The peanut massage ball, otherwise known as a double lacrosse ball, is an often overlooked myofascial release tool.
Most people believe that a foam roller and a massage ball are the only tools that you’ll ever need, however, be wary about overlooking the benefits that a peanut massage ball can provide.
Used properly, a peanut massage ball can relieve tension down the back and increase thoracic mobility.
In addition, its unique shape makes it effective in relieving neck tension and headaches.
These traits alone should convince you that a peanut massage ball is an essential tool for anyone who wants to perform trigger point massage and myofascial release at home.
In this post, we’ll explain what a peanut massage ball is and how it differs from other types of massage balls.
We’ll also give you our recommendations for the best peanut massage balls currently on the market.
What’s So Special about a Peanut Massage Ball?
Numerous studies (1,2,3) have confirmed the benefits of using foam rollers and lacrosse balls to perform myofascial release – a hands-on technique that breaks up constricted areas of soft tissue known as trigger points.
According to one study, which was published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, using a foam roller or roller massager after a workout not only helps speed muscle recovery, but it may also improve muscle performance.
A peanut massage ball combines the benefits of foam rolling with the targeted pressure of a lacrosse ball.
As its name suggests, this type of massage ball is peanut shaped, with two spheres that are designed to cradle the spine while relieving tension in the surrounding muscles.
Its special shape gives it many benefits over using a traditional massage ball in the following areas.
1. Increase Thoracic Mobility and Fix Hunch Back
If you’ve ever tried to massage your back or the muscles that run along your spine, you’ll know that a foam roller is ineffective as it’s too big, and a massage ball can be hard to control to keep it in the right place on your back.
With a peanut massage ball, its shape leaves space for your spine whilst massaging the muscles that run down either side (erector spinae) of your spine.
This makes it much more effective than any other tool.
Because these muscles can get particularly tight it can reduce mobility in the upper back and contribute to rounding of the upper back.
Using a peanut massage ball should help counter these issues and help restore thoracic mobility.
2. Discover New Trigger Points
The peanut massage ball can be used in the same areas as a traditional massage ball can, however, the differences in results can be quite different given its shape.
The ball’s unique shape also helps you target areas of the body that would be difficult to treat with a foam roller – such as the forearms, shoulders, triceps, and feet.
If you’ve been using a traditional massage ball to massage your body experiment by using a peanut massage ball instead.
You’ll notice you may find new tender spots particularly when you try using it on your quads and calves.
The fact that the peanut massage ball will not roll around as much as a traditional massage ball also gives you more control.
3. Headache and Neck Tension Relief
The peanut massage ball is also great at relieving neck tension and headaches as its shape fits perfectly on either side of the neck allowing you to place even pressure on both sides of your head and neck.
Not only does tightness in these muscles cause headaches, but it can also lead to forward head posture.
If you suffer from this type of posture, running a peanut massage ball down the back of your neck may help with loosening these tight muscles.
What to Look for When Buying a Peanut Massage Ball
Peanut massage balls come in a wide variety of textures, sizes, and firmness levels.
The right ball for you will depend on a number of factors, including your pain tolerance, budget, and the parts of the body you want to treat.
Below are a few important things to consider when choosing a peanut massage ball.
Peanut massage balls are available in a range of densities from soft to extra firm.
In general, softer densities are ideal for treating sensitive areas of the body like the neck, while firm massage balls are more effective in pinpointing trigger points in large muscle groups like the back and legs.
Softer balls are also better for people who are new to myofascial release.
Massage balls need to withstand a great deal of pressure in order to be effective in releasing deep muscle knots, so it’s important to choose one made from a durable material that won’t crack or deteriorate with regular use.
Generally, massage balls made from firm materials like solid rubber are more durable than those made from more flexible materials like EVA foam.
Ease of cleaning
Some massage balls have textured surfaces that can be difficult to clean.
If you’re looking for a massage ball that requires minimal maintenance, purchase a ball with a smooth surface.
A generous warranty period is a good indication that a company stands behind their product.
When shopping for a massage ball, consider the ones that are backed by a warranty over those that are not.
As these types of balls gain popularity they are now coming with more and more features the latest being vibration technology.
If you want something a little extra you can purchase a ball that can also vibrate to increase its intensity and effectiveness.
Although vibration is a great feature to have it does add to the cost of the ball.
The Best Peanut Massage Rollers and Balls
Now that you understand what features you should be looking for in a peanut massage ball, let’s take a look at some of the best balls on the market.
We’ve based these selections on durability, price, ease of use, and overall customer satisfaction.
The 5BILLION Peanut Massage Ball is a standard peanut massage ball measuring 5 inches in length and 2.5 inches in diameter.
It is made from 100 per cent natural rubber and has a smooth surface.
Most peanut balls on the market will be very similar to this model except with different branding, but generally, they are all the same.
Using the 5Billion Peanut Massage Ball is easy; simply lay on the ball or place it against a wall, and start rolling to relieve muscular tension in your back, neck, shoulders, and other areas of the body.
This inexpensive massage ball comes with its own carry case, allowing you to benefit from a deep tissue massage at the office, at the gym, on the road, and wherever else you go.
Some customers have reported that the ball is too firm, though, so consider your tolerance for pain before purchasing one.
- Classic design
- Can be used on all muscle groups
- Carry bag included
- Backed by 100 per cent money-back guarantee
- May be too firm for some
The TriggerPoint MB2 Double Massage Ball Roller is specially designed to target the stabilizing muscles of the back and neck without applying excess pressure on the spine and vertebrae.
What makes the TriggerPoint MB2 Double Massage Ball Roller truly unique, though, is that its length can be adjusted for use on different parts of the body.
Weighing just 0.24 pounds, the TriggerPoint MB2 Double Massage Ball Roller makes it the perfect travel companion for anyone who wants to benefit from myofascial release on the go.
The MB2 Double Massage Ball Roller is constructed from layered EVA foam, which provides optimal compression to ensure a safe and effective self-massage.
One downside to EVA foam, however, is that it tends to deteriorate faster than solid rubber.
Another minor complaint from customers is that the TriggerPoint MB2 Double Massage Ball Roller is too small to effectively target larger areas of the body, such as the back.
Overall, though, this ball is ideal for those who want to target hard-to-reach areas of the body, such as the calves, glutes, pectorals, and shoulders.
- Adjustable width
- Made from EVA foam, water resistant
- Easy to clean
- Not as durable as other massage balls
- May be too small for some
The InfinityBall 4-Speed Vibrating Massage Ball features two vibrating spheres that deliver deep, kneading pressure to tight muscles in the neck, back, legs, and other problem areas.
It has four vibration settings – low, medium, high, and pulse – that are controlled with a single button located on one end of the unit.
Its cordless design adds to the InfinityBall’s portability, while its long 2-hour battery life ensures enough power for several treatment sessions before the ball needs recharging.
This ball provides a targeted deep tissue massage that may be too intense for some, even at its lowest vibration setting.
If you have a low tolerance for pain or new to myofascial release, this may not be the right ball for you.
That said the InfinityBall is backed by a 1-year money-back guarantee, which allows you to essentially try the ball risk-free before committing to purchasing it.
- Single-button operation
- Four vibrating speeds
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- May be too intense for some
The peanut massage ball by Rolling With It is similar to the InfinityBall in design, but it has a few other handy features that the InfinityBall doesn’t – such as an auto shut-off feature.
It is also waterproof and has a longer battery life than the InfinityBall (2.5 versus 2 hours).
Housed within the Rolling With It Professional Vibrating Peanut Massager is a professional grade four-speed motor that mimics the deep pressure of a massage therapists fingers.
This compact device can be used on both small and large areas of the body.
We love the portability of this unit; the ball is even TSA-approved, so it can be tossed into a carry-on bag for those long-haul flights.
This ball is one of the more expensive ones on our list which may be a drawback for those on a tight budget. Others may find the outer shell of the ball too hard.
The Rolling With It Professional Vibrating Peanut Massager is backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, though, so you can test it out for a while and see if it works for you.
- Auto Shut-off feature
- Backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee
- Some may find outer shell too hard
The RAD Roller is designed to relieve muscle tension, increase range of motion, and achieve myofascial release in the neck, upper back, and feet.
It can also be used with the RAD Block (sold separately) to massage the calves, glutes, hamstrings, pectorals, and triceps.
The ball is made of high-quality silicone that grips the skin and provides greater control so you can apply targeted pressure to the affected areas.
The RAD Roller comes in three densities: soft, medium, and stiff.
Measuring just 4.9 inches long and weighing a little over half of a pound, the RAD Roller is perfect for travel.
Although the RAD Roller is said to be effective on all muscle groups, a few customers have reported that it is not ideal for use on the lower back.
Otherwise, the RAD Roller is an excellent tool for performing self-myofascial release on difficult-to-treat muscles such as those in the shoulders, neck and the base of the skull.
- Made from high-quality silicone
- Available in three densities
- Can be used on the entire body
- Not ideal for use on lower back
The Soft and Hard Double Lacrosse Ball Set is a pack of two peanut massage balls that offer two levels of firmness.
The red ball is medium-firm and is ideal for use on delicate areas of the body, such as the neck, while the black ball is firm enough to unlock tight muscles in the back, legs, hamstrings, and glutes.
The Soft and Hard Double Lacrosse Ball Set is made from a durable thermoplastic rubber that has no smell and doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as other materials.
Despite the name, though, these massage balls are not as solid as lacrosse balls.
Depending on the area of the body you’re treating, you may find that these balls don’t provide enough pressure to achieve myofascial release.
- Comes in a set of two
- Made from 100 per cent thermoplastic rubber
- May not be firm enough for some
4KOR Fitness Massage Balls provide you with everything you need to perform myofascial release on virtually every part of the body.
The set includes a smooth textured peanut massage ball, a spiked massage ball, and a massage ball with a grooved surface that helps you target and release trigger points deep within the fascia.
The peanut massage ball is designed to wrap around the spine in order to apply pressure to the stabilizing muscles without placing undue pressure on the vertebrae.
What we would have liked to see with the 4KOR Fitness Massage Balls is a wider range of densities.
They are very firm and may cause pain when used on sensitive areas of the body.
Despite this minor complaint, this ball set is a great choice for anyone who wants to invest in a complete set of massage balls without spending a lot of money.
- Made from durable thermoplastic rubber
- Set includes three different ball shapes
- Backed by lifetime satisfaction guarantee
- Only available in one density
Best Peanut Massage Ball: Recommendations
If you’ve never used a peanut massage ball before then go for the standard peanut massage ball as it’s durable, firm and effective.
In addition, its low price makes it the perfect model to experiment with.
As you begin to love your peanut massage ball and get used to it, you can then move onto the vibrating models to take it to the next level.
For those who want something that vibrates, the Rolling With It Peanut massage ball is a worthy choice.
It has many fancy features that add to its quality and even better yet is the incredible lifetime guarantee that comes with the product.
If you do not like the product at any time while you own it, you are entitled to a full refund.
This makes it a perfect option if you want to try out a vibrating peanut massage ball but are hesitant about which one to get.
When choosing between a double lacrosse ball with vibration and a non-vibrating ball, note that the vibrating ones are quite a bit larger than non-vibrating options as they need to house the mechanism that causes them to vibrate.
Tips and Warnings for First-Time Users
Using a massage ball for self-myofascial release is generally considered to be safe, but care needs to be taken when massaging vulnerable parts of the body, such as the neck and around the spine.
Below are a few tips for using a massage ball safely and effectively.
- Go slow. Massaging too quickly increases friction and may irritate your muscles further.
- Expect pain at first. Most users will undergo a short transition period during which time some pain may be felt when applying pressure to affected areas. Gently ease into the pain.
- Stop if you feel sharp pain. While some pain and discomfort is to be expected, sharp pains are an indication that you’re pressing too hard. If you feel any sharp pains while massaging, stop and adjust the pressure.
- Start with a soft ball. Work your way up to firmer densities as your muscles become accustomed to the pressure.
- Don’t massage for too long. Aim to massage each trigger point or muscle for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
- When massaging around the spine be extra gentle and don’t press too hard. As time goes on your tolerance will go up.
Keep in mind that these tips are not intended to replace professional medical advice.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain due to muscle tightness, it’s a good idea to consult with a physician to rule out an underlying condition.
A Worthy Addition to Your Myofascial Release Toolkit
If you frequently perform myofascial release and have a foam roller and a traditional massage ball already, then without a doubt you should add a peanut massage ball to your myofascial release toolkit.
Not only will you find new areas of relief that neither a foam roller nor a traditional massage ball could hit, but you can also try it out for a low price.
A standard peanut massage ball is not expensive.
Whether you’re a yoga enthusiast, personal trainer, or professional athlete, performing self-myofascial release with a peanut massage ball can also help you recover faster and perform better.
Consider adding one of the peanut massage balls we’ve reviewed in this post to your collection of self-massage tools.
You won’t regret it!