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Theragun review: The $400 percussive massage gun you don't really need

by Verona Plott (2020-01-17)


id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> The Theragun can be used to enhance workout recovery, performance, and more.

북창동마사지 & 화곡동마사지 ♪미녀의 초특급 서비스슈프림출장샵 슈프림출장마사지 슈프림출장안마 만나서 여자친구처럼 텔 같이 가요Theragun I start warming up for a workout and grimace, a lunge stretch kindly reminding me that my last gym session annihilated my legs. So I pause my warmup and start walloping my leg muscles with 40 pounds of force. Not with my own hands, though -- I let a Theragun do the work. Almost instantly, I feel great. 

Considered the gold standard in percussive therapy -- a massage technique to soothe sore muscles -- the Theragun brand has enthralled millions on social media with videos of toned muscles rippling underneath the force of this device, a la CrossFit Games champion Mathew Fraser. 

Theragun's portfolio of massage guns includes three different models, all of which are pretty pricey, especially now that a great deal of other sports equipment companies have released cheaper versions. 

Like all things, the Theragun has strengths and shortcomings. After a few months of testing out the Theragun Liv and the Theragun G3, I've come to a conclusion about whether either of these percussive massagers are worth the investment. 

Now playing: Watch this: The best fitness gifts to give this holiday season 5:04 What's great about Theraguns
The Theragun delivers on its promises. The main selling points are that it helps with workout recovery by releasing muscle tension and relieving soreness, it accelerates warmup and cool-down periods for exercise and soothes pain without any sort of medication or supplement. 

Theragun definitely does all of those things: In my few months of experience with the Liv and G3, I've noticed improvements in areas that athletes and recreational exercisers alike are keen on improving. Those things include: 


Quickened recovery time after strenuous workouts, especially long runs 

Improved range of motion when used before workouts, especially in the upper back and shoulders

In general, better muscle flexibility 

Immediate perception of pain relief when used on sore muscles 
In addition to all of that, the Theragun has actually helped me sleep better on more than one occasion. I'm terrible at sleeping: It takes me ages to actually fall asleep and once I finally do, my sleep tends to be light and fragmented (my Fitbit tells me I only get about 45 minutes of deep sleep each night -- yikes). 

I'm not sure what the mechanism is behind this, but I'm assuming that it has something to do with the relationship between strenuous exercise, muscle aches and sleep. On most nights that I used a Theragun after a very intense workout or when my muscles were particularly sore, I fell asleep faster and experienced fewer night time wake-ups. I also felt more rested throughout the following day and less of a need for a nap.  

This could be because the Theragun soothed aches that kept me from falling asleep or because it calmed my nervous system after intense exercise. Apparently this isn't just a coincidence: Theragun actually recommends using the device for two minutes on each major muscle group to down-regulate your nervous system before bed. 

In terms of the device itself, the Theragun is incredibly sleek and good-looking for a massage gun. Its unique triangular shape differentiates the Theragun from its competitors, which mostly all look like the speed radar guns that policemen point at cars on the interstate. 

The device feels sturdy in hand and features an ergonomic, adjustable head that allows you to massage your own back. It's still more convenient to enlist help from someone else, but if you're ever in a pinch, know that you can hit hard-to-reach spots on your own. 

The Theragun G3. It's well-designed, that's for sure.

Theragun What's not so great 
Compared to other massage guns on the market, both the Theragun G3 and Liv lack in features for its price point. You can find quality percussive massage devices with just one or two speeds for far less money. You can even find good massage guns with more features for less money. Of course, you won't enjoy "oohs" and "ahhs" from your friends if you purchase a non-Theragun, but if you aren't looking for brand praise, who cares? 

I also find that Theraguns don't offer any settings low enough to accommodate for extremely sore muscles, injuries or conditions like arthritis. I don't personally have any injuries or musculoskeletal disorders, but I do get sore often, and I've found the Theragun hard to use at times. 

If I experience severe muscle soreness, I'm hesitant to use the Theragun on those areas. If I do, I usually find myself having to hold the device slightly away from my skin so it doesn't punch to full depth. And if I have extremely tight muscle knots? Forget about it. I'll come back to the Theragun in a day or two when the knot has subsided a little. 

I wish there was at least one more softer setting on all of the Theragun models to accommodate for particularly sensitive days. 

My only other complaint: These things are loud. I'm pretty certain my neighbors think I'm drilling holes in the wall when I use the Theragun. When I use it on my neck, traps or shoulders, I swear I can feel my brain rattling around inside my head. It also sometimes makes my ears feel like I'm cleaning them with Q-tips, which is weird, but whatever. 

The newer models of the G3 are purportedly quieter than ever before, but I haven't heard such news about the G3 Pro or the Liv. 

The Theragun G3 in action.

Angela Lang/CNET Theragun G3 vs. Theragun Liv
Speaking of the three Theragun models, it's worth discussing whether the more expensive models -- the G3 and the G3 Pro -- are worth buying. 

To be frank, I don't think either is worth the extra money. For a few hundred dollars more, you get one additional speed setting and a few extra head attachments. 

Labeled "essential" (Liv), "premium" (G3) and "pro-level" (G3 Pro), the Liv really offers everything the average exerciser needs in a massage gun. In fact, even people who exercise very often and very intensely don't need much more than what the Liv can offer. 

Here's why I say the higher-end options aren't worth it: The lighter speed (29 repetitions per second) feels just as powerful as the standard speed (40 repetitions per second) that comes with all three massagers. Remember how I mentioned wishing that there was an additional soft setting? That's because even the soft setting on the Theragun G3 doesn't feel soft, at least to me. 

The battery life also increases as the price increases, but that still doesn't feel worth dropping extra money on. 

Who needs one? 
This question is a bit moot, because no one really needs a Theragun. It's an accessory to a healthy lifestyle, not an essential. Nonetheless, many people can benefit from and enjoy a Theragun. 

Anyone who experiences muscle soreness or general achiness can benefit from a Theragun, but those who exercise often or lead very active lifestyles stand to gain the most from any percussive massager. Even more so, athletes and those who are serious about fitness and recovery will probably find that a Theragun makes a welcome addition to their routine. 

The Theragun Liv, pictured here, probably has everything you need -- you may not need to upgrade to the more expensive models.

Theragun Why I love Theragun, but would buy something else
Despite the shortcomings described above, I still think that a Theragun is a great investment for athletes and people who live very active lifestyles. There's a lot of good in a Theragun: It might help you reduce stress and sleep better; it can most definitely relieve muscle soreness; and it might even improve your workouts by way of speeding up your warmup and increasing your mobility (super helpful for things like squats and overhead pressing).

But to me, Theragun feels like the brand name of percussive massagers. The Hydroflask to Contigo. The General Mills Cocoa Puffs to Kroger cocoa puffed cereal. Catch the drift? With Theragun, you're paying for a name and reliability -- you know that what you're going to get is good. But if you're willing to do some research, you might find that the store-brand cocoa puffed cereal is actually pretty great. 

If I were to shell out this much cash for a massage gun, I'd personally choose the Hyperice Hypervolt, which offers five speed and power settings, five head attachments, a three-hour charge and a near-silent experience that doesn't make ears rattle. That or the device from Achedaway, which offers about the same features for a similar price. 

If I were looking for a top-of-the-line percussive massage gun for a fraction of those prices, I'd go for the newly released Sportneer massage gun, which has five speed settings, six head attachments and up to 5.5 hours of battery life. It works amazingly well and only costs $120. 

So, to wrap all of this up, the gist is that Theragun makes high-quality, dependable products -- but they might be overpriced for your needs and they aren't the only option out there. 

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