Massage guns have vibrated their way onto the fitness scene, and they’re more popular than ever. Celebrities, professional athletes, influencers, and people of all athletic levels praise these massage tools. Whether you lift heavy or go for long runs, massage guns aim to improve overall performance and reduce muscle soreness, which aids recovery.
What Are Massage Guns?
They are vibrating, handheld massage toys that can pulverize your muscles in the best way possible. Technically speaking, they use percussive massage therapy as opposed to vibration therapy. When you turn one on, it percusses at a high frequency and low amplitude of movement. These actions help to knead muscles and reduce overall tension, which can impact flexibility. Several studies found that by reducing muscle tension, people experienced better blood flow and a reduction in overall stiffness.
Think of a massage gun as a mini jackhammer for your muscles. Percussive massage works to hammer out soft tissue to increase blood flow to the area of focus. Additionally, the gentle percussion can decrease the severity of adhesions (essentially scar-like tissue in the muscles) and help elongate muscle fibers. These massage guns are most effective in common areas where people experience regular pain, for example, the shoulders, neck, back, thighs, and glutes.
How Do They Differ From Foam Rollers?
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofacial release, which helps to relieve soreness, tightness, and inflammation. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Facia become tight or inflamed and the ability to move easily becomes hindered as a result. By engaging in regular foam rolling, you can help increase overall joint range of motion. Just like massage guns, foam rolling exercises aid with cool-down and recovery, but they’re also an effective warm-up tactic.
There is an advantage of massage guns when compared to foam rollers. A major advantage is that they are better at targeting specific areas of the body. It can be tricky to address certain body parts or muscles with a foam roller. Take the pectoral muscles or biceps, for instance. It’s much easier to target them with a massage gun, which can help promote relaxation in areas that commonly experience tightness.
Using A Massage Gun As A Warm-Up Tool
Some people like to jump rope or do jumping jacks for whole body warm-up. Many physical trainers prefer to use massage guns as warm-up tools. Many people only exercise a specific group of muscles when they workout. If this is the case, you can use a massage gun to target those specific muscles for about six to 10 minutes. The percussive nature preps the tissues for exercises, making them less prone to injury and damage.
Using A Massage Gun As A Cool-Down Tool
Exercising causes lactic acid to build-up in muscles, which is why you feel sore post-workout. Similar to foam rolling, using a handheld massage gun on sore muscles after exercising can accelerate recovery. Repeated percussive massage to the muscles helps to decrease the ability of muscle fibers to cling to lactic acid.
What Should You Look For In A Massage Gun?
There are so many reputable and affordable massage guns on the market nowadays. It used to be that the only ones you could get cost $500. Now, you can shop them on the Internet for $40 to $600. Ideally, purchase a massage gun that has multiple speeds and attachments. Different speeds can create a more diverse massage, while the various attachments can help you address specific areas of the body.
It’s also wise to look for a massage gun that is on the lighter side, preferably within the two- to four-pound range. Since you’ll be holding it for nearly 10 minutes, you don’t want something that weighs 10 pounds. Additionally, choose a massager that is relatively quiet, as some models sound like jigsaws. Consider a massage gun that has a brushless motor. Lastly, battery life is another factor to consider. Some massagers run for three hours, while others die after 80 minutes of use.
Massage guns are an excellent investment in your overall health, specifically when it comes to performance and recovery. You won’t regret buying one!