What you do before and after you work out is almost as important as what you do during your workout—yet stretching’s often an afterthought, and who has time for a cool down? Jill Miller, the creator of the Yoga Tune Up series, is hoping to change that, so she created a set of small, cushioned, easy-to-grip balls that let you give yourself a massage, relieving muscle tension and working out any aches and pains without dropping $100 on a visit to the spa.
“I started training in massage when I was a teenager,” Miller says. “I was looking for ways to treat myself and eventually I found these gripping rubber balls that had such profound results on my own body that I started using them on clients and in my workshops,” Miller says. Those who rolled around on the balls before and after workouts became more coordinated: “Improved posture, physical movement, and incredible results in terms of performance,” are a few of the things Miller noticed. That they eradicated pain, she says, was just a happy byproduct.
This month, Equinox is launching their RX Series of classes, meant to “massage, mobilize, and maximize performance.” Miller’s Yoga Tune Up series is leading the way with a 30 minute class centered on the balls before or after (both, if Miller has her way) workouts to warm up your joints and improve your body’s movement. Sound awkward? It kind of is, but your body really does feel ten times looser by the time you’re done—and you don’t have to join Equinox to give it a shot. The Massage Therapy Full Body Kit ($45) comes with two balls and a DVD that shows you exactly you to use them. “They’ll find your body’s blind spot—areas of under-use over-use, misuse or abuse,” Miller says. Sample exercises include placing them between your lower back and a mat and rolling side to side, or positioning them underneath the side of whichever thigh is on the mat and scooting your entire body up and down. You’ll be concentrating so hard that you won’t even notice your core’s getting a workout, too.