We tried the Theragun G4: here's our honest review

Been wondering about upgrading your recovery routine with a Theragun, but been sticking to the OG foam roller? Now's the time to level up, as Theragun's massage guns are changing the game.

With the choice to attach a less dense 'supersoft' massage head – yes, it's still sore when used on trigger points but in a soothing, more satisfactory way – the guns can also be used for surface level twinges as opposed to solely deep-tissue stuff. Because, #ouch.

There's now also the benefit of being able to choose between customisable speeds – before it was a choice between two – percussive therapy has never felt so, well, personal. I may like it harder on big muscle groups in my thighs and glutes, but along my tricep? Yeah, not so hard, thanks mate.

If you're new to all of this massage gun malarkey, Therabody has its own app to show you exactly how to get the most out of your sesh: Fancy 'downregulating' (read: calming) your parasympathetic nervous system before bed? There's a programme on the app for that. Need to squeeze in some targeted post-run recovery? Yep, you guessed it there's a programme on the app for that too.

If you've not already added one to your basket, here's everything you need to know.

What is a Theragun?

A piece of fitness recovery kit that looks like an aesthetically pleasing power drill. A handheld tool which allows you to massage sore muscles and trigger points, think of it as a handheld, silent sports massage therapist.

What does a Theragun do?

The Theragun is bit like your kitchen mixer: there’s a core that you add attachments to depending on what you want to do.

The main aim of a session with the tool is to reduce pain, recover faster and improve movement. It does this by overriding pain signals to the brain while also increasing blood flow and heat in your muscle tissue. The latter helps with muscle recovery.

Trying the Theragun Prime

I tried the Theragun Prime, an evolution of the previous LIV model. At £275, it's cheaper than the next two models up – the Elite is £375 and the Pro is £549 – and it's a whole lot quieter than any of the other massage guns I've ever attempted to soothe my poor DOMS with.

After a brutal strength training class – virtual, of course – I decided to use the Prime to see if it would stop my quads from seizing up, rigamortis style. Sitting in my living room I was nervous our downstairs neighbours would hear the vibration through the floor. Fortunately the new model is so quiet my flatmate didn't even hear it down the hall. Win #1.

Starting on the right leg, I ran the gun over my hamstrings, quads, calves, glutes, hips and the sides of my shins because I have no idea how you're meant to stretch those parts of your legs otherwise.

The result when compared to my non-Theragunned left leg? Well, it was different for sure. My right leg felt lighter, looser, more limber and less heavy. My left leg still felt like a ton of bricks had crawled in and were making themselves at home.

Giddy with success I spent the next 45-minutes targeting all the areas I had been forgetting about in my slapdash post-workout stretching routine. (Read: No routine.) At the end of the session my body felt delicious relaxed – like a strong Swedish masseuse had pummelled me into limber-equilibrium.

Self-massage sounds painful – is it?

Well, sometimes, yes. But no more than a sports massage and unlike deep tissue that has to be done by an expert, this can be used anytime, anywhere.

Aside from using the gun as natural pain-relief or for DOMS you can also use it before a big workout to activate muscles.

Theragun advises using its products for:

  • Natural stress relief

  • To accelerate recovery and muscle repair

  • Increases blood and lymphatic flow

  • Relieve muscle spasms and stiffness

  • Breaks up scar tissue

  • Improves lactic acid clearance

  • Activate the nervous system and muscles

  • Muscle fatigue, pain, tightness, soreness, and knots

So, is the Theragun just for those who train hard?

Actually, according to Theragun founder Dr. Jason Wersland, no. One of his clients is a professional NFL player whose wife, a nurse, has relied on her Theragun at the end of long shifts to soothe her sore neck and back without resorting to painkillers or anti-inflammatories.

'We wanted to make this new range so quiet that you could take it on an airplane, on the tube, or however you commute,' Dr Wersland told me. 'The mini can now literally be popped out of your bag and used on sore areas,' he explains, adding that the smaller but still powerful motor makes it quiet enough so as to be able to massage discreetly.

Fair enough, but are they genuinely worth the cash?

Like anything, wellness tech is only worth what you put into it. If you're going to spend a couple minutes a month with the gun – probably not. But, if you're using it once or even twice a week for a dedicated recovery session, I'd say absolutely, and even more so while they're on sale.

The younger and less expensive guns make a more affordable recovery option. The Mini is so small you could feasibly stash it in your handbag and forgo the cost of a monthly massage and make your money back in two months.

So, a one time splurge to speed up recovery and give muscles some much needed relief, in the comfort of your own home without having to strip down for a stranger or pretend it doesn't really bloody hurt when they press like that – I'm sold. Plus you can spend hours of fun filming your muscles rippling under the gun's head in slow-mo. That, my friends, is called winning.

How to use your Theragun

Whether you’re recovering post- workout or using it for stress-relief the how-to is pretty much the same.

To use, you simply push on an attachment until it clicks into place and press the on button and slide to the level of force you'd like.

You then float the device over your body letting the gun pummel away at sore spots and trigger points – the new Theragun app has a plethora of programmes to help with this. Essentially, it’s like a targeted, very intense sports massage that you get to decide the pace, pummel and motion of.

3 tips for when to use your Theragun

1. To activate muscles: use for 30 seconds to fire up glutes after a lazy day at the desk.

2. To relieve tightness: Rest the device on the area that’s sore for two minutes. The 40-percussions-a-second will provide quick, deep relief.

3. To energise: Before hitting the shower give yourself a top-to-toe sweep. This will help with circulation and help free up tight spots. Like body brushing on crack.

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