There are three essential parts to any good workout. The first is your preparation to prime your body to perform the best that it can. Preparation includes the food you eat and the warm-ups you do. The second is the workout itself, where you push yourself to the limits of what you’ve done before.
The third essential component of any good exercise is your workout recovery. The sore muscles that come from DOMS have put many athletes temporarily out of commission. Sometimes simply resting or alternating your muscle usage helps. Other times, flexibility movements and massage therapy may be needed.
Not everyone has the time or need to regularly visit a massage therapist. With a massage gun, you can easily perform at-home recovery yourself. Combined with a diet high in protein, a massage gun can boost your recovery process.
The modern man uses every technique and technology at his disposal to improve his life. With this guide, Olivers will be showcasing how to use your massage gun and the types of massage available.
What Does a Massage Gun Do?
Before we get into actually using your massage gun, we will get into the science backing it.
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, could be caused by any strenuous activity. It’s caused by the healing of microscopic tears when working out, causing soreness and inflammation.
Contrary to previous beliefs, lactic acid buildup, which occurs during workouts, does not lead to DOMS. Both of these can still cause discomfort before and after a workout.
Massage guns help with muscle recovery by providing percussive therapy to targeted muscles. These handheld devices resemble a drill but feature a soft “head” similar to foam rollers. They often come with various vibration settings to suit personal needs and comfort levels. They can also be used in tandem with stretches to help test your body’s range of motion.
Massage guns work by giving a percussive massage to the soft tissues, stimulating blood flow. Adequate blood flow is essential to all forms of healing. Since they increase blood flow in targeted areas of the body, you can focus on your muscle groups in need.
More research still needs to be done on massage guns and how they relate to recovery. Currently, the concepts behind them have mostly been linked to muscle recovery, including massage therapy and vibration therapy.
A physical therapist may use one or both of these to solve issues relating to muscle tissue. Additionally, muscle tissue isn’t the only body part that benefits from massage. A good massage can stimulate and improve connective tissue, improving function and reducing injury risk.
The reasons to use a massage gun are manifold. Knowing how to use your massage gun is essential to proper recovery.
When and Where To Use Your Massage Gun
The immediate reason people look towards massages is for pain relief or to restore their range of motion. It can also alleviate muscle tension and make sprains easier to deal with. Tight muscles don’t just cause discomfort; They can also increase your long-term risk of injury.
You don’t have to be in pain or discomfort to use your massage gun. You can use one to loosen target areas as a warm-up or to help cool down in your post-workout routine.
Most massage guns have a range of settings, which can either be manually adjusted or adjusted using a trigger. They provide a massage to any area that may need help. Under the highest settings, it may even have the strength of a deep tissue massage. If you are using it to alleviate discomfort, you should begin by lightly using it to push on your trigger points.
It’s likely that you’ll feel some sort of pain during this time. You can distinguish between good pain and bad pain as you do while exercising. You shouldn’t feel unpleasant pain during the massage. If this occurs, either lessen the intensity of the gun, stop temporarily, or consider seeing a professional therapist.
If the massage is done properly, you might feel a small degree of discomfort. Focus on one area at a time: your quads, hamstrings, and lower back. Be more delicate with bony areas of your body than those with more protective muscle and fats.
Massage guns, properly used, can be a great way to enhance your recovery. You can also use them to provide a massage even when you aren’t feeling the negative effects of a workout.
What To Look For in a Massage Gun
Athletes are competitive, and so are manufacturers of athletic technology and equipment. The best massage guns have different features and price points, resulting in a varied field. Two of the biggest percussive massage gun competitors, and the ones we’ll be examining, are Theragun and Hypervolt.
Each brand features multiple guns in miniature, standard, and deluxe models. Hypervolt massagers presently run from 150 to 349 dollars. Theragun has a higher entry-level price and a significantly higher ceiling, with massage guns ranging from 199-599 dollars. From a budgetary perspective, at least, Hypervolt wins out.
Many massage guns provide a variety of PPM, or percussions per minute, for a customizable experience. In this regard, Hypervolt also wins out.
All Hypervolt devices offer a maximum of 3,200 PPM, whereas Theragun caps out at 2400 PPM. This allows for greater intensity, but this level of percussive massage treatment may be unnecessary for most.
Available Massage Head Types
Each model comes with various heads, though notably, Theragun has more heads and accessories available. Hypervolt only recently introduced a charging stand, whereas Theragun has had one available for a long time.
Only Theragun comes with a carrying case that can fit both accessories and the gun itself. The Hypervolt gun carrying case has to be purchased separately.
Theragun and Hypervolt use BlueTooth so that you can personalize the activation speed your gun moves at. Notably, the Theragun Mini, their entry model, lacks Bluetooth.
Appearance, Warranty, and Battery Life
When it comes to design, Theragun is the more aesthetically appealing and ergonomically satisfying to use. Theragun also comes with a two-year warranty and longer battery life.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly model, consider an entry-level Hypervolt. If you are willing to splurge for a luxurious massage gun, choose a Theragun that matches your budget.
Considerations When Using Your Massage Gun
Using a massage gun comes with massive benefits, but it also comes with some serious risks that merit consideration. This helpful tool is still a net positive, but improper use can cause damage.
Earlier, we stated that you should be delicate with bony areas. We cannot emphasize this enough. The rigor of percussive therapy should not be applied to your ribs or spine.
You should also be cautious about your kidneys, which are close to the surface of your middle back. These organs aren’t meant for such sustained force. Similarly, your biceps tendon, a common pain point, is too delicate for intense massage guns. While they aren’t as serious a risk as other parts, too intense a massage can easily aggravate issues.
The amplitude of percussive massage therapy is also no substitute for myofascial release therapy. This type of therapy targets the fascia, which holds your muscles, skin, and other tissues in place.
The most common and accessible form of myofascial release is performed with foam rolling exercises. The delicate nature makes it hard to overdo, unlike the potential damage from a massage gun.
Integrating percussive massages for the muscles and myofascial massage for connective tissue can have incredible benefits. Doing so safely, however, requires a bit more finesse.
The rule of thumb is to always err on the side of not doing enough rather than doing too much. This holds true both for exercise and for your recovery methods.
Other Ways To Improve Your Recovery
It used to be that to get an effective massage, you needed another person to perform it. Sometimes it would work, but some people may end up frustrated that they didn’t receive the massage intensity they were looking for.
With a massage gun, the practical benefits and pleasant sensation of a massage are within anyone’s reach.
A massage gun isn’t an end in itself. It’s built to help support your workouts, physical health, and everything else you do. The modern man uses every new evolution in information and process to make informed decisions for his own betterment. This includes better, delicious diets and better, technically designed, radiantly comfortable clothing.
And, of course, it also includes your new massage gun.
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