I tried using a massage gun after the gym for a week. Here’s what happened

(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

It’s rather easy to become obsessive about visiting the gym. Much like any physical activity or sporting interest, once you get into the habit, you tend to feel worse if you don't make it there. Since we’ve been able to wave goodbye to lockdown closures, life at my local gym has more or less returned to normal and it’s great to be back.

While the gym was closed, I made a return to jogging. I finally got a really decent pair of the best running shoes and hit the road. I began with 5k and in the end got it up to around 10k a day. The downside was that running reminded me of why I’d signed up for a gym all those years ago.

Running takes its toll on my knees and also causes miscellaneous other aches and pains. It’s the main reason why I started using a few of the best massage guns on the market, one of which has proved to be a real help in alleviating some of the muscle pain I got from pounding the pavements. And, now I’m back in the gym, a massage gun is proving to be pretty handy post-workout time too. 

Getting started

Reviewing massage guns for TechRadar has helped give me a great insight into what I want from one of these handheld units. I’ve also been able to try many different variations on the theme. One thing I’ve found having experienced a variety of different massage heads is just how versatile these gadgets can be.

The Theragun Prime is my current favorite. It’s a quality bit of kit, but I’ve also been really impressed with the accompanying app. If you create an account it can help you with personalized massage sessions, tailored to suit your needs. There are also great walkthroughs for anyone starting out who isn’t sure which head to use, how long to massage for, and all the rest of it.

Depending on how much you spend, you’ll get a selection of different massage heads such as a forkhead, a large and small ball, a bullet head, and, perhaps, an air cushion head as per my Theragun model. If you’ve only got basic needs then an entry-level massage gun should tick most of the boxes, but spend a little more and you should get the complete set of heads. That means your massage gun can be used in lots more ways and on different problem areas.


(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

Two days in

One valuable tip I’ve learned over time is that if you're able to enlist the help of a family member or friend it’s a good idea to make massage gun sessions a team effort. Lots of locations on your own body can be hard to reach. Or, you may be able to get to them, but not at the right angle or correct level of massage intensity. Another person tackling the same area might produce a much more effective result. It’s worth a try. 

Recently, for this feature, I’ve been using the Theragun Prime, in tandem with the guides in the app consistently for a week. More specifically, I’ve been using the Workout Recovery program. This lasts eight minutes, covers the whole body and uses a standard ball and dampener. It starts with the right glute, then left, moves to the right lower back, left lower back and so on, with stretching in-between. Doing it with the help of the app makes me feel much more confident about how I’m doing the massage and, crucially, that I’m doing it right.

Four days in

I’m really starting to take a deep dive into the positive benefits of the Theragun app. Having discovered even more dedicated massage routines, including a great lower body one that is ideally suited to an hour’s worth of cross-trainer mayhem, I’m finding it a real help. In fact, I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learnt this week is to make sure you’ve got a massage gun with adequate guidance on how to use it, or check with someone who has experience of them to get some top tips.

What’s even better with this arrangement is that you can personalise the settings to suit yourself. Once you’ve created an account, the app allows you to build up a preferred list of massage options. It’s also easy to keep track of exactly what you’re doing, so as not to overdo it. I think having the app working in tandem with the massage gun is really the best thing about this un-scientific experiment to date.


(Image credit: Rob Clymo)

Seven days in

Keeping a record of my week using a massage gun after gym sessions has proved very enlightening. It’s certainly convinced me that regular massage gun therapy can be beneficial and that goes for anyone carrying out occasional workouts or daily fitness sessions. I do find that if I overdo it my muscles do start to feel tired, especially my legs due to my penchant for the cross trainer.

The great thing about having a massage gun to hand is that the sessions don't have to be long either. I’ve found that five or ten minutes working on problem areas can really help to melt away knotted muscles or those dull aches you get from repetitive training time. Again, the app is perfect for helping you keep track of the time and the step-by-step massage sessions let you work methodically and prevent you overdoing it.

Monitoring my massage gun usage over the space of a week has also underlined how I need to make sure I don't overdo it too much on the exercise front. A massage gun can be a useful tool, but you need to temper your workouts with some off days too. As I’ve found, keeping track of your activity makes you realise just how good it can be to alternate your fitness routine. 

So, some days it’ll be just the cross-trainer and other days, some weights. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Key gains

  • My muscles feel much more ready for the next workout session especially using an accompanying app
  • Muscle massage and careful monitoring has helped with managing my workout routines more effectively
  • Using a massage gun post-workout is a great no-calorie, low-stress way to wind down when you’re done in the gym
Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.