Sore, stiff muscles can keep you from doing the things you love. Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a workout enthusiast, or an average Joe, you deserve to feel your best. When it comes to relieving muscle tension and joint stiffness, there’s nothing as effective as a good massage. Professional massages can be expensive, however, and the cost adds up if you get them on a regular basis. A percussion massager is an alternative handheld device that delivers deep-tissue therapy and you can customize the massage to your needs. What makes a massage gun so great is that you can use different massage gun attachments to work different muscle types. In this guide, we’ll discuss the different attachments and how to use them properly.
Types of Massage Gun Attachments
For individuals struggling from stress, chronic pain, or muscle tension, a percussion massager can be a godsend. These handheld devices enable you to deliver deep tissue massage exactly where you need it, customizing the speed, pressure, and intensity of the massage to your exact preferences. What really enables you to get the most out of a massage gun, however, is the attachments it comes with.
Most massage guns come with at least three but generally five or more attachments. These attachments come in different shapes and sizes to target specific types of muscle.
Here’s a quick list of the five most common massager attachments:
- Flat round
While most massage guns function in a similar way, there are differences in terms of speed, force, and intensity. If you have concerns with specific issues or chronic pain, you may want to shop based on the number and type of attachments.
Keep in mind that some massage gun brands offer several different models, each with different attachments. For example, the Theragun from Therabody. The PRO model includes six Theragun attachments while the Mini has only four. Another popular brand, Wahl, also offers quite a variety including Wahl massager attachments designed to deliver cold and heat therapy.
How Do You Choose the Right Massage Gun Attachments?
If you’re not sure which massage gun head to use, it’s generally best to start with the most basic option: the round ball. This massager attachment offers a smooth surface, and the rounded design offers graded control. This simply means you can adjust the intensity of the percussion by tilting the head toward or away from the point of contact. The ball attachment can be used on all areas of the body.
Though you can certainly use the ball attachment on any part of the body, different attachments offer unique benefits for specific concerns.
Here’s what you need to know about some of the other percussion massager attachments:
While the round ball attachment delivers gentle massage, the bullet is designed for targeted specific places on the body. If you’re looking for deep-tissue massage action to release trigger points and relieve tight muscles, this is the massage head for you. Just keep in mind that the narrow design delivers an intense massage, so avoid using it on bony or sensitive areas of the body.
Also known as the spinal head attachment, the fork attachment has two prongs with rounded tips. This attachment is uniquely designed to target the muscles on either side of the spine. Because you’ll be using it close to the bone, you’ll want to exercise caution and it’s best to enlist the assistance of a second person rather than trying to use it yourself. Start by placing the massager at the top of the spine on one side and work your way down, avoiding the neck area.
Flat round massager attachments come in different sizes and they are designed to deliver percussive massage over a wide surface area. This attachment is ideal for large muscle groups like the calves or biceps, any muscle that has some “give” to it.
Similar in shape to the previous attachment, the cushioned round is also known as the pneumatic round. This attachment utilizes air pressure to cushion the percussive action. Cushioned massage heads are ideal for sensitive areas, especially muscles around bony prominences like the wrists and feet.
Some massage guns come with a bonus set of attachments in the same shape and size as the standards but made from aluminum rather than plastic or foam. These attachments deliver firmer massage and you can adjust the temperature by soaking the head in cold or warm water before use. Aluminum massage heads are particularly beneficial for swollen or stiff muscles.
Regardless which attachment you choose, it’s wise to start off on the lowest level of intensity when you’re first using a massage gun. These devices are designed to deliver percussive massage, so you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure. Move the massage head slowly back and forth over the affected area and don’t spend more than a minute or two on any one muscle.
Best Massage Gun: VYBE Flex Massage Gun
All massage guns are not created equal and, with so many options out there, we understand if you could use a little help making a decision. For its compact design and high-performance functionality, the VYBE Flex percussion massager is one of our top picks.
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Speeds: 3
- Power: 1800 to 3400 RPM
- Force: 25 lbs. of percussive force
- Attachments: 6
The VYBE Flex is a compact, portable massage gun that weighs in at just 2.2 pounds. The lightweight design combined with an ergonomic handle makes it easy to hold and an assortment of six different attachments means you can customize your massage to your needs.
This percussion massager delivers up to 25 pounds of percussive force and a 12mm depth of tissue impact. Choose from three levels of intensity between 1800 RPM and 3400 RPM with whisper-quiet operation no higher than 55 db. The attachments are designed for all types of muscle, enabling you to deliver a gentle massage to large muscle groups or targeted trigger point relief for stubborn knots.
The VYBE Flex is equipped with a rechargeable battery that offers up to four hours of continuous use. Plus, it all comes handily packaged in a portable carry case. Whether you’re taking it to practice, using it at home, or packing it in your carry-on, the gun will be kept safe.
If you’re tired of struggling with stiffness, soreness, or tensions, a percussion massage gun might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Most massage guns come with an assortment of different attachments, so you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Consider factors like size, weight, power, and speed when making your decision.
If you’re looking for a compact, high-performance model that goes above and beyond when it comes to percussion massager attachments, we recommend the VYBE Flex.