Tight muscles and soreness are inevitable if you are into any kind of physical activity or sport. Both conditions can be fixed easily with a consistent stretching and cool down practice. But we all know that most of us often skimp on that extra 10 minutes to stretch. That’s where the monthly or fortnightly trips to sports clinics for deep tissue massage come in.
But if you don’t like those either, is there any other way to drive the lactic acid out of the muscles and be nimble and mobile again? There have been plenty of devices overseas for years and, albeit late, some are now available in India as well. For instance, the hugely successful Hypervolt 2 from Hyperice, a company focused on sports recovery technology, that has partnered with Viral Kohli to bring its offerings to India.
What is it: Hypervolt 2, a percussion massage gun, was launched in India earlier this year. It is a handheld device with a neat straight line design that has five different attachments and three speed levels to massage different parts of your body depending on how much vibration you can handle. It has a fairly rechargeable large battery which gives three hours of therapy per full charge so you won’t have to plug it in for a while no matter how frequently you use it.
The effects of such devices have been the subject of academic study in the recent past. According to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health, percussion massage “uses rapid and repetitive pressure combined with vibration therapy. The massage head moves quickly and forcefully, applying pressure directly to your soft tissue, while the vibrations engage the outer layer of skin.”
How it performs: Starting with a simple full body massage to breaking down knots, if you can reach it, the Hypervolt 2 will do a good job of it. You could always wing it and use the gun to massage yourself the way you like it, but the Hyperice app is where all the magic is. The Hypervolt 2 connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth and can take you through a fully guided session for various parts of the body complete with clear instructions, video and also controlling the speed of the massager. It has a huge library of massage sessions covering almost anything and everything you might need to do.
The app also asks what activities and workouts you do, so as to better suggest the sessions you are more likely to need. I am lazy about stretching and travel often, so a deep tissue massage isn’t always an option. This gun has been travelling with me in my hand baggage for a month and it has not only helped me soothe my ankle and the soles of my feet after an intense game of football, but also provided relief from tight hamstrings after a long Crossfit session involving deadlifts and box jumps. The Hypervolt 2 has also been useful in tackling the mild back pain I experience from cycling, riding a motorbike, driving and running from time to time.
Benefits and shortcomings: The use of a percussion massage gun leads to increased mobility, reduced soreness after exercise, decreased delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and it can be used before a workout as a warm-up, after a workout and whenever you have tense muscles. I have used it for post workout and for relieving the tightness in neck and upper back often and it works. The guided sessions are fantastic. The app changes the speeds and tells you when it is all done and you need to move to the next body part with what attachment.
This is a DIY alternative to deep tissue massage, and getting to some parts of your back as effectively as a masseuse is going to be a bit difficult. It is about 800 grams in weight, among the lightest in the line-up of full sized percussion massage devices. However, it still needs a fair bit of strength to wield and use for long durations because of its high vibration rate. Despite the high vibration rate the Hypervolt 2 is extremely. This device certainly isn’t cheap and it has been priced out of reach of a big section of Indian fitness enthusiasts. Then again, the company started out with helping professional athletes improve by aiding their recovery, and it is making that same tech and innovation available to everyone, which is a good thing. Price: ₹30,999
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.