A Physical Therapist Demonstrates the Best Way to Use a Massage Gun

Philip Ellis
·2-min read
Photo credit: Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman - Getty Images

From Men's Health

Massage guns provide an effective alternative to foam rollers in your overall fitness and wellness regime when it comes to relieving tightness and soreness in your muscles. But according to physical therapist and The Ready State founder Kelly Starrett, you might not be getting as much bang for your buck from your percussive massager, depending on how you're using it.

In a new video, Starrett explains how to get the most benefit out of your massage gun. "I use this thing mostly at the low settings," he says. "I know because it goes to 10, you think you're going to need 10, but you don't."

Instead, the most effective way to use the massager is to introduce movement, he explains, rather than simply holding it statically to an affected area.

"One of the things you can do right away if you're using this in a painful site, is to get as much movement into the tissue you're trying to change as possible," he says. "Sometimes we just need to feel better, and that's good enough... But I can do a lot to bias the tissues by giving them some movement context."

"We're not sure what the mechanism is here," he continues. "Restoring sliding surfaces, changing fluid loads, maybe getting blood flow back in here. But the idea is, if I can get some movement, I may have an even better outcome with what's going on, besides activation and waking up and just feeling good. This can be a really powerful tool."

Starrett adds that standing up and doing some flexion and extension during this process can also be helpful. In addition to restoring motion in the affected muscle area, it can also help you prepare your body during warmup.

"The bottom line is, you're designed to move," he says. "So let's move."

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