It’s not often I get go full on geek with people that care as much about movement and self-care as much as I do. This last weekend I got to do that with Ryan Esdohr and Matt Johnson at Superhuman Lab as a guest on their podcast. Before the recording I gave Ryan one of my low cost repurposed mobility tools. The WHAM-O SUPER DUPER BALL. It’s a kid’s toy that’s been around forever. Not only is it fun to spike at the ground and bounce it a about a mile high it’s a great substitute for more expensive balls for marketed for soft tissue work.
The closest thing I can compare the WHAM-O to is a Yoga Tune Up Alpha Ball. Alpha balls are awesome and I’m all about supporting teachers like Jill Miller that put a vast amount of quality content out on the web for free but if you’re just getting started or looking for a large, medium firmness ball to put in the tool box and want to save a buck the WHAM-O is a great option.
Compared to the Alpha it’s a little bigger, a little firmer and a little less grippy none of these properties make it better or worse than the Alpha it’s just different. It does seem to be more durable and tolerant of heat and direct sunlight so it does hold up a little better if you want to keep it in your car or something like that.
You can buy them for as cheap as $4.00 if you keep an eye out for them at Aldi in the summer or you can order them all year long from amazon for about $8.00 which will still get you started a for less than half of the cost of an Alpha ball.
It took Ryan less than a day to go to work with the WHAM-O and he started putting out some good content. Little did he know he put together a great series for cops so I’m gonna borrow it.
Smashing the lil glutes. Watch this video and think about where your duty belt traps your hips. The belt compresses the glute medius, glute minimums and TFL all day long. Getting a little soft tissue work in this area once or twice a week is key to keeping the hips mobile and healthy.
Hamstrings- You sit on them in the patrol car 30+ hours a week and chances are you stack on another 30+ on that at home. That’s a lot of time with heat and pressure to turn the that meat into the human tissue equivalent of grilled cheese.
Rectus and high hip flexors- Pay extra attention to the first part of the video here. The high hip flexors get gnarly from all of the sitting especially where the belt tends to rest on the thigh. Work the whole leg and remember it should not cause you pain. If your quad is screaming at you chances are that’s where you need to work. Take your time, hang out there, relax and breathe.