Ever exercised so fiercely that you ran out of gas and just couldn’t bring yourself to knock off that last rep however hard you tried? That’s what’s called muscle failure. I won’t go into all the science behind it today since this post isn’t about muscle failure – but in layman’s language, this is caused by a lactic acid build-up in your muscle tissue.
So what does muscle failure and lactic acid got to do with Theragun?
Well, that’s where these little gizmos come to play, helping clear all the built-up lactic acid out of your muscles. This goes the distance to help with muscle recovery after a workout.
You could also do the same with other options like foam rolling or massage. I know you might be wondering, why Theragun? What’s special about these massage guns that give them the edge? Are they even worth it?
Ahead, you will find all the answers to these questions, and then some. Also, I will be giving you a brief lowdown on the different Theragun models.
Who is Theragun good for?
Pretty much everyone in need of muscular massage can make the most of these devices. From beginner lifters to advanced fitness buffs, you can use theragun before, during, or after the gym.
Even more so for those with high sensitivity to deep tissue massage – theragun delivers similar results, but without considerable deep pressure that would otherwise prove painful or uncomfortable for some.
And although these devices can be a tad costly at well over $500, the upfront cost is as far as you’ll have to dig into your pocket. It might not seem economical at first, but when you consider the cost of attending massage therapy sessions often, you will realize this could be a great option to cut costs.
Should I use Theragun Before or After Workout?
While theragun is often used after a workout, you can use it prior, during, or post your workout session. That’s up to you to decide, but the good news is that it is safe to use either way.
You might have heard that jumping on cardio machine like one of those heavy duty rowers, an incline treadmill, a stationary bike or an elliptical before your workout. But as practical as cardio before workout is, there's something about theragun that makes it an excellent option or supplement to this.
The good thing about using the device before a workout is that it will help activate the muscles and enhance your range of motion. The increased blood flow to your muscles will ante up your workout performance and help you avoid injury. You'll particularly need it when you want to squat and bench on the same day or other chest and leg workouts or overall multiple muscle group exercise and need all the gas you can get out of those muscles.
When using theragun before a workout, the best way to go about it is to target the muscles you are planning on training during exercise. Then there’s the Theragun app, which comes in super handy in providing you with the right protocol for using the device before your workout – and so with a combination of diagrams and articulate instructions.
If you opt to use Theragun during your workout, then you stand to enjoy several benefits like speeding up recovery, as well as activating your muscles. Let’s say you feel that any muscle group isn’t firing from all cylinders, applying Theragun during that break between sets could jolt it (that particular muscle) to action.
When to Use Theragun After Workout
Again, there is no set in stone rule as to when you can or should use Theragun post-workout, But experts recommend doing your massage right after your workout session to help ensure a faster and smooth recovery. Mostly hitting (for about 2 minutes) the muscles that you expect to have soreness, and then going easier (for around 30 seconds) on the other muscles.
If you are working several muscles, stick to doing full body workout every other day to leave enough room for muscle recovery. Even theragun might not save you from overuse injury if you're working out 7 days a week on high intensity.
Theragun Before or After Workout Reddit
I am a big fan of looking at what Redditors think of fitness gear, and as I sought to know as much as there was to about Theragun, I sort of ended up on one of the threads there. From the looks of things, those who have owned and used these little bastards there are hooked. This particular thread says it all really, and there’s even an interesting debate going down there over whether using theragun before or after is the best way to go about it.
Can You Overdo Theragun?
The short answer is yes – you can overdo theragun if you’re not keen. The thing you should be more concerned about, however, is what happens if you overuse a massage gun.
When you hit one spot for too long with theragun you will experience soreness, bruising, or even more tightness in that area. Thing is, if used moderately, a massage gun works wonders at reducing inflammation. Go a bit overboard, and you could worsen the situation.
How Many Times a Day Can You Use Theragun then?
So, how much is too much when using a massage gun? There are two ways you can overdo your massage. One is by hitting one spot for too long, and the other is using the gun too consistently for safety.
In most cases though, you should be fine using Theragun for between 15 seconds and 2 minutes per any particular muscle you’re treating. Even when doing an all-out full-body massage, you need to make sure it doesn’t exceed 15 minutes.
Also, you should space out the sessions and do this only 2 to 3 times a day. But then, you still need to train within your limits. If you can only hit 20 pull-ups a day, do not shoot for 50 pull-ups for a day and then make a beeline for your theragun and expect it to work like some magic wand.
Theragun: How to Use
Using theragun is pretty straightforward, you just need to float the device over the area you want to massage. What complicates things is figuring out for how long you should use the device.
That’s what we are going to go over next.
For Muscle activation – Before the workout
Done before exercise sessions or any other physical activity (could be prior to cable crunches, the T bar row, the star plank, chest press or bench press...etc), the massage at this stage should last for 30 seconds. The point is to awaken and activate the muscle and have them on standby for the action ahead.
Muscle re-activation – During a workout
This is where you use Theragun in between workouts as I mentioned earlier – mostly during rests before jumping back for the next set. In this case, you should use it for about 10 to 15 seconds on the target muscle group. The idea is to re-energize your muscles and keep them active while still relieving fatigue and spasms.
Pain Relief and Recovery
After you are done with your workout, you can use Theragun to counter the soreness and help them relax for a quick recovery. Typically, you should keep the treatment a tad longer here at around 2 minutes on the target muscle.
Can Theragun Cause Damage?
As I mentioned earlier, there is a chance that things could go wrong, but in most cases, this happens if you have no idea of what you’re doing, or you get carried away and overdo your massage.
So yeah, there’s very little chance that Theragun will cause any damage (unless it has a default – which is also very unlikely) if used correctly. Just avoid using it on an injury, overuse it, or use it without consulting with your physician to be sure it’s right for you.
Top Four Theragun Models
Now you know when, why, how, and how not to use Theragun. Let’s go ahead and kick the tires on the different models in town. There are about four of them, which are Theragun Pro, Theragun Elite, Theragun Prime, and Theragun Mini. Now, what is each of these gizmos all about?
Let’s find out.
First up is the Pro, the most expensive of the bunch, but also the one with more bells and whistles. If you are a professional athlete, or you’re just taking your fitness journey more seriously, then this is the gun for you.
- Up to 6 easy to clean attachments
- Rotating arm with an ergonomic multi-grip design
- OLED screen featuring a force meter
- Easily customizable speed range
- Bluetooth capability and Smart App integration
The Elite is slightly cheaper than the Pro but impressive. It’s super quiet, and packs almost all the features you’d get with the Pro.
- Up to 5-speed settings
- OLED screen and effective force meter
- Up to five easy-to-clean attachments
- Long battery life of up to 120 minutes
- Easily customizable speed range
- Bluetooth capability and Smart App integration
If you’re tight on budget and the previous two models seem straight out of your reach, then you can settle for Prime. It’s more of a bang-for-buck model that packs the basic features that you need for the best Theragun experience but lacks the bells and whistles that the pricier options come with.
- An ergonomic multi-grip
- A great 120-minute battery life
- Four easy-to-clean attachments
- Smart App integration and Bluetooth capabilities
- Customizable speed range with up to 4 settings
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
Albeit being the most affordable of all, it’s still very handy and portable. But this is as bare bones as it can get when pitched against the other three models. Even then, there’s still a collection of cool features that make the Mini a perfect fit for beginners and those looking for the right budget option for on-the-go use.
- An ergonomic multi-grip design
- Lasting battery life of up to 150 minutes
- Single standard ball attachment
- Customizable speed range with 3 settings
Final Word - Is Theragun Worth it?
Whether you have never used theragun before, or you've been wrong about when, why, and how to use one, I bet this post has given you everything you need to make the most of these massage guns. If used correctly, theragun packs a motherload of cool benefits.
Careful not to use it wrongly though, or you risk having to bear with the consequences. But hey, theragun treatment is an excellent way to treat your muscles. After all, who would mind a slight relief to muscle soreness after a rough day in the gym?
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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