LEP Fitness


Using handheld massage guns to speed up post-workout recovery

Using handheld massage guns to speed up post-workout recovery

We cannot stress enough how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Think about the physical benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, aiding in weight loss, and being less prone to diseases. Mental health gets a boost as you release negative thoughts when the mind releases the happiness hormone.

Your muscles may feel rigid and stiff when engaging in regular exercises. What should be your next cause of action when you feel that your muscles cannot take it anymore? You need to give these muscles enough time to relax and recover, and that is where a massage gun comes in handy.

How massage guns work

Traditionally, massage therapists would expose the target muscles with light strikes either from the wrists or hands. Massage guns provide vibration or percussive therapy. The head of the massage gun oscillates back and forth, which provides a rippling effect. 

The target muscles will thus be exposed to rapid bursts of pressure. The beauty of a massage gun is that it allows you to enjoy the same relaxing effect at the comfort of your home. You can target the specific problem area when using a hand-held massage gun, unlike other massaging tools.

Benefits of using a massage gun…

#1 Perfect for muscle warm-up

If you are just about to engage in a serious workout session, then a massager can help your muscles get ready. You just need to work on muscles such as those on the calf or thigh region for about six to ten minutes. Prepping the tissue makes you lesser susceptible to injuries. It is the best approach if your workout targets a certain group of muscles.

#2 Helps in muscle cool-down

If you feel pain after workouts, then it is as a result of lactic acid build-up. Muscle soreness makes it hard to tackle your daily activities. A massage gun helps relax the muscles and flush out the lactic acid from the affected muscles. The handheld massager delays muscle soreness as it makes it hard for muscle fibers to hold on to lactic acid.

#3 You do not need to visit a sports massage therapist

When most people come across the word massage, all they can think about is a clinic with a sports massage therapist that will work on their pressure areas. You do not have to visit a SMT or even hire someone when you own a massage gun.

#4 Deal with inflammation

The massage gun is very effective when you want to reduce inflammation as it flushes out extracellular fluids such as venous blood and lymph fluid out of the muscle tissue and takes such fluids to the circulatory system. 

Some of the other benefits of massage guns include releasing tension, minimizing muscle soreness, breaking up scar tissue, and relaxing tight muscles. The Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research conducted a study that found that percussive therapy carries the same benefits as massage in preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is very common in athletes.

What to look for in a handheld massage gun…

There are hundreds of massage guns out there, and you may be spoilt for choice. Follow these tips to land at one that suits your needs:

  • Weight – The ideal massage gun should be light since you will be holding it using one hand. You can hold this gun for up to 10 minutes as you work on a muscle or a group of them. A massager in the range of 2-4 pounds is a good choice.
  • Battery – The ideal massager is one that does not drain the battery fast. Having to recharge the massage gun in the middle of your sessions is undesirable. There are some that can run up to three hours while others can last for one and half hours. There are some that can come with replaceable rechargeable batteries but they are somehow expensive.
  • Speed – The ideal tool is one with multiple speeds, as it makes it easy to set one that suits your needs. There are days that you need smooth vibrations while on other days you want to something fast.

When should you stop?

Does more always mean better? That might be a question running through your mind right now. The massage gun is not supposed to cause pain. Your muscles will not relax if the entire massage session is painful. If your skin or the target tissue is getting red real quick, then it is time that you stop. The reddish color is an indication that there is a lot of blood flow in the target area.

The good news is that you can move the massage gun to another body part and still enjoy its soothing properties. You are at a risk of bruising your skin when you keep the massage gun at one spot for too long as the skin gets tender and sore. Don’t keep the massage gun in one static position but move it around in a circular motion around the affected area.

Areas that aren’t fit for a massage gun

Any area with a scab should be a no-go zone for a massage gun. Other areas to avoid are those with wounds, recent bone fracture, and cancerous lesions. If you have a body part with impaired sensation, then a massage gun should never contact it.

If you have diabetes, you are also at risk of suffering from peripheral neuropathy, which is not a good combination with massage gun therapy. Having neuropathy means that you may never feel when you are hurting yourself with the massage gun. 

Using the massage gun on your neck is also unadvisable as you are at a risk of suffering from carotid dissection, which is a tear of the carotid artery. The dissection may affect the flow of blood to your brain which may end causing a stroke. Avoid using a massage gun when using prescription blood thinners. 

Thanks for reading,

Nick Screeton - LEP Fitness

Nick Screeton – LEP Fitness