First things first, what is a massage gun? Massage guns are designed to increase blood flow and decrease tension deep within the muscle. An increase in blood flow means that the muscles have access to better nutrients and fluids, and an increase in the rate at which the muscle can be flushed of waste products, which will inturn help with the recovery and growth process.

There are now numerous brands of massage gun available depending on how much you want to splash out. Theragun and Hypervolt models can range from £300 – £500, these are pretty much the cream of the crop and come with a variety of features. These are the ones that are backed by the most research and as per usual, you do get what you pay for. If however you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can pick up a none branded gun from Amazon for less than £100. There are even some guns available for as low as £30, but unless you only want it to tickle you I’d steer clear of those ones!

So far so good, but what are the cons? Why do these guns get a lot of flack from a variety of professionals? The main issue I can see is not actually the guns themselves, it’s the people that use them incorrectly. A massage gun is a tool to add to your recovery arsenal, it is not a replacement. Let’s take 2 subjects, A & B. A & B both undertake the same training load, over a 6 week period. Subject A prioritises sleep, good nutrition, movement quality and mobility work. Subject B however, has just bought a new massage gun and sits on the floor every night smashing themselves to bits. Subject B is only sleeping 6 hours a night, eats predominantly fast food, does zero mobility work and is unable to Air Squat to parallel. It’s fair to say you only need one guess who is going to recover more.

If you use the gun as an addition to your preexisting recovery work, it can certainly be beneficial. Softening the muscle itself prestretching can actually allow the muscle to stretch more easily.

I personally do use a massage gun. As part of my daily recovery work in the evening, I spend 10-15 minutes on my legs and hips (sport specific) with the gun, and then I move directly into 10-15 minutes of stretching. Let’s say I have battered my hamstrings in a session loaded with Good Mornings and Romanian Deadlifts, softening them up post workout in the evening allows me to fold more easy into a seated pike, or a hurdle stretch. From personal experience, this has helped me to carry on training hard on a daily basis. Placebo effect or not, if I don’t do this routine I don’t feel anywhere near as recovered the next day. 

So should you use a massage gun? In my opinion yes. Whether for Weightlifting or for CrossFit, use it as an addition, but do not replace the main pillars of recovery (sleep & nutrition). It’s another 1 percent that can help you move the needle that little closer towards success! As a final note, massage guns are not a replacement for a well trained physiotherapist or massage therapist. If you have a injury that becomes significant, always seek out a specialist. 

If you enjoyed this post, check out my next post “Strength and Conditioning Is For Everyone!