Percussion massagers are a quick way to relieve any soreness pre-, post- and mid-workout. Find out why pro athletes incorporate this tool in their trainings. Image Credit: Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko

There’s a clever bit of tool you can carry around in the gym bag to relieve sore muscles. From the North American-based NBA (National Basketball Association) players to tennis stars, percussion massagers or massage guns have become an essential on-the-go device for pro athletes. It gives them an anytime-anywhere convenience – just pull out the vibrating tool and target a tight shoulder, calf or hamstring for a few minutes, before taking on the next training session.

But, do you really need a massage gun? With no prior experience, there’s also the risk of misusing the device. It’s worth considering one, if you often return home with stiff muscles from weight training, playing your favourite sport or a desk job, and don’t want to invest in a masseuse appointment. We’ve got experts from both the fitness and physiotherapy professions to weigh in on massage guns, explaining what they do and the right way to put them to use.

How does a massage gun work?

Different attachments on a massage gun can even target shoulder blades and joints. Image Credit: Pexels/Liam Moore

Shaped like a drill, this portable handheld tool typically comes with a rounded head and other attachments for different body parts. “It’s a percussion device that works with repeated light pressures, stimulating the muscle tissue below,” said Keith O’Malley-Farrell, an injury rehabilitation specialist with over 12 years of experience at The Physical Training Company in Dubai.

“When [the massage gun] stimulates the sensory nerves, it communicates with the brain about that area. What you then get is a phenomenon where the percussion creates a relaxing sensation, and it reduces the contracting of muscle fibres – it feels like stretching,” he added.

When should I use a massage gun?

This tool can help speed up your muscle recovery after every workout. Image Credit: Unsplash/Littpro Inc.

Massage guns are usually part of one’s muscle recovery period, following a tough workout or even in between, to improve performance. O’Malley-Farrell calls it reducing muscle inhibition. “Say you’ve done some squats or heavy weightlifting, and your quads feel really tight. This [tension] limits the full potential of your muscle. You can use a massage gun in between sets to reduce the inhibition,” he said.

The same goes for post-workouts, when the soreness really sets in the day after. A stiff neck, upper back and shoulders can benefit from the percussive device.

Ajmal Sheriff, a specialist physiotherapist with the Dubai-based Emirates Health Services (EHS), advises the massager be used “over a muscle bulk and not any bony prominences, like elbow or shoulder blades”. Sheriff says the recommended usage duration is 10 to 15 minutes per session.

What is the correct way to use a massage gun?

Experts caution against pressing the device deep into the body. Image Credit: Unsplash/Tima Miroshnichenko

Both experts stress on the level of pressure applied when using the massager. As a rule of thumb, apply enough pressure to allow the device to glide over the skin, says Sheriff.

“What people will do wrong is drill the tool deep into the tissue, which causes the nervous system to tense, giving you a contradictory effect,” added O’Malley-Farrell. He suggests aiming for a pressure that causes “a mild discomfort”, somewhere below your pain threshold and above your discomfort levels. “It’ll create a ‘nice’ pain that people report feeling.”

You’ll want to travel with the device from the knee to the hip to the torso, for instance. O’Malley-Farrell says this helps with lymphatic drainage, removing excess fluid from your body with time.

“Anyone can use this to relax the muscles, but if you’re still experiencing soreness, you have to consult a specialist,” advises Sheriff.

The Physical Training Company has had a Hyperice Hypervolt massage gun on standby for its clients for four years now. O’Malley-Farrell mentions its excellent battery life and lightweight build as some of its plus points, adding that its lowest speed still exerts quite the force.

We’ve compiled some of the leading massage guns in the industry below, crowning the Hypervolt as our best overall. Order with Prime to receive your device as soon as tomorrow.

1. Best Overall: Hyperice Hypervolt Plus


  • Quiet glide technology
  • Five head attachments for targeted use
  • Powerful percussions
  • Charge lasts for up to three hours


  • Can be heavy for some

Treat your muscles to a premium percussion device that can be used to warm up before a workout and aid in recovery after. The Hyperice Hypervolt Plus is a slightly heavier model than the rest, weighing three pounds (1.36kgs) in your hand, but functions quietly. Its 90W motor operates for two to three hours on a single charge, with the option of three percussion speeds. You can target various muscles with a total of five head attachments for quads, calves and more. Its dedicated app recommends a therapy sequence after tracking your fitness activity for the day via Bluetooth. Reviews mention how powerful the device is, even on the lowest setting, and report relief for tense hips and muscle knots after a run or a long drive.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh72.97 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best for Deep Percussions: Theragun Prime 


  • Access any speed between two limits
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Two hours of battery life
  • Penetrates deep with a 16mm extension


  • Might be too powerful for beginners
  • Expensive

You might have to shell out a bit to bring home a Theragun product. The brand’s percussion tools have an uncommon ergonomic design; the hand goes through the device, rather than around a cylindrical handle. This lets you hold it in a number of ways without straining the arm. The Prime massage gun weighs 1.2kgs and has two speed ranges – 1,750 to 2,400 percussions per minute (PPM) – you can opt for any specific level in between via the Therabody app. A charge lasts two hours, and you can switch out the regular head for the other three attachments as you go. Reviews left by people heavily involved in sports training report fantastic results, but do note that the Theragun has a punchier percussion than its competitors, so it can take a while to get used to.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh100.52 for 12 months with select banks.

3. Best Value for Beginners: RENPHO Mini Massage Gun 


  • Lightweight at 450 grams
  • Four head attachments
  • Long battery life
  • Five speed levels
  • Charges via a Type-C cable (included)


  • Doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity

Try out percussion therapy on a budget. Small, weighs in grams (450g) and travels with you wherever you go – the RENPHO massage gun is a good place to begin, if you’re sceptical. With four attachments in total, which target the neck, calves, joints and more, navigate through five speeds, so you can start slow and slowly build up the heat to pro levels. Gym regulars and office workers alike in the reviews have found relief from aching muscles, noting that it’s as effective as its pricier counterparts. The massager charges with any power source as long as it’s Type-C compatible – your power bank will work perfectly fine. Once done, the device lasts for a whopping four hours.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

4. Best for At-Home Use: ARTECORS Professional Percussion Massage Gun


  • Value for money
  • Up to 24-hour battery life
  • Seven speeds
  • Eight head attachments


  • Doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity
  • Some attachments are not rubber-based

Another relatively affordable massage gun is the ARTECORS device with seven speed settings. For this price point, you’re getting an impressive 12 to 24 hours of battery after charge. Then there’s its range of massage heads in the box, eight different attachments to target the thighs, palm, neck, back and joints. If you spend long hours at the desk and return to bed with pinched muscles, reviews vouch for a good night’s rest after using the tool. You can easily switch it on or off and adjust settings from the sleek touchscreen display.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

5. Best Versatile Massager: Sportneer Elite D9


  • Premium quality
  • Can be used for an oil massage
  • Long battery life
  • Quiet operation


  • Can be cumbersome to hold

The Sportneer Elite D9 takes your percussive massage to the next level with oils. Two out of six head attachments are metal-based, making them perfect for a relaxing oil massage, cold or heated, coated in your favourite essential oils. Boasting a 220-watt power, the massager is designed for athletes and looks premium in its aluminium alloy shell. Use this to boost your exercise performance by moving through six-speed levels, without worrying about the seven-hour battery life. According to reviews, it’s quiet and lasts weeks before needing a recharge. The massager has a decent 11mm extension, but someone looking for a deeper muscle penetration could opt for the punchier 16mm Theragun.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh73.86 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.