Tip: Do the Med Ball Tack & Floss

Shoulders feeling stiff and cranky? Ditch the foam roller, grab a med ball, and do these drills.

Med balls can be great tools for self-myofascial release. Due to their shape, they're often better than foam rollers. Balls can really get into the nooks and crannies. Many med balls are harder too, with a tackier surface which increases friction and makes it easier to maintain contact.

How to Do the Tack & Floss

To use the tack and floss method with a med ball, find a knot or sore spot. Pin the sore spot down and actively go through a full and varied range of motion. This is a great way to knead the tissue from the point of pressure outward, tenderizing the tense tissue and gradually decreasing the layer of adhesions and dysfunction that have built up. It'll also re-mobilize ground substances, help the fascial layers to glide smoothly on top of one another, and mobilize any scars.

Perform the tack and floss with two movements and two progressions using the wall and then the floor. For the wall, place a small or medium-sized med ball between the wall and the area under your collarbone – in and around the pec and anterior deltoid – and lean against it. To get the pec minor, get your feet back and really lean in. Maintain a rigid anterior core and a slight posterior pelvic tilt to protect your posture.

Tack and Floss, Anterior 1

Get your arm into a position of full internal rotation – back of the hand placed at the top of the butt or as close to it as you can get – and slowly rotate it counter-clockwise all the way up overhead and then back to the starting position.

Be sure to also rotate the hand and wrist to access and release the maximum amount of fibers in the shoulder girdle. You can also raise your upper arm to shoulder height and flex the elbow to 90-degrees and go through an internal/external rotation pattern.

Tack and Floss, Anterior 2

The more you perform this, the better your tissue quality will become and the more pressure you'll be able to apply against the ball. Eventually you'll be able to move to the final progression, which is on the floor.

Tack and Floss, Anterior 3

This final position will provide a much fuller release of the shoulder girdle by adding in a sideways rotation to include the release of the superior attachment of the lats, the teres major and minor, the infraspinatus, and the long head of the triceps.

Perform the same movements on the posterior (back) region of the shoulder girdle. The floor works best here.

Tack and Floss, Posterior 1

Tack and Floss, Posterior 2

Alexander Nurse Bey is a Sports Performance coach and the co-owner of AXIS Performance + Training located in Scarborough, Ontario. He continues to share his systems for encouraging athlete vigor and high performance as a speaker and writer. You can contact Alex on his website at beyperformance.com.