As a runner, you are undoubtedly familiar with the discomfort that comes from the jarring impact of your feet striking the pavement. This discomfort may manifest as soreness or tightness in your muscles. To alleviate these physical sensations, runners often utilize massage guns as a means of decreasing muscle tension and hastening the recovery process. However, a lingering question remains: is it best to use a massage gun before or after running?
In this post, we will consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you determine which choice is most appropriate for your needs.
What is a massage gun?
A massage gun is a handheld device that delivers percussive therapy to your muscles. It uses rapid, powerful strokes to stimulate blood flow, break up knots and adhesions, and increase range of motion. Massage guns can be used before or after exercise to improve performance and reduce soreness.
Related Reading: The Best (And Worst) Percussion Massage Guns
Benefits of using a massage gun before running
Using a massage gun before running can have several benefits, including:
Improved blood flow
Massage guns help to increase blood flow to your muscles, which can improve oxygenation and nutrient delivery. This increased blood flow can help to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness, allowing you to perform at your best.
Increased range of motion
By breaking up adhesions and knots in your muscles, massage guns can help to improve your range of motion. This increased flexibility can help to prevent injuries and improve performance.
Using a massage gun before running can help to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the workout ahead. This can help to prevent injuries and improve your overall performance.
Drawbacks of using a massage gun before running
While there are benefits to using a massage gun before running, there are also some drawbacks to consider. These include:
Risk of injury
Using a massage gun too aggressively or on sensitive areas can cause injury. It’s important to use the massage gun properly and avoid overuse.
Reduced power output
Some studies have shown that using a massage gun before exercise can reduce power output. This could potentially have a negative impact on your performance.
Over-reliance on massage gun
Using a massage gun before every workout could lead to an over-reliance on the device. It’s important to continue to stretch and warm up properly to avoid becoming dependent on the massage gun.
Benefits of using a massage gun after running
Using a massage gun after running can have several benefits, including:
Reduced muscle soreness
Massage guns can help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness after exercise. This can improve your overall recovery time and allow you to perform at your best.
Related Reading: How To Use A Massage Gun On Muscle Knots: A Guide
Faster recovery time
By stimulating blood flow and breaking up adhesions, massage guns can help to speed up the recovery process. This can allow you to get back to your training routine more quickly.
Using a massage gun after running can help to improve your flexibility and range of motion.
Related Reading: The Best Budget Massage Guns $150 Or Less
Drawbacks of using a massage gun after running
While using a massage gun after running has many benefits, it also has a few drawbacks to consider, including:
Delayed onset muscle soreness
Some people experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after using a massage gun. This is a type of soreness that typically sets in 24-72 hours after exercise and can last for several days.
Risk of injury
Using a massage gun too aggressively or on sensitive areas can also cause injury. It’s important to use the massage gun properly and avoid overuse.
Overuse of massage gun
Using a massage gun too frequently can lead to overuse and potentially cause more harm than good. It’s important to use the massage gun in moderation and to incorporate other recovery techniques into your routine.
Whether you use a massage gun before or after running depends on your personal preference and goals. Using a massage gun before running can help to improve blood flow, increase range of motion, and enhance your warm-up.
However, it’s important to use it properly to avoid injury and over-reliance. Using a massage gun after running can help to reduce muscle soreness, speed up recovery time, and improve flexibility. But, like before running, it’s important to use it in moderation to avoid overuse and potential injury.
Complimentary therapies to massage guns: Eye massagers, Muscle stimulator, Infrared Sauna, Vibration, Foam Rolling
These studies support the benefits of using a massage gun and/or massage before or after running, including improving blood flow, range of motion, reducing muscle soreness, and speeding up recovery time. They also highlight the importance of using the massage gun properly to avoid injury and overuse.
- Cheatham, S. W., Kolber, M. J., Cain, M., & Lee, M. (2018). The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. International journal of sports physical therapy, 13(4), 474-482.
- Crane, J. D., Ogborn, D. I., Cupido, C., Melov, S., Hubbard, A., Bourgeois, J. M., & Tarnopolsky, M. A. (2012). Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Science translational medicine, 4(119), 119ra13.
- Harper, M., & Ingman, K. (2019). Effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roller or roller massager on joint range of motion and neuromuscular efficiency: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 23(2), 368-380.
- Jay, K., Sundstrup, E., Søndergaard, S. D., Behm, D., Brandt, M., Særvoll, C. A., … & Andersen, L. L. (2014). Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: randomized controlled trial. International journal of sports physical therapy, 9(1), 82-91.
- Poppendieck, W., Faude, O., Wegmann, M., & Meyer, T. (2016). Cooling and performance recovery of trained athletes: a meta-analytical review. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 11(3), 353-357.