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Sore or tight muscles are a clear sign that you made your body work hard, and the muscular breakdown will result in a build-up of stronger muscle fibers. But these new fibers also need to be massaged to ensure you maintain elasticity and range of motion in your body.
Many people forget to stretch after working out and the days following weight training exercises but it’s crucial to stretch and massage these muscles to help avoid tightness and tension in the fascia, the tissue that covers your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Stretching and massaging are effective ways to help reduce future injury or ripping of new muscle and connective tissues.
Some people do get full-body massages, but they’re often too expensive to get regularly. Instead, people will opt for buying personal-use tools such as a massage gun or a foam roller. But which one is best to help you get the myofascial release your muscles and soft tissue need?
First, Why is Myofascial Release So Important?
Before grabbing that massage gun and hitting your sore spots, it’s important to understand what myofascial release is and how it aids your body with healing from sports and exercise. The body craves balance. When you are breaking down and re-building muscle, AKA working out, your body is going through a period of tension and compaction. When you make your fascia more pliable, it allows the body to release that tension and increase mobility.
Exercise isn’t the only reason for myofascial release. The fascia can become tight or inflamed from poor posture, dehydration, injury, stress, and even lack of exercise/ movement. Plantar fasciitis is an example of the fascia becoming so tight or inflamed that it causes pain. Without a myofascial release, the muscles and joints of the body get accustomed to limited mobility. This reduces your body’s ability to move joints with control through a range of motion.
To keep the body healthy and mobile, you need to keep your fascia healthy and elastic. When you lose mobility or range of motion in one part of your body, other parts start to compensate for it. This can lead to long-term issues over time, and increase your risk of injury.
Foam rolling and percussive therapy, also known as massage gun therapy, are both excellent options for myofascial release. The function of each of these items differ, and they both have benefits and drawbacks to myofascial release.
How to Use a Foam Roller
Foam rollers have been a crucial tool for athletes, physical therapists, yogis, and many others. They come in various shapes and sizes, some are small enough to fit in your carry-on luggage, others might be bigger than an elementary school student. They also come in different densities and textures to meet specific physical therapy needs. As the education and importance of myofascial release, stretching and massage are becoming more known among athletes and fitness enthusiasts, foam rollers are becoming more popular.
Foam rollers are an effective, low-cost, and simple tool to help improve your workout recovery. Along with the myofascial release, these tools can massage the lactic acid out of tense muscles. This will help you get a greater and even faster recovery from a vigorous workout.
Some people may be a bit confused or feel awkward their first time using a foam roller. Based on the type you have, they can be used to support myofascial release to the fullest.
The longer, large foam rollers help in rolling the posterior of both legs at once. They’re also great to roll along the back and shoulders. A roller with higher density can be great for massaging the upper and mid-back, relieving shoulder and neck tension, and massaging the bottom of your feet. The smaller rollers make for a quick and easy neck massage.
Benefits of Using a Foam Roller
Foam rollers can have tremendous benefits on your workout-recovery routine. Some of the most notable are:
- They’re easy to use on tight muscles with knots.
- They can be used to target the larger muscles/ areas of your body.
- They are a more cost-effective option to help myofascial release and can be performed easily almost anywhere.
- It is a lightweight tool that allows you to bring it along when you travel.
- It can aid overall workout recovery and relieve muscle pain and tension.
- It can aid in improving flexibility.
Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey, or have been a lifelong athlete, you can use a roller to your advantage with a little practice.
Where a Massage Gun Beats a Foam Roller
Whether you have tension in your back or need relief in your legs, a foam roller can be an excellent tool to relieve your pain. However, for some knots and deep muscle areas, a foam roller falls short, and only a trained masseuse or massage gun can help. The drawbacks of a foam roller include:
- It cannot provide you with a deep, intense massage.
- It cannot reach smaller areas of the body, such as the trapezoids.
A foam roller can be used to relieve everyday muscle tension. When used correctly, they can provide relief without negative impact. But for those hard-to-reach areas, and more intense physical therapy, the massage gun can be a powerful tool.
How to Use a Massage Gun
Massage guns are a must-have tool for serious trainers and professional athletes. This percussive therapy tool can relieve muscle tension and soreness from your body to help you continue your training and get a better night’s sleep after a hard workout. Much like the foam roller, a massage gun assists your body to remove lactic acid from the muscles after a workout.
It’s important to remove the lactic acid from your muscles because this acid causes you to feel sore. Percussive therapy targets the area that needs release and applies strong pressure to provide a quick and accurate way of recovery.
The power, intensity, and speed of a massage gun might take some getting used to, and with sore muscles, it can even be slightly uncomfortable. After a few sessions of this supercharged massage, the soothing rhythm and pressure of the massage gun will bring tension relief and massive healing benefits.
The Benefits of Using a Massage Gun
The benefits of a massage gun are much like a foam roller, but you can get even more performance from it. Some of the most notable benefits of a massage gun include:
- It provides a deeper massage from the high pressure.
- It provides instant relief after a tough workout.
- It can target smaller, hard-to-reach areas such as the front shoulder muscle.
If a vigorous workout leaves you with muscle soreness, tension, and aches the massage gun can provide you with instant relief, but that does not mean there are no drawbacks to a massage gun.
The Drawbacks of Using a Massage Gun
Before purchasing a massage gun it would be helpful to do some research on what type to buy and more importantly, how to use them. Most massage guns only have one setting for intensity. Other drawbacks include:
- It may be too intense for people who are sensitive to massages.
- It can only cover a small area at a time.
- Covering a small area at a time can be time-consuming.
- A massage gun can be costly, often $500 and up
The use of a massage gun is most beneficial for serious athletes and avid fitness enthusiasts whose regular exercise requires regular and rapid relief. It can also help people who want relief in a muscle area has to be targeted.
Why It’s Important to Use a Recovery Tool
Working out develops muscle from tears and stress. Muscles “grow” when they are in resting periods between workouts and your body heals the torn tissue with more muscle fibers. Your muscles need adequate resting time to recover, as well as adequate tools to help them adapt to more stress.
If you do not give your body enough time or release to heal, then you can experience overtraining symptoms such as chronic joint and muscle pain. You can develop micro-tears on your muscles from working, these swell or inflame making it hard for you to even straighten your muscles. When you take workout recovery seriously, you help your body to recover from any type of workout, from weight training to cardio.
Pump and Recover with Archon Fitness Equipment and Accessories
Archon Fitness provides men and women with the necessary, durable, and professional tools they need to build strong bodies. Whether you want to create a gym at home or develop your commercial gym to empower the people of your local community, Archon Fitness has all of the tools you need.
Our inventory has some of the most crucial body-building equipment including Olympic bars and bumpers, wall racks, bands, and much more. You can even get your recovery with Archon’s specially designed massage gun for fast and targeted muscle relief.
We have high-quality fitness tools at a competitive price. Shop our inventory for your home gym or message us for a special price to help equip your commercial fitness center. Our mission is to help you and your community, not just fit, but Archon fit.