Some people are simply blessed in the genetics department when it comes to physical fitness. Others are not natural athletes, but with hard work they are able to achieve certain fitness goals. And then there are some like me who know that athletics is simply not one of their strengths, though not due to lack of effort.
My body is too tight – and not in a good way. I’m just inflexible to the point where I sometimes barely touch my knees. However, some days I have a win and am able to get my fingertips to hit a stain on my chest about 2 inches below the knee cap. Despite countless years of stretching, physical therapy, and exercise five days a week, this is the greatest progress I have ever made.
This lack of flexibility coupled with an equally embarrassing lack of coordination means I just wasn’t made to be an athlete, and that’s fine. However, I started running in my 20s and have stayed with him ever since – not because I’m good at it, but because of the impact it has had on my mental health. Thus, despite the challenges and physical constraints of my body, I run marathons and half marathons.
Over the past two years, I have also thrown Orangetheory drills into the mix. With the help of my dedicated trainers, I have been able to modify various exercises to suit my limited range of motion. But after noticing my mobility difficulties, a trainer asked me if I had ever tried a massage weapon, especially the Hyperice Hypervolt.
Sean Lynch, a certified personal trainer, Orangetheory trainer and studio owner, has seen effective shock therapy in his personal recovery from sport-related workouts, and he shared his experience with me after observing the issues with which I was having cramps in my legs, hips and joints along with back pain.
The massage weapon he suggested targets large and small muscle groups, providing a concentrated deep tissue massage. “Massaging primary and secondary muscles from sport-specific workouts or HIIT relieves stress, increases blood flow and dissolves scar tissue,” he explained. “This increases ROM, thus reducing the potential for injury and improving recovery time after training.”
Although I was skeptical, I have used the Hyperice vibrating foam belt before and appreciate how it helps my pain in the IT belt after long runs. Plus, working from home during quarantine has undoubtedly impacted my backpack thanks to the extra time sitting in a makeshift work area that is not at all ergonomic. So I decided to try the massage weapon.
This handheld device offers three vibration levels with up to 3,200 beats per minute (PPM), allowing you to apply the right pressure to each part of your body. It also comes with five different head attachments to target specific areas. It weighs under 3 pounds, takes up to two and a half hours of use per charge, and works with a Bluetooth-enabled app that can control speed.
The full revelation: As soon as I lit this little power ball and pushed it into my joints, it hurt – but in the best way possible. And as I increased the speed, the noises coming out of me were pointing – this kind of targeted message was not a joke, it was just what my body needed.
Lynch recommended that I start with larger muscle groups in the lower posture and increase to the next speed depending on how I was feeling. After 15-20 minutes of using it on my back, groin and legs for the first time, I felt a noticeable change in the overall tightness of my body. A quick bending test showed that I could easily cross my points and get closer to touching my toes than I had ever had.
To be clear, this is by no means a permanent adjustment or cure, but it has become a tool I try to use every day, if not both before and after each workout. Becomeshte made a routine before and after exercise for which my back thanks me.
Other massage tools to buy
In addition to Hyperice Hypervolt, here are other recommended massage weapon options to consider.
Theragun Prime is designed with an ergonomic multi-glove handle that helps you hold the massage gun more comfortably in various positions. It also has intelligent application integration that recommends routines based on your activities and a customizable speed range between 1,750 and 2,400 PPM. It also comes with four attachment heads and a lithium-ion battery with 120 minutes for charging.
In addition to a lifetime warranty, this deep tissue massage gun comes with a carrying case and four head attachments aimed at different parts of the body. Alsoshte is also portable, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a rechargeable six-hour battery, as well as five different intensity levels with up to 3,200 RPM.
The M3 Pro Max has up to six hours of battery life on a single charge and four speed intensity settings up to 3,300 RPM. Weighing 2.5 pounds, it has a 15-minute automatic lock and comes with five headbands as well as a carrying case.
Although not a massage weapon, this vibrating foam roller provides high-intensity three-speed vibration that is worth noting, in my experience. The vibrating rechargeable lithium-ion battery is located at the core of the foam roller and is wrapped in a dense polypropylene foam. Provides one-touch speed control and up to two hours of use for one charge.
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