I’m really old. And that means I hurt most of the time. But because I have made the sage decision not to have any children, I’ve been able to invest what would have been their college money into a high quality standing desk (opens in new tab) and chair (opens in new tab). Nonetheless, endless hours spent trying to decide which gun to delete (opens in new tab) means I still sometimes feel back pain. Over the past couple of years I’ve been working out with a personal trainer (thanks again, childlessness) who swears by massage guns to loosen up tense and knotted muscles.
You’ve probably seen these things, which look like the meme weapon no-one uses in an arena shooter, being wielded by fitness influencers on the ‘gram. You’ve probably also thought, entirely reasonably, why would I take what appears to be a handheld pneumatic hammer and apply it to what is quite literally my own body. I felt much the same the first time I had one used on me, and immediately had to ask “are my eyeballs supposed to be vibrating in their sockets?” Which actually came out: “BrrRrrrrrRrrEeyyeZzzzz?”
The answer, I was assured, is yes. And honestly, in the meantime I’ve come to love the pulsating kiss of the massage gun at the end of my moderately strenuous middle-aged man workouts. Over the last two years the tech has also got substantially quieter, if not all that much cheaper. These days I like having one of my own on hand to blast the ol’ traps after a long day pushing the mouse around. As of now, the science around the benefits of being pounded by a Fisher Price power tool seems to be still developing.
Reading around, vibration-based therapy seems pretty well understood, but the benefits of a more percussive approach are still being researched and debated. From what I’ve read so far, part of the theory is that by creating a unique sensation in the targeted area your brain focuses on that experience, which enables it to let go of the existing tension it’s holding onto. What I can say is that 1) having been initially sceptical I now really like the experience and regard it as a treat whenever my back is feeling sore. 2) I don’t think some light pummelling will have a transformative effect in terms of turning you into an elite athlete.
If you would like to join me in feeling like blissfully kneaded pizza dough, there are deals to be had on the two best known brands (both of which I’ve used quite a bit). My trainer always expressed a strong preference for the Hypervolt. The entry level Go is 20% off right now, and $160 is the lowest price it’s been on Amazon.
$199 $159 at Amazon (save $250) (opens in new tab)
The Hypervolt Go is, as the name suggests, designed to be used on the move. At 1.5lbs it can easily be tossed into a rucksack alongside your gaming laptop. Next thing you know the LAN party just got a whole lot more sexy. I mean athletic.
If you’re really committed to the self-tenderising life, the Theragun Elite is 25% off at $299. The only other time it was that low was last Black Friday. It’s triangularly-shaped handle makes it easier to hit tricky spots like under your scapula which the Hypervolt Go can struggle with.
TheraGun Elite (4th Gen) |
$399 $299 at Amazon (save $100) (opens in new tab)
This is a good price on a more serious massage gun. It's comparatively quiet, if you're worried about bothering fellow gym goers (or more likely terrifying the cat), and comes with five attachments to the Hypervolt's two. Honestly, this is the one I'd go for.
If still you're not sold on turning a gun on yourself in the name of looser glutes, there are of course other options. At the cheaper end of the spectrum, a basic foam roller (opens in new tab) will do wonders for your myofascial release. I'm not going to lie though: rolling is tedious, and for me less pleasant than a go on the gun. Or, if money is no object, you could consider a gaming chair with massagers built in, which frankly sounds terrifying, but our Jorge was smitten with this $900 one he tested in May.