It’s All About Percussive Muscle Therapy
One of the latest discoveries in sports therapy, percussive muscle therapy works by applying rapid bursts of pressure to muscle tissue, whether in your quads, shoulders or back. This helps increase blood flow to the area, reducing soreness, tightness and pain. Massage guns have the ability to pound the area 22-40 times per second, making them your go-to for sports recovery and WFH-induced aches and pains.
Use One To Improve Flexibility
The repetitive vibrations of a massage gun will supercharge blood circulation, and better blood flow means faster travelling of oxygen and nutrients, enabling speedier recovery. If you are prone to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and stiffness after a session, a massage gun will improve your range of motion over time, which can also help reduce your risk of injury.
Consider The Amplitude
If you’re looking to invest, one of the key factors to consider is a massage gun’s amplitude, i.e. its power and how deep it can get into your muscles. For example, the Theragun PRO offers a 16mm amplitude – one of the best on the market – while the Addsfit Massage Gun goes just 6mm deep. A smaller amplitude doesn’t render a gun ineffective; it just means it may be better suited to WFH aches and pains than workout-weary joints.
Weight & Battery Life Matter
As a rule of thumb, the stronger a massage gun, the heavier it’ll be. The Theragun PRO, for example, is pretty weighty, making it tricky to reach your own shoulders, but you’ll reap the benefits in vibrational power. Also consider battery life – some of the best guns run for up to six hours on a single charge.
Consider Its Versatility
Most massage guns come with a variety of attachments that make it easier to target smaller muscles such as your glutes and upper back. The most common are fork attachments (for neck and spine), large ball attachments (legs and core), and bullet add-ons, which are ideal for deep tissue and joint therapy.
Learn The Technique
The gun will do most of the hard work for you, but it pays to know the proper technique. Hover the gun over the muscle area you want to target; move slowly up and down the length of the muscle for around 30 seconds. If you find a sore spot, avoid the temptation to dig into the muscle; instead hover solely on that spot until the tension dissipates. Make sure to avoid running the machine over bones and joints – and if it hurts, decrease the pressure. Theragun recommends using a massage gun for at least 15 seconds and up to a maximum of two minutes per muscle group, with a full-body session not exceeding 15 minutes.
Use It To Bookend Your Workout
As well as providing a physio-approved form of rehab, massage guns can be incorporated into your warm-up and cool-down. To prep muscles, float the gun up and down your muscles for 15-30 seconds, moving back and forth, for around five minutes. To cool down, increase that time to 90-120 seconds. You can even use it mid-workout to revive flagging muscles – a quick roll between sets can flush the area, increase blood flow and decrease muscle tension.
BEST FOR FITNESS JUNKIES: Theragun PRO, £549
A chiropractor-developed tool, the Theragun PRO is designed for professional-grade performance. No detail has been left uncovered: a rotating arm and ergonomic grip reduces strain on your wrists during use; it boasts an impressive five-hour battery life; and despite reaching 60% deeper into muscles than average massage guns, it’s one of the quietest on the market. It comes with six detachable heads, including a Supersoft head for more sensitive areas.
BEST TRAVEL-FRIENDLY OPTION: Theragun Mini, £179
Don’t be deceived by the size of Theragun’s smallest model – it’s pocked-sized but mighty. With a 150-minute battery life and three speed settings, it gets to work where it’s needed, and its small size makes it easier than other bulkier models to treat your own shoulders and more awkward angles. A sleek travel case means you can store it away tidily, while an array of attachments offer targeted treatment. It also uses Theragun’s QuietForce technology to keep gun noise to a minimum.
BEST FOR UNDER £100: Addsfit Massage Gun Mini, £67.99 (was £99.99)
If you’re looking to move up from your foam roller but aren’t prepared to fork out hundreds of pounds, this affordable option is one to try. Sleek and lightweight, it delivers nearly 30lbs of force to your muscles with an amplitude of 6mm, making it powerful but not quite as strong as more expensive models. A top choice for banishing niggles, it boasts three speed settings and comes with two massage heads for smaller muscle groups and sore spots. Equipped with an aerodynamic noise reduction shell, it’s one of the quieter options out there.
BEST FOR INTENSE WORKOUTS: Shavron Massage Gun, £199.99 (was £299.99)
Generating up to 53 percussions per minute – more than enough for deep muscle stimulation – Shavron’s device comes with a sweat-proof coating and anti-jolt grip, making it a good choice for your home gym. It offers five speed settings and four heads that sit neatly inside an accompanying case. The device also comes with a two-year warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee, but we don’t think you’ll need to use either.
BEST FOR VERSATILITY: Recovapro Massage Gun, £229 (was £359)
Unlike other massage devices, Recovapro’s tool has five intensity levels, meaning there’s something for every level of muscle soreness – from post-leg day burn to 10k-induced heaviness. According to Recovapro, its device enables muscles to contract 30 times more than they would do of their own accord, resulting in muscular and fascial lengthening and strengthening, i.e. improved muscle strength. Unlike other guns, it comes with a charging dock (not a lead), which will please those who prefer a cleaner aesthetic. It charges to 80% in just 40 minutes.
BEST FOR SILENT TECHNOLOGY: MuscleGun Carbon, £199.99 (was £230)
If you’ve used a massage gun, you’ll know they can be loud, pummelling muscles with ferocious whirring. MuscleGun’s Carbon model showcases state-of-the-art noise-reduction technology, meaning it operates in almost complete silence – ideal for busy households and keeping the neighbours happy. It delivers 3,200 strokes per minute, has an impressive five-hour battery life and is the go-to for top athletes including Alistair Brownlee and CrossFit champions.
BEST FOR SERIOUS RESULTS: TimTam Power Massager, $249.99
This is a powerful massage gun that claims to be as effective as a 30-minute massage in just five minutes, making it the machine of choice for hardcore fitness fans. Boasting high-velocity percussion therapy, it makes light work of knots, banishes lactic acid build-up to reduce pain, and repairs micro-tears in the muscles for less soreness and better sessions. Plus, it’s made with anti-bacterial plastic.
BEST FOR POWER: Hyperice Hypervolt Plus, £349
Designed by rocket engineers (yes, really), this top-spec machine won’t disappoint. Seriously strong, aesthetically pleasing and unbelievably quiet, it’s one of the most powerful percussion devices on the market. Its USP is a built-in pressure sensor that offers visual feedback as you use it, enabling you to know how much pressure to apply and where. This provides unparalleled accuracy, better results and, since you’re using the machine more effectively, shorter massage times. The Hyperice website also offers a number of tutorials, which we highly recommend.
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