Most of us deal with sore muscles, due to the pounding they take from running, and find ourselves in need of a massage therapist from time to time. Perhaps you even get regular massages to keep those sore muscles under control. And maybe you’ve had your eye on a massage gun, as they are called, to help manage the aches and pains. In that case, let me introduce you to the Hydragun, a tool you didn’t know you needed until now. Recently, I was asked to review the Hydragun, and as an ultra runner, I can be found complaining about sore muscles a lot, it’s just part of the deal.
First, let’s talk about what a massage gun is, and what it isn’t. Massage guns offer what is called percussive or vibration therapy, and unlike your trusty foam roller, a massage gun targets specific sore spots with fast, repetitive motion, that works to improve blood flow, while reducing lactic acid, following a workout. As a runner, we all know the feeling of those super sore quads or calves after we get done with a good run. A foam roller will offer some relief in how it puts pressure on the sore spot, thereby “squeezing” the muscle, which focuses blood flow to the area, and breaks up the acid. But foam rollers often work large areas, and do not get to deeper tissue, such as in your glutes. And while a small, hard ball might help a bit, a massage gun, with the right attachment, gets right to the exact spot of soreness in a way that only a massage therapist can do.
The entire purpose of a massage, following a workout, is to aid in something called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). And while this might sound like an acronym made up by a marketing team, it is actually a scientific term used in multiple studies that support the use of massage guns. As Hydragun was being developed, the creators worked deliberately to create a product that would eliminate DOMS, while also speeding up recovery time. This doesn’t mean that a massage gun will take away all your soreness, but it will definitely speed up the recovery process and get you ready to go again quicker. Continued studies in this area obviously take the “massage gun” arena, as a whole, from a fun tool to own, to a must-have product used by professionals and duffers alike.
As for what a massage gun is not, it’s important to understand that unless you have a partner at home to help get to those hard to reach areas, you’re going to still need a LMT. And even with the help of someone at home, nothing replaces the knowledge of a professional when it comes to muscle therapy, especially if you’re nursing an injury.
However, with that said, Hydragun has created a high quality product that really does what it says it should. I’ve been using it every night for the past week, sometimes multiple times throughout the evening. Each time I go through a rotation of muscle groups, including my feet, legs, and glutes. The gun came with a great little guide that gives suggestions for the different attachments, and I have been experimenting with all of them. Here are a few observations:
First, charge the battery right out of the box. Mine expectedly only had about 2 minutes of life before it died. You would hate to be ready for a massage with your new tool only to realize it’s out of juice. After a 30 minute charge, I went for it. The Hydragun is surprisingly quiet, even on the highest setting, but I recommend starting out on the lowest setting to get used to how hard or light you should push each muscle. Every attachment has a sweet spot, so don’t be afraid to try them in different areas, then make notes about which ones work best.
One highlight is how well the gun works on my feet. I often use an old baseball to work on sore spots in my arch, or my pad, but the Hydragun gets right to it and is way more specific, especially in the spot right behind the pad, at the front of your arch. I started working on the sore spot with the gun, real carefully at first, but have already noticed a difference. Another highlight is how the gun is attacking soreness in my glutes and piriformis (i.e. butt). I’m not sure we need more details on my posterier than that.
Overall, I highly recommend the Hydragun to any runner looking for relief from muscle soreness. Read below for a discount code through 1/5/21.
Where To Buy: Online at the Hydragun site. Cost is $299
Use discount code RUNOREGON50 for $50 off – active through January 5, 2021.