It is essential to learn effective ways to ease out muscles before and after working out. Both foam rolling and massage guns can help promote blood flow to the muscle tissue, ease out knots, and help your body recover from exercise. Which tool is the most effective way to alleviate muscle soreness and aid recovery?
What are Foam Rollers and Massage Guns?
Foam rollers are cylindrical tubes made of foam, often covered in a textured material. They typically range from 6 to 36 inches in diameter, and the length is not limited. They're commonly used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and even medical professionals to perform a self-myofascial release, or SMR, to aid recovery and prevent tightness. Self-massage devices, more commonly known as "massage guns," typically come in the form of ergonomic handles that can be used to deliver high-pressure vibrations to your muscles. Massage therapists and medical professionals usually use them to relieve tightness in the muscle tissue.
How Do They Work?
Foam rolling and massage use the same basic premise of applying pressure between the foam roller or massage gun and your body, though they work differently.
With a foam roller, you simply position yourself on the foam roller and move the muscle you're working on to and fro across the tube. Some rollers include raised foam knobs that produce trigger points in the muscles and fascia to help remove knots and relieve stress. Foam rolling may be quite painful, especially in certain body parts, such as the top of the thigh, where the IT band travels down the leg. (It is typically recommended to avoid this region since it might create further inflammation and discomfort.) Any discomfort you experience will subside as the muscles and fascia relax. Self-myofascial release (SMR) is encouraged by the rolling movement. Rolling for at least 90 seconds for each muscle group is required for effective rolling, and the technique can be difficult to learn.
Massage guns may also provide SMR. However, the method is far more complex when percussion treatment is utilized to loosen the fascia and muscle tissue. Percussion treatment is a thumping action that works thousands of times per minute into the tissues. The repetitive vibration increases blood flow and aids in muscular relaxation. It also warms up the muscle and enhances its flexibility, resulting in better exercise, faster recovery, and a lower risk of injury. The best massage guns provide reasonably painless treatment sessions that last less than 15 minutes.
When Should They Be Used?
A massage gun may be the ideal solution if you have specific areas of stress that demand deeper pressure. A foam roller is hard to beat for general self-massage and myofascial relief.
The Final Verdict
Foam rollers and massage guns are better suited to different people based on their unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you're on a tight budget, are sensitive to strong massages, or just exercise occasionally, you can opt for a foam roller.
If you work out many times per week, love or require deep massages regularly, and wish to travel with your recovery equipment, you can consider a percussive massage device.
Although fitness trends come and go, it is evident that foam rolling and percussive treatment are here to stay. The advantages are undeniable, and both muscle healing procedures are simple to apply.
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