Taking care of your muscles is a crucial part of being an athlete. No matter how strong you are, if you’re too tight and full of muscle knots, you’re going to be in trouble. Stretching is definitely useful, but sometimes you need to bring in the big guns. Use these muscle massagers to work out knots, restore the right resting tension to your muscles, and speed recovery from your biggest workouts.
Here’s our picks for the best massagers:
Best Massage Guns
If you know anything about vibration massagers, you probably already know the Hypervolt. It’s one of the most popular high-end options, and you’ll definitely pay for it — but the battery life, noise, and pressure levels are tough to match.
With three speed settings and five included head attachments, you can customize the massage for your needs.
Also, note that this price is $100 off the normal price. It’s on clearance right now, and it’s a great time to grab it!
Massage guns can be extremely expensive. ExoGun thinks that doesn’t need to be the case. While they list the gun at $600, you can almost always find it cheaper. Right now, you can grab it for $159.99. Six speed settings and four attachments put it in “average” territory for features, but do you really need more than that?
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ExoGun has quite a few professional athletes endorsing their product. So even if it doesn’t have the name recognition of the Hypervolt, it does have a solid backing. This is a great choice if you’re not sure about the massage gun trend. If you want to try it out, don’t spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive one—get the ExoGun.
Remember going to Brookstone in the mall and sitting on their massage chairs? If you grew up in the 90s, you almost certainly do. Believe it or not, Brookstone is still around and they’re still making great body care products. This percussion massager is an alternative to massage guns and provides a similar experience.
Two handles make it easy to stabilize and position the Brookstone massager for maximum muscle relief, and you can choose from five speeds and three massage programs to get the best massage that works for you. The fact that it’s made of aluminum means you get a much more solid build than you would from many other companies.
Best Massage Chair
Sometimes you need a massage all down your posterior chain, from your glutes to your back to your neck. A chair massager like the Comfier Shiastsu Back and Neck Massager one is a great solution. All you need to do is turn it on and sit down! You can even pop this in your car for a massage immediately after your hike, run, ride, or climb.
With heat, air massage, and four different modes, you can customize your treatment with this massager. You can choose from rolling and spot massage on your back, and the four circling nodes will relieve tension all along your neck.
Best Massager for Knots
Many massagers aren’t great for traveling or for relieving tension in your feet. A spiky massage ball is perfect for both. You can use it to loosen your feet and calves (even your quads if you’re feeling quite masochistic), and it’s easy to throw in a gym or travel bag.
This Pro-Tec 3″ massage ball is firm enough to give you a solid massage without collapsing under your foot like some other options.
When you see a bright orange foam roller, you know it’s a Trigger Point GRID Foam Back Roller. The very solid PVC core lets you get deep into your muscles to find knots, but the slightly softer covering keeps it from being too painful.
Do the different zones actually do different things to your muscles? The jury is still out. But this is absolutely one of the best foam rollers available. And at less than $40 for the short, travel-friendly version, it’s worth trying out.
Everyone has tight shoulders and neck muscles. Sometimes it’s because you spend time on the bike or climbing. Most of the time, it’s because you work at a desk or spend a lot of time in the car. This cordless neck and shoulder massager’s eight shiatsu nodes will help you work out the knots whenever you have time.
By using the weight of your arms to keep the massager against your neck, Naipo keeps the weight and size of this device down, so it’s very portable. It also heats up to melt away tight muscles. It’s also rechargeable and cordless so you don’t need to worry about batteries (though you will have to remember to keep it charged).
Best Massage for Pain
Light therapy uses certain wavelengths of light (you’ll often see red light in these) to stimulate your cells and relieve your muscle soreness. It’s used in physical therapy offices and other professional settings, and machines that provide light therapy to athletes at home have been coming down in price.
The dpl Flex Pad pad is flexible, so you can conform it to whichever muscles need the most relief. Its 8″ x 5″ rectangular shape makes it a perfect fit for lower backs. Just strap it on, plug it into a battery pack or the wall, and let it run for 20 minutes. You’ll be back to feeling fresh in no time. It can also easily be used on dogs and for all your limbs.
The BioWaveGO is more of an injury treatment method than the other products on this list. It sends bioelectric therapy signals that are designed to stop pain signals from traveling through your nerves, thereby relieving pain and letting your muscles heal. This is a great solution if you’re injury-prone or are working through a recurring issue.
When you’re done using the BioWaveGO, you’ll probably feel a little sore, like you just received a deep-tissue massage, under the pads that stick to your skin. You may also feel some tingling or numbness. But you’ll almost certainly be feeling less pain. And that’s worth a lot.