more with the sock is to take the arm on the side you are working on, and grab your opposite shoulder. This really opens up that area between the spine and the scapula, which tends to be pretty nasty.

    August 5, 2011 at 11:06 am | Reply to this comment

  • Dean Somerset

    I htought this was going to look more like the assassin's self-mutilation scene from the Da Vinci Code.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kujo

    Never thought of doing this. Brilliant. Tony, is a lacrosse any better than a baseball for soft tissue work? I currently use a baseball, but I'm thinking of getting a lacrosse ball since it's completely smooth.

    August 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Smitty

    Dude, when did you run into Mcenroe and steal his socks?

    August 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Dean: HA! Well played, sir! @ Smitty: I know, right? But, it makes it MUCH easier using a long sock. @ Kujo: I think a lacrosse ball is hard enough. Using a baseball is okay, but I find that the lacrosse ball, at least from a texture standpoint, is perfect.

    August 8, 2011 at 3:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • Jessica Jane

    Good stuff - I've been using tennis balls in a sock for several months now and feel so much better. I usually put one ball on each side of my spine, then roll up and down slowly, all the way up to the traps. I tilt my toosh up and dig right in there! ;-)

    August 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Stephane

    I've used the lacrosse ball on the back before but the sock idea is genius. Nice stuff Tony!

    August 10, 2011 at 6:11 am | Reply to this comment

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  • Soft Tissue Work with a Ball and a Sock - All Things Gym

    [...] you don’t want to lay down and roll on a lacrosse ball, Tony Gentilcore shows you a way to do standing soft tissue using a ball stuffed in a [...]

    March 25, 2012 at 2:31 am | Reply to this comment

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