Do It Yourself Massage 2
Step Two: The Program
Biceps (the muscles in the front of your upper arms)
Pushed yourself a little too hard in the gym? To give yourself a shot in the arm, start by using your left hand to grab your right arm just above the elbow so that your thumb points up toward your right shoulder. Your fingers should wrap around the outside of your arm. With your right arm down at your side, gently press your thumb into the biceps muscle and stroke upward toward your shoulder. Repeat several times.
Next, reach your hand under your arm and place your thumb at the top of the biceps muscle below the shoulder. Your fingers should rest lightly underneath your arm. Press down gently with your thumb and move it from side to side across the tendon. Repeat several times, then switch to work your left arm. Pay extra attention to your dominant arm (the one you throw with).
Triceps (the muscles at the back of your upper arms)
This massage will help your muscles recover after any activity in which you throw, hit, serve or pass (say, tennis or volleyball). Bend your right arm at a 90-degree angle and rest your right hand on your stomach. Cross your left arm in front of you and cup your left hand over the back of your right arm, just below your shoulder. Press your left hand into your triceps muscle and slowly move it down your arm toward your right elbow.
Straighten your right arm as you go. (The area just above your elbow can be tender, so go slow.) Your left hand should end up cupping your right elbow, with your right arm straight down at your side. Bend your right arm back into a 90-degree position and repeat three times, then switch sides and work your left arm.
Sports that require you to push off with your arms, such as cross-country skiing, can make your upper back so stiff a straitjacket would feel more comfortable. To loosen up those muscles, lift your right arm, pointing your elbow upward. Drop your right hand behind your head.
Squeeze the three middle fingers of your left hand together, then begin to press your fingertips against the right side of your upper back, directly below the armpit (as shown). Continue stroking along your right side, moving downward toward your waist. Once you reach your waist, lift your hand and place it at a different location below your armpit. You can also press across your back muscles, starting from your side and moving toward the center of your back using short strokes. Switch hands and work your left side.
Quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your thighs)
To limber up these big muscles, squeeze the three middle fingers of your right hand together and press them into the top of your right thigh. Place your left hand over your right to help you apply more pressure. Slide your hands down your thigh until they end up just above your kneecap. Continue sliding from upper thigh to knee, each time starting from a slightly different location on the thigh to completely loosen the muscles. Next, grab your right thigh with your thumbs together and the fingers of both hands wrapped around your leg. Press into the leg, moving your thumbs in a circular motion as you slide your hands toward your knee. Repeat.
Activities that twist the body at the waist (playing golf or racquetball, picking up your little tyke) can really wring out your lower back. But let’s face it, once you’re north of 30, this area can always benefit from a little loosening, even if you aren’t a workout warrior. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Stick a tennis ball directly under your lower back and place as much of your body weight as you can on the ball (as shown). Hold for a few seconds, then lift yourself and readjust the position of the ball. Continue to lift and lower yourself onto the ball, applying pressure to all areas of your lower back.