The Pros and Cons of Massage Guns for Runners

When it comes to the world of fitness and recovery, few tools have had as much of an impact as the massage gun. With their low price, ease of use, and convenience, millions of people use massage guns each day to recover from an intense workout or injury.

Runners are among the most prevalent users of massage guns. After all, running for miles each day places stress on your feet, making a massage gun an excellent option to aid recovery and get you back into running shape more quickly.

That being said: just how are massage guns for runners? In this article, we will dive into the pros and cons of massage gun use for runners. In doing so, you will be well prepared when you take out a massage gun after a long run.

How to Use a Massage Gun

When it comes to massage gun use, runners use massage guns in the same way as everyone else. Most massage guns (such as those from Lifepro) are so easy to use that you essentially “point and shoot”, much like a drill. Compared to other types of vibration machines (or even foam rollers), massage guns are extremely simple to use.

The main difference between massage gun use for runners and other folks lies in the application of the massage gun itself. We recommend using a massage gun both before AND after your run. Prior to your run, you’re going to want to use your massage gun on any sore spots from previous workouts. This goes a long way towards preventing injury.

After your run, you’ll want to use that massage gun to ease any muscle tension that may have built up during your exercise. In doing so, you’ll accelerate your own recovery. Simply target those spots that are feeling sore and you’ll put yourself on the road to recovery in very little time!

Pros of Massage Guns for Runners

Massage guns have many benefits for runners. Perhaps the most prevalent benefit is reduced muscle soreness. One study shows a significant decrease in DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) between those who use vibration therapy (like a massage gun) when compared to those who do not. In fact, massage guns were found to be equally effective against DOMS as a traditional massage.

In other words, you don’t need to pay $50 an hour to get the benefits of a massage. Just one massage gun purchase may be enough to get the relief you need for years to come! If we do the math, one massage gun that costs just $300 is equal to just six hours of massage. The main difference between you’ll enjoy the massage on demand, as opposed to fitting into the professional’s schedule.

Speaking of convenience, most massage guns have enough battery life to enjoy several uses between charges. This means you can warm up with your massage gun, charge it, then use it right away for cooling down at the end of a run. Odds are, you won’t even need to charge it during the workout if you keep your eye on the battery life!  Even if your battery dies, many massage guns will even come with a swappable battery, so you never need to miss out on a massage.

In all, massage guns are an excellent recovery tool for runners, and we highly recommend their use. However, there are a few things to be aware of when you use a massage gun as a runner, so keep reading to find out.

Cons of Massage Guns for Runners

Although massage guns are excellent recovery tools for runners, there are a few things to be aware of. In this section, we will touch on several aspects of massage guns that many users don’t think about when they use their massage guns. In some cases, this can lead to wasted money. In others, it could mean a downright ineffective massage. 

First thing you should note: not all massage guns are created equal. Some massage guns have a lesser shelf life, meaning you’ll need to purchase another unit before too long. Other massage guns cost more, yet have similar features to other massage guns. You’re going to want to pay attention to pricing and reviews before you commit to a particular model.

Secondly, although massage guns are effective, they do not replace proper pre-workout stretches. Rather, they are a way to supplement stretching. They aren’t a miracle tool that will instantly get rid of aches, pains, and prevent all forms of injury. They are simply a (powerful) tool to make it easier to avoid and recover from injuries.

Thirdly, massage guns may be easy to use, but they also come with inherit risks. When used improperly, they may worsen or even cause an injury. That being said, this is easily avoided by both consulting with your doctor prior to use as well as following the proper instructions.

Finally, depending on where you use your massage gun, you may want to be aware of how loud your massage gun is. Many units, like those from LifePro Fitness, are rather quiet. However, there are many units that sacrifice quiet for power – and you don’t want to use them when people are sleeping!

While massage guns may have a few downsides (depending on the unit), as a whole they are powerful tools to aid your recovery and prevent injuries to begin with.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a runner, it’s important to look after the health of your feet. One of the easiest ways to do that is with proper massage. With a proper massage gun, this comes even easier. Of course, massage guns aren’t perfect. They each come with their own pros and cons.

That being said, the pros far outweigh the cons. As long as you’re careful with your massage gun, use it properly, and pay attention to the quality of your massage gun, it’s always going to be an excellent tool to accelerate your recovery or to simply enjoy a nice, relaxing foot massage.

So do we recommend massage guns for runners? That would be a resounding “yes”! It may just be the tool you need to make your running career easier. Whether you’re a casual runner or run marathons, a massage gun can help you recover more quickly, ease pain in your feet, and ultimately make running more enjoyable.

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