How to use a massage gun

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A massage gun is a great addition to your workout routine, but it’s worth some reading before diving straight in to get the best performance.

If you’re unfamiliar with massage guns (also known as percussive massagers), they are hand-held tools similar in size and shape to electric power drills. Don’t let that put you off, though—they’re completely safe to use, and provide a soft tissue massage that’s as gentle or firm as you like.


The flutter action breaks down adhesions, encourages blood flow, and helps clear the lactic acid that builds up during workouts.

When you buy a massage gun, you’ll usually find that it comes with a variety of interchangeable massage heads designed for different muscle groups. These either turn or are pushed into the socket at one end, and are driven by a motor inside the handle, which causes them to pulse up and down.

Consumer massage guns run from a rechargeable battery that typically gives between one and two hours of operation on a full charge. They come in many sizes, but if you want one that’s convenient to carry to the gym, sports club, and office, we recommend looking for a smaller model like the Power Plate Mini+ or the Rainfo R3 Mini Massage Gun.

Interested in investing in a massage gun? We’ve rounded up the best prices on a wide variety of equipment here:

safety first

First, a word on safety. Be careful to use your massage gun only on muscles – never bony areas or joints. Don’t even use it on injuries — a little sore muscle after a tough exercise session is fine, but not a strain or sprain. Do not use it on broken skin as well.

To avoid injury, don’t hold the massage gun in one place for more than a few seconds, and if it feels uncomfortable, stop immediately. Using the device should never be painful, and there’s no need to use the highest settings if you find them too high.

If you have a health condition like arthritis, osteoporosis, or fibromyalgia, make sure you talk to your doctor before using a massage gun or starting a new fitness routine.

when to use it

The most obvious time to use your massage gun is after a workout, but it’s not the only time it can be helpful, according to Nerdshala Scott Hopson, Power Spoke to plate master trainer and advisory board member.

“Massage guns apply rhythmic pressure currents to the tissues of our bodies, improving tissue quality, fluid flow, and mindfulness,” Hopson told Nerdshala.

He suggests using a massage gun before you train, exercise, or compete “as it upgrades the tissues and prepares them to move with greater quality”. You can use it again after a workout to “stimulate the recovery process. Flush toxins, reduce pain and encourage relaxation”, and between sessions to “make sure we keep our tissues clean.” daily life, the closure and stress of postures create problems.”

Karen Brown, EMEA’s head of product design and development at HomeMedics (one of the largest manufacturers of massage guns), also offered some advice on how to use your device.

“Homemedics Massage Guns are ideal to use before and after a workout to help with any tension and pain,” Brown told us. “They’re handy to take with you to the gym and even use mid-workout if you feel some tension.

“The HomeMedics Massage Gun is great for relaxing after a long day at work to re-energize and wake up areas of the body that may have been sitting in one position for a while!

“By offering a range of strength settings and various interchangeable massage heads, each treatment can be tailored to your specific needs, targeting different areas of the body for both rapid results and maximum effectiveness.”

where to use it

When you’re ready to start using your massage gun, turn it on before placing it on your skin (it can be jarring to turn it when it’s against your body), and apply it to that muscle. Slide what you’re working on.

Before a workout, you can use your massage gun to target the major muscle groups you’re going to work and warm up.

For example, if you’re preparing for a bike ride, you can use it on your quads (the muscles on the front and sides of your thighs), hamstrings (back of the thighs), calves, and lower back. Keep the gun head moving, and after a minute or two move on to the next muscle group.

It’s the same after a workout; Focus on the muscles you’re using, and swish the massage gun around each group for two minutes before moving on to the next group.

If your shoulders are feeling stiff during the day, you can use your massage gun to target the trapezius muscle. Take care not to place the end of the tool directly on your shoulder blade, and to keep it away from your spine.

If you’re struggling to reach, one of the benefits of a massage gun is that someone else can help you, even if they have no experience. Ask them to hold it lightly against their skin and let the machine do the work; There is no need to press with it. If you feel a ‘lump’, it is okay to hold the gun for about 20 seconds to help the tissues relax.

This article is part of Nerdshala’s Get Fit in 2022 series – a collection of ideas and guides to help you get off to the right start to your New Year’s health goals, whatever your current level of fitness.

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