Your training is only as good as your recovery. But if you don't have enough recovery time between sessions, a massage gun is your next best bet.
Contrary to popular belief, the body doesn't adapt to the stress of training during a workout. Becoming stronger at your sport actually happens in that window of time between training sessions, when the body is actively recovering and healing itself in preparation for the next training load.
When properly recovered, you enjoy improved performance and less risk of potential injury, allowing you to keep crushing your workout goals. In short: when you put recovery first, you become a stronger and more consistent athlete.
Recovery is even more crucial if you participate in CrossFit, as this crushing sport pushes you to perform high-intensity exercises on a near-daily basis. With so little rest time between WODs, serious CrossFitters need to prioritize recovery more than other athletes. Overtraining almost always leads to poor performance—but how can you recover when you're heading to the box 5-6 times a week?
You might have already seen the answer in a gym or on the internet: a massage gun. Only recently popular in the sports world, this device utilizes percussive therapy to decrease soreness, increase range of motion, prevent injury, and more. Over the past couple of years, massage guns have become the top choice for athletes looking for an efficient, effective way to speed up the recovery process.
Why Recover with a Percussion Massage Gun?
Massage guns are excellent recovery tools due to how they utilize percussive or vibration therapy. Like how a massage therapist uses their hands to apply pressure to specific parts of the body, a massage gun applies quick bursts of pressure onto the muscle tissue. The vibration therapy from a massage gun gives you the same deep tissue massage a massage therapist could provide, all without having to cough up the extra time, effort, and cash like you would when consulting with a massage therapist. For CrossFitters who engage in frequent, intensive exercise, a massage gun is beneficial in three ways:
Don't confuse a massage gun for a magic wand—percussive therapy doesn't completely eliminate muscle soreness. Rather, it increases blood flow to the targeted muscle area, consequently reducing inflammation, decreasing tension, and minimizing the risk of potential injury. Studies have shown that consistent use of a massage gun also prevents delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which cuts down on your recovery time, and thus allows you to get back in the box faster.
You can also ditch the foam roller and start using a massage gun for your warm-up, too. While you might think a foam roller yields similar results, massage guns are more effective as they can hyper-target specific problem areas. Not to mention, using a percussive massager just feels so much better than foam rolling, which often feels uncomfortable or awkward to use. Regarding the percussive therapy vs. foam roller comparison, a massage gun is the clearly better option, being not only more effective but also more comfortable to use.
Purchasing a massage gun allows you to take control of your recovery process. You don't need to schedule an appointment and drive to the nearest sports clinic on an off day or wait days between sessions to start your recovery. You can start recovering in the comfort of your own home, or minutes after your session ends at the gym. All you need to do is turn on your device!
The way we see it, CrossFit athletes have two options for optimum recovery:
- Invest in getting regular massages at your nearest sports recovery clinic, or
- Purchase a massage gun.
The first option will rack up your expenses, as you have to factor in not just the cost of therapy, but also the cost of travel and the time off you'll require for the appointment.
On the other hand, while a massage gun might seem like a splurge at first, the price is upfront. You won't have to spend on anything else afterward, saving you money in the long run.
Are there any downsides to massage guns? For one, it can get difficult to shop for, considering all the options currently available. With so many massage guns out on the market, how do you choose one that'll maximize your investment?
Picking a Percussive Massager that Best Suits Your Needs
Every athlete is different. What works for you may not work for someone else, and that holds true even for massage guns. You might be a frequent traveler, for instance, and need a massage gun that's easy to pack and light on your luggage.
Or, you might require a quiet massager, so as not to disturb other members of your gym or household when you do your post-workout recovery massage. When looking for a massage gun, here are the top characteristics to consider:
Most massage guns look like power drills, and some massage guns sound like power drills, too. Noise isn't necessarily bad, as it could be the side effect of a particularly strong motor. However, noise could be a nuisance in both public and private settings, and a lot of people would prefer not to attract attention while they're using their device. A quiet massage gun is also necessary if you multitask, such as if you use the massager while watching TV or conversing.
2. Stall Force
Stall force is the amount of pressure applied to the head of the massage gun before the motor stalls. The force needs to be strong enough so that it doesn't stall when a user presses the device into a particularly tight muscle. Unless it's a particularly weak massage, stall force shouldn't be a problem in any of the newest massage guns out on the market. However, if you want a deeper and more aggressive massage, then you'll probably want to look into a massage gun with a higher stall force.
3. Weight or Portability
A lot of massage guns out on the market are pretty heavy. For this, you'll want to check the weight to ensure that you can confidently hold the gun in one hand, even after a killer workout. Another factor is portability: do you travel often? Do you plan on bringing your massage gun to the gym? Take note that a lighter gun doesn't necessarily equate to less power, but you may have to shell out a bit more for devices that have the best of both worlds.
Let's face it, a massage gun is a bit of an investment, even if you're buying a more affordable model. Being a relatively expensive product, you want to make sure you're getting the most value out of your money. As such, warranties are essential. You'll want to buy your device from a company that provides an excellent warranty if your device breaks or malfunctions after you've purchased it.
Other less important factors to consider are customizability and battery life. If you want to get serious about massage guns for recovery, some models have several different head attachments, a number of speed settings, and adjustable head angles. However, these extra features aren't strictly necessary. Also, unless you're a therapist planning on purchasing the gun for professional use, battery life doesn't matter so much. Each massage gun usage is typically less than 20 minutes, and most massagers have a battery life of several hours.
HYDRAGUN: The Sports Recovery Device for High-Performance Athletes
While we've shown you what to look out for in a massage gun, you won't need to scour the web to search for the perfect percussive massager. We've already crafted the perfect one: HYDRAGUN.
Named after the many-headed serpent in Greek mythology, HYDRAGUN represents rising from defeat only to become stronger than before. At HYDRAGUN, our ultimate goal is to promote enhanced recovery to empower athletes to surpass themselves, again and again.
This mission started after HYDRAGUN founder Aloysius Chay experienced what many high-performance athletes suffer from: the disconnect between what you want to achieve and what your body can take. After falling in love with Muay Thai two years prior, Aloysius determined to be the best at his sport. However, his body couldn't keep up with the persistent stress from long, daily training sessions at the gym. While he enjoyed the challenge of pushing himself to the limit, he'd often get muscle aches and shin splints that got in the way of his progress. With foam rollers and massage sticks proving inefficient, Aloysius' soon turned to massage guns, at the time new tech in the sports market. Through these percussive therapy devices, Aloysius found that he could push himself harder than he could ever do before.
Motivated by his first-hand experience of how quick and efficient massage guns were for recovery, Aloysius began making his own massage gun. He wanted to create a product that could be accessible to athletes from any sport and walk of life. He began studying sports recovery, massage guns, and percussive therapy, assembling a team to help him turn his idea into a reality. Thus, HYDRAGUN was born. The massage gun made by athletes for athletes.
As a CrossFitter with limited downtime, investing in a sports recovery tool is the most efficient solution to keep yourself ready for your next box session. Like other massage guns out on the market, HYDRAGUN utilizes percussion therapy as a quick remedy against DOMs. But unlike other sports recovery tools, HYDRAGUN has been molded into THE recovery tool of choice for being:
- Accessible: More than anything, we want to make enhanced recovery an accessible option for any athlete. Thus, we've crafted HYDRAGUN to be a premium product at a competitive price.
- Quiet: At less than 50 dB, the hum of your air conditioner is louder than our massage gun. Use HYDRAGUN in any setting—be it public or private—without attracting attention. Use it without worry at your gym, at your office, or in the comfort of your own home.
- Powerful: At 3200RPM, HYDRAGUN's high torque motor can beat even the tightest of muscles into submission. Don't enjoy an aggressive massage? HYDRAGUN's six speed settings let you adjust the massage intensity to your preference.
- Durable: Most massage guns are made of composite plastic, but not ours. For HYDRAGUN, we've utilized an aerospace-grade aluminum alloy shell to ensure that your gun can withstand any demand. We crafted HYDRAGUN with the strongest material we could find and included a 1.5-year warranty with each device. Massage guns are an investment, and we want to make sure that ours is suitable for long-term use.
- Portable: Despite its aluminum shell, HYDRAGUN weighs in at only 2.3 lbs—perfect for one-handed use. The streamlined, ergonomic design prevents it from bulking up your gym bag, and each massage gun comes with a carry case for easy portability.
Call us biased, but HYDRAGUN is THE best all-around device your money can buy. Lightweight and powerful, HYDRAGUN has all the premium features that higher-priced models offer and more. With this level of value for money, any athlete can access an effective, efficient recovery solution for even the most strenuous of workouts.
To Be a Great Athlete, Put Recovery First
We talked a lot about the correlation between rest and performance in this article. However, a lack of rest doesn't just impact your training, it also affects your overall health and wellbeing. Improper recovery can decrease your immune function, cause hormonal disturbances, or trigger depression. These negative side-effects can plague CrossFitters, who need to recover fast not only to keep up with their WODs but also to keep up with the community. Persistent DOMS limits strength, and over time, CrossFit athletes may feel tired, left behind, and frustrated with their sport.
If you've found yourself struggling to keep up with your WODs, don't wait for burnout or injury to take your sports recovery seriously. Foam rollers and massage sticks just aren't going to cut it if you want to stay on top of your game, progressively improve, and stay consistent. Save yourself the burnout and extreme muscle soreness by investing in HYDRAGUN as a smart recovery solution.
Enhanced sports recovery empowers athletes to push themselves past their limits. What helps YOU push yourself to reach your goals? Let us know in the comments below!