Intense workouts may be beneficial for our body and health. However, these can also result in muscle pain and tight spots. Percussive therapy can help avoid this. And you can even do it using a muscle massage gun. This device stimulates blood circulation and breaks up lactic acids to speed up muscle recovery. For optimum effects, here’s how you can get an effective massage and a relaxing experience in one!
1. Use the Muscle Massage Gun Properly
The best thing about a percussion massage gun is that you can use it on your own, at any time. There’s no need to see a physical therapist either. Also, you can do it without physical force or pressure – just let the handheld device work its magic! It is easy to use, too:
- Turn on the handheld massager, starting at the lowest speed setting. Make sure to keep it away from your body first to prevent jarring or bruising.
- Gently apply the massage head to the area you want to treat. Allow it to glide and float over the affected muscle. There’s no need for any downward pressure.
- Assess your tolerance level when increasing the intensity level. If you find a knot or tight muscle, let the massager linger on the spot for a few seconds.
- Keep breathing and stay calm and relaxed throughout your massage session!
2. Pick the Best Massage Head Attachment
Aside from using your muscle massage gun properly, choosing the ideal massage head attachment is another way to get the optimum treatment results. Most product models include six attachment heads, while others have more. Here’s what a basic set can do:
Bullet or Finger Head
- Delivers digging deep-tissue massages; best for muscle tightness removal
- Targets the quads, glutes, hand and feet muscles
- Provides all-around pain relief and muscle relaxation even at the highest setting; best for beginners and nearly any body part
- Targets the pecs, quads, back, iliotibial band, shoulder blades, thigh, chest
Ball Head (big and small)
- Versatile attachment for shallow massages on sensitive body areas; best for first-time users who prefer a light but powerful treatment
- Big round head targets the glutes, hamstrings, quads; the small round head targets the back of the neck, the bottom of the feet, inner and outer arms
- Specialised head for hard-to-reach muscle areas; best for reducing soreness of the Achilles
- Targets the spine, back of the neck, trapezius muscles, calf, ankle, feet
- Air-filled attachment for mild but excellent muscle tissue penetration; best for tender areas all over the body
- Targets the soft tissues and sensitive muscles
3. Know When to Use Your Muscle Massage Gun
Massages guns are best for injury prevention and recovery from physical activities, be it your exercise routine, sports training or desk work. They work best on the neck, shoulders, back, glutes, thighs, hips and calves. You should not use them on your head or face, though. Also, there are times when a percussion massager is not ideal.
For example, using it on broken bones, pulled muscles or ligament sprains is a big no-no. Massagers do not reduce inflammation due to tendonitis, bursitis, fasciitis or periostitis either. If you have a healed injury, make sure to ask your doctor first. The same goes for pregnant mums.
But if your condition is A-OK, here’s how a muscle massage gun can provide maximum relief.
Before Your Workout
Percussive massage is like a warm-up of sorts. It helps prepare your body for your upcoming activity. A massage gun can do this by waking up your muscles, boosting your heart rate and increasing your alertness through blood circulation.
With activated muscles, you get to move around more, perform exercises better and reduce muscle strain. So, it’s best to use the device for about 30 seconds on the muscle you intend to work out. Your product manual should have details on how to position it as well.
In Between Your Workout Session
A muscle massage gun can keep muscles active in the middle of your weightlifting training or workouts with defined rounds. In-between massages are excellent in preventing fatigue or spasm. These also give your body ample energy to do your next rep.
When you do this, make sure not to overdo it, though. Listen to your body, and use the massages on the affected spot for 15 to 30 seconds only.
After Your Workout
Exercises can lead to stretched and stiff muscles because of lactic acid build-up. A percussion massage gun can help lactic acid to flow out. This way, blood circulates more freely, and your muscles get to receive nutrients for a speedy recovery.
Did you know that there are other ways to relieve sore muscles? Check out this list of post-workout recovery tools.
To Relieve Stress and Promote Sleep
Sleep is a foolproof way to relieve muscle soreness. But using the massage gun before going to bed can help you rest better. That’s because the device can downregulate your nervous system, which reduces muscle tension and stress in the process. The Theragun PRO, for instance, even comes with an app to teach you how to use the device for sleep promotion.
4. Follow the Ideal Massage Time Limit
People often refer to massage guns as devices that provide good pain. Honestly, it’s unthinkable how delivering blows to an already sore spot can be relaxing. But that’s really how percussion therapy works, for a short while, that is. Doing it for extended periods can do more harm than good. And so, for best results, stick to these durations when using your muscle massage gun:
- Activate for 30 seconds. Use this time before your workout. Target the muscle groups you intend to exercise.
- Reactivate for 15 seconds. This time is ideal for mid-workout. It can recharge your muscles, so you can keep going.
- Recover for 2 minutes. When DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) begins to set in after your workout, use this time to knock out those tight muscles. You can continue using the massage gun throughout the day in 1 to 2-hour intervals. If you want, you can do vibrating foam roller exercises in between, too.
Wonders of Muscle Massage Guns
A calming massage experience is for everyone, be it for a fitness enthusiast, professional athlete or somewhere in between. And with a percussion massager at home, relief and relaxation are within arm’s reach. You can check on these reviews of massage guns in Australia if you plan to get one. It’s critical, however, to read the manual before using it. Also, if you’ve experienced an injury, getting your doctor’s advice is a must.