9 Massage Balls That Feel Great

best massage balls for recovery

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MASSAGE BALLS have come a long way in the recovery space. Yes, a good ol’ fashioned lacrosse ball will help with what you’re trying to accomplish, but these days there are so many new and innovative massages balls that appeal to all types of recovery needs.

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You might be asking, “What are we seeking to accomplish?” As the name suggests, massage balls can help loosen your muscles and create a relaxing feel. They can also help with recovery, thanks to a massage ball’s ability to provide self-myofascial release (SMR)—a term that describes the application of pressure to a muscle in order to provoke muscle relaxation in the nervous system. After using a massage ball, it’s possible you can feel reduced muscles soreness and tension immediately—but, if anything, you’re bound to at least come away with a relaxed feeling in your muscles.

“Massage balls provide self massage and work as great SMR tool that can ultimately relieve tension, decrease pain, and improve blood circulation to the area through acupressure provided by the ball,” says Dr. Dan Giordano, PT, DPT, CSCS of Bespoke Physical Therapy in NYC. “They can be used to target hard to reach areas, such as your plantar fascia. These days you’re also seeing vibrating massage balls, which help decrease tension in the muscles through the pinpointed vibration.”

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Whether it be a high-tech vibrating device or a basic rubber ball, we rounded up some of the best massage balls that may help deliver a smoother and more pleasant recovery. It’s time to start rolling.

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Best Overall


Wave Solo

Best Set


Release and Recover Ball Set

Best for hard to reach areas



Best for back


Wave Duo

Ol’ Reliable


Lacrosse Ball

Best textured ball


Recovery Ball

Best for shoulder work


MobilityWOD Supernova 2.0

best for feet

Trigger Point

MobiPoint Textured Massage Ball

Best foam ball

Trigger Point

Grid X Massage Ball

Is a Massage Ball Worth Buying?

Since a massage ball offers a way quick way to provide SMR it should be in every individual’s recovery arsenal. They are a wallet-friendly way to potentially speed up your recovery by eliminating light-to-medium range soreness. It’s also worth mentioning that according to National Academy of Sports Medicine, SMR has been shown to reduce muscle tightness and soreness, as well as way to increase your range of motion in areas you’ve worked.

For all these reasons, we certainly recommend a massage ball is worth the investment.

Are Spikey Massage Balls Better?

Spikey massage balls are not necessarily better than a smooth massage ball, but what you get is a deeper penetration of the muscle—which can potentially help relieve sore muscles better. For those who have used a spikey massage ball it’s no secret they might cause a little pain during use, but if you’ve got a high level of soreness then a spikey ball may prove to be more effective at relief than a smooth massage ball.

Is a Massage Gun Better Than a Massage Ball?

This question comes down to your needs. A massage ball is easier to carry around and helps with moderate levels of soreness. But if you’re looking for pinpointed relief on an area of your body that is especially sore, then a massage gun will be better to use than a massage ball.

Read more: Best Massage Guns

For the past 12 months, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s Fitness editors and writers on the best massage balls for recovery. Experts including our fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. and fitness editor Brett Williams, NASM-CPT, put a number of massage balls to the test to evaluate their performance, design, price point, and ease of use.

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