Like other people, you learned from a young age that exercise IS necessary. But, you should also focus on something equally important: the post-workout recovery phase.

What you do outside of regular exercise matters. After moving around and lifting weights, your sore muscles need to recover completely. If you don’t, you might end up straining yourself or worse, suffer a long-term muscle injury. 

This is why you see athletes and fitness enthusiasts investing in recovery tools, like massage guns and foam rollers. To see which one’s best for you, let’s talk about it as you read on.

Someone's leg on top of a foam roller

What’s a Foam Roller, and How Does It Work? 

A foam roller looks exactly as it sounds. It’s a large, cylindrical tube made out of compressed foam. You would often see this in gym corners, waiting for you after the workout. 

Some foam rollers are smooth and soft, while others come in a solid, textured form. Recently, vibrating foam rollers also became the newest trend in the fitness world.

So, how does a foam roller work? 

At first glance, it looks like a simple, stationary piece of gym equipment. However, foam rollers might be more complicated than you expect.

How is that so? While many raved about its effectiveness, there’s a major disadvantage to using this recovery tool. You have to adjust to the device, not the other way around. 

Here’s a peek at how to use a foam roller after a workout: 

  1. Set down the foam roller on a leveled surface.
  2. Sit down and position your leg on top of the foam roller. 
  3. Tilt yourself back and forth, and let it do its work on your muscles. After a few minutes, switch your position, and make sure that the foam roller directly hits your sore spots.

Does that sound easy to you? Probably not. 

When you try a foam roller, be ready to get into different poses so that you can massage the right areas. It takes a while to figure it out, and you’ll probably get more tired trying to position yourself correctly. 

Asian man using a massage gun on his shoulders while sitting on his work desk

What’s a Massage Gun, and How Does It Work?

Since foam rollers aren’t so easy to use, let’s get into another popular option: massage guns. 

A massage gun is a portable massager you can use anytime, anywhere. It usually looks like a lightweight gun so that you can grip it easily. You might’ve seen this recovery tool on social media, carried by Olympic athletes, chiropractors, and fitness influencers. 

The great thing about massage guns is you can adjust them the way you want. It has various speed levels, which can go from relaxing to intense, with an easy click of a button. 

Massage guns also come with several attachment heads. Each one is for a specific muscle group. The more choices you have, the more you can customize your massage experience. 

This also means that a massage gun isn’t limited to large muscles only. It works wonders for small areas, too, such as your wrists and shoulder traps. Wherever it aches, this recovery device got you. 

Here’s how you can use a massage gun for the first time:

  1. Turn on the massage gun with one long press of the power button. 
  2. Choose your preferred speed level with another press. 
  3. Move it along your sore muscles, and let it do its magic. 

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to use. There’s no need to figure it out. With a tap of a button, massage guns can banish the pain away in light, quick “punches.” 

Because of how it works, it’s not only for myofascial release. It can also help you deal with chronic body aches. If you’re also recovering from a traumatic injury, this tool will be your best bet. 

Another feature to look out for is how ergonomic it is. Most massage guns are portable. They’re not as bulky as a foam roller. 

You can use a massage gun during work, at home, or the gym and no one will bat an eye. 

Woman thinking in front of yellow background

Which is Better: Foam Roller or Massage Gun?

So, now that we’ve tackled what massage guns and foam rollers are let’s discuss. Between these two options, which one is the best for you? 

Let’s weigh the pros and cons. 

Here’s what you get when you use a foam roller after a workout

Pros of using a foam roller:

  • It gently rolls out your tight muscles. 
  • It alleviates muscle fatigue and soreness.
  • You can use foam rollers by yourself rather than going to a massage therapist.
  • Foam rollers are excellent for large muscles, like the legs and back.
  • It can have additional features, such as textured surface and vibration.

Potential cons of using a foam roller:

  • Positioning yourself on top of the foam roller can be challenging, especially if you’re not flexible enough. 
  • You have to adjust your sitting pose every few seconds to make sure the foam roller hits the right spot. 
  • Targeting small areas of your body, like the shoulder traps, would be difficult.
  • Most foam rollers are bulky. You’ll need to exert some effort if you want to carry it around. 

On the other hand, here’s what you gain when you use a massage gun

Pros of using a massage gun:

  • Massage guns provide instant pain relief in a matter of a few minutes.
  • It helps in treating strained muscles, such as backaches, from moving too much, too quickly. 
  • Massage guns are also for patients dealing with chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia. It improves their quality of life.
  • In a recent study, massage guns can improve your range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength.
  • It provides a deep, targeted massage for your body. In this way, it’s more effective than any other recovery tool or method.
  • Massage guns have adjustable speed levels and attachment heads.
  • They are light enough to be maneuvered any way you want. 

Potential cons of using a massage gun:

  • Compared to foam rollers, massage guns can be pricey. 
  • If you don’t know how to use it, you might apply it on bony areas and aggravate the pain.

 

In summary, here’s an objective comparison between massage guns and foam rollers.

Massage Gun  Foam Roller
Pros: 

  1. Provides relief for tight muscles under 10 minutes
  2. Relieves chronic pain
  3. Improves muscle performance
  4. Adjustable speed levels 
  5. It can be used for large and small muscles
  6. User-friendly
  7. Portable and lightweight

Cons:

  1. It can be pricier than foam rollers
  2. It’s not made to massage bony areas of the body
Pros:

  1. Squeezes tension out of tight muscles
  2. Relieves DOMS
  3. Designed for large muscles
  4. It can come with textured and vibrating features

Cons:

  1. It’s not user-friendly, especially if you’re not flexible
  2. It requires you to move and shift positions
  3. It’s not made for small muscles
  4. Bulky and requires effort when carried anywhere

Man using the Hydragun on his shoulder blade

Choose the Best Recovery Device For You

Looking at the objective points raised above, it’s fair to say that a massage gun wins this debate. It’s more modern and easy to use. 

Plus, you won’t need to sit and move in different poses to relieve your sore muscles. Nor do you need to go out to a massage therapist for help 

Rather than all of those things, a massage gun can do the work for you. You can grip and maneuver it however you want. And it comes with adjustable features, like its speed settings and specially-made attachment heads. 

Now that we’ve made our point, we’re leaving the choice up to you. Do you think a massage gun is better than a foam roller? Have you tried both of these after your workout? 

Well, the best way to know for sure is to try it for yourself

If you’ve made up your mind and are looking for a massage gun, consider checking out the HYDRAGUN today. It offers a premium experience for a worth-it price tag. 

Positive reviews of the Hydragun

Positive review of the Hydragun

Plus, HYDRAGUN is the quietest massage gun in the market right now, as told by Forbes. Boasting a 97% rate of five-star reviews, you definitely won’t regret using this after your workout. 

 

 

References:

  1. To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
  2. The Acute Effects of a Percussive Massage Treatment with a Hypervolt Device on Plantar Flexor Muscles’ Range of Motion and Performance 
  3. Effects of whole-body vibration on quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength, endurance, and power in children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy: a randomized controlled study – Bulletin of Faculty of Physical Therapy 
  4. Safety and Effectiveness of Vibration Massage by Deep Oscillations: A Prospective Observational Study 

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