Percussive Massage Guns: What, Why & How to Use to Improve Fitness

12/02/2020

Percussive massage guns? They may sound scary but these handheld tools are like carrying around a portable deep-tissue massage therapist to help alleviate those aching post-workout muscles and joints.  

Working out like a beast in the gym has so many benefits including feeling stronger and getting fitter. 

But along with gains can be the pain of muscle and joint inflammation. 

There are many ways to manage the post-training pain of hard worked muscles including Stretching and Heat & Cold Muscle Recovery Techniques.

Another often overlooked way to overcome pain, help muscles to heal, aid recovery and boost mobility is through massage.  

What is Percussive Massage? 

Percussive massage, also known as percussion therapy, is a techniquet hat involves a form of rapid, even-sequence movements made over a specific area of the body, for example a knot in the shoulder, for a short burst of time. 

This type of vibration massage is especially effective for training athletes including CrossFit athletes as it relaxes tense muscles, allowing improved muscle strength and overall muscular ability and mobility. 

What is a Percussive Massage Gun or Percussion Massager? 

A percussive massage gun is simply a handheld device that anyone can use themselves to deliver this highly effective deep-tissue massage technique. 

The guns apply pulses of concentrated pressure deep into muscle tissue, not just the surface, in turn working out knots and muscle tension. 

The vibrational pulses created by the guns into the deep muscle tissue simulate the measured tapping technique a massage therapist would apply using their hands. 

Benefits of Percussive Massage Guns? 

– Improved blood flow 

– Mobility enhancement especially of upper thoracic region 

– Muscle flexibility 

– Targeted pain management 

– Alleviate soft tissue pain especially in upper body 

– Prevent DOMS by releasing lactic acid 

– Aid post-workout muscle recovery and growth 

– Shorten recovery time

– Gain strength by improving the way muscles respond to resistance training  

– Enhance muscle activation and contractions

Benefits of using a percussive massage gun to self-administer deep-tissue massage include improved blood flow and almost instant mobility enhancement to a targeted area.  

Post-training recovery can become quicker, muscles aches can be eased and all those tight pain areas can become softened when using the rapid pulse massagers correctly. 

Another benefit is helping to heal extreme pain areas that may be too sensitive to work on directly, as the percussive massage guns allow athletes to manipulate the surrounding muscle tissue and free-up the tight spot without direct contact. 

Percussive massage guns can also help prevent the dreaded DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness), allowing users to train harder and more often with rest time abbreviated by releasing lactic acid. 

Cons of Percussive Massage Guns? 

– Too high pressure on the wrong area can increase pain 

– Not using the device correctly can worsen existing issues / injuries  

– Danger of applying the vibrational massage technique on non-muscular related injuries 

– Risk of over stretching or straining tight muscles 

– Using the device on parts of the body not intended for this type of manual therapy (e.g. scapula bones or cervical areas on the neck) 

One of the big push points around percussive massage guns is their ability to administer the stimulatory massage technique using very high pressure, up to 50psi. 

The problem here is that pressure is just one factor to consider when applying any form of manual therapy; the higher the pressure does not in turn mean a more effective massage.  

To enjoy the potential benefits of the percussive massage gun, users have to apply the pressure in the right place at the right time. 

This means directing the vibrational pulses in the right muscle fibre alignment. When groups of muscle fibres are shortened and tight from working out or injury, releasing them has to be done with control and in a specific direction. 

If not, users can actually cause more damage by over stretching or straining the already tight muscle tissue. 

There is also the possibility of athletes using the guns to try and fix pain that is actually being caused by something more serious than simple post-training tightness. 

It is always important to listen to our bodies and to not try to “push through” serious pain. 

Learning what parts of the body to use the percussion massagers on is also key as injury can be caused if the guns are used on non-dense areas including bones or other non-fleshy muscular areas. 

Best Percussive Massage Guns? 

When deciding on what percussive massage gun to use key things to consider include:

– How much power / psi 

– Battery life

– Max RPM 

– Number of speed settings 

– Adjustable arms 

– Additional attachments 

– Weight of device

– Noise level

– Price  

Taking all of the above into consideration, some of the leading brands of percussive massage guns on the market include the Theragun, Hypervolt and Achedaway. 

How to use the Theragun to Massage Body Parts

When it comes to power, the Theragun cannot be surpassed plus it has an adjustable arm so users can reach tight spots in the back that other guns cannot get to. It is lightweight allowing for a longer massage and has a number of different attachments designed for varying places on the body.  

For users wanting a fast and near-silent device with adjustability, the Hypervolt is ideal. It has multiple speed settings and attachments, is much quieter than many other brands and features an ergonomic design plus incredible three-hour battery life. 

Another gun boasting a three-hour plus battery life, the Achedaway also has five levels of speed and runs very quietly despite packing plenty of power. Aesthetically pleasing, this machine is really easy to use and has heaps of customisation options plus is a cheaper option than some of the other major players. 

The team at Electric Fitness may be against fad diets and 8 week workout programs, but what we are committed to is providing members with information on truly worthwhile products that can improve training performance and general wellbeing.

So long as they are used correctly and in combination with other traditional recovery techniques, percussive massage guns definitely fall into this category! 

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