Whether you’re training to run your first 5K race, running to build up your stamina, or are simply “getting your steps in” to maintain your health, a massage gun can be a serious game changer to use after your run.
Recently, I’ve been trying to build my endurance by following the classic “Couch to 5K” running program.
The first few days were fine.
But then, I tried to push myself in my latest jogging sessions.
Unsurprisingly, it left my body a bit tighter than usual as a result. (That’s what I get for neglecting cardio for years.)
This is when I learned how a massage gun could seriously level up your running.
So have a seat, grab your massage gun, and let’s get started.
Where on your Body to Use a Massage Gun After Running
We’ll first start with the biggest body parts in most need of massaging right after a run, and then move onto the ones you could focus on later in your cooldown: first things first, right?
The most easily accessible muscles to use a massage gun on are your quadriceps, or “quads”.
As one of the biggest muscle groups in your legs, you can get a lot of relief after a run if you massage your quads first. Consider using the big ball or flat attachment so you can cover a lot of surface area.
You can use a medium to high setting here, as these are usually pretty strong and dense muscles. Start from your upper thigh area and work your way down the leg, to the part right before your knees.
An athlete’s developed quads. Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay.
Feel the muscle stretch as you pull down with the massage gun along your leg in little columns, until you cover the whole leg.
Don’t be afraid to spend some time here; this part of your legs has a lot of muscles that can get quite dense and tense, so make sure to give them some extra deep massage time.
This should take no longer than 2-4 minutes.
Next, is your IT Band (or iliotibial band) area. This is basically your outer thighs.
Be careful if you have pain or tightness in that area.
Use a low setting on your massage gun when starting off with your outer thigh area.
Prolonged sitting like an office-worker does can lead to pain in your IT Band, and you don’t want to make it worse.
Next are your hamstrings, or the back of your thighs. To reach these comfortably with a muscle massage gun, you have to sit at the edge of your seat.
Get a secure grip on the massage gun, bump up the setting to somewhere around the middle, and do a few runs along your hamstrings.
In my experience, hitting these biggest muscle groups first with the massage gun will give you the biggest relief right after a strenuous jog or run.
Next up are the smaller muscle groups used in running that you should attack next.
Smaller Muscle Groups You Should Use Your Massage Gun On After A Run
By this point, you should be sufficiently cooled down, while still having some flexibility after your run.
You’re going to need to stretch because the calves are the next target.
Sit up back deeper into the chair and bend down to reach your calves with the massage gun.
If you still lack some mobility with your back or ankles, try using a footstool.
Treat these like the quads massage we discussed in the previous section since your calves are a pretty big meaty part of your leg as well.
Use a medium intensity and go along from right under your knee, to near your ankle.
In my experience, I enjoyed the feeling of the massage gun on my calves near where they connect to the ankles.
That’s the part that I usually feel when I go out for a jog.
Feel free to go higher up on your calves if you have an imbalance when you run.
You can feel the muscle massage gun working its magic when you feel the tightness fade after you press onto your calves with the flat or ball attachment.
This should take you about 1-2 minutes.
Your shins are the next target.
If you have some experience running, you might know of the value of massaging your shins to help ease slight “shin splints,” which are the aching or throbbing of the shin area, according to WebMD. (Source)
Shin splints can be caused by bumping up the intensity of your jog, running on uneven or hard roads, among other things (of course, please see a therapist if you have a severe case of it).
For some slight soreness in your shins, use a gentle setting with the percussive massager because your shin bones are a pretty prominent part of your legs.
And be careful: it definitely won’t help with any pain if you hit your shin bones with your massage gun. Ouch.
Can you use a massage gun on your feet after running?
Yes, you can use a massage gun on the bottom of your feet after you run, but avoid the top, bony part of your feet. Use a medium-low intensity setting to quickly glide all around your soles. Don’t forget to wipe and disinfect the massage gun head when you’re done with it, especially if you used it directly on your feet.
The first time I used a massage gun on the medial and middle arches of my feet after I ran was quite something.
The slight soreness in my arches immediately lessened, and they felt much better.
However, you’ll soon find that it’s a matter of diminishing returns when it comes to using a massager gun on your feet.
While it feels good for a while, in my experience, you’ll quickly get to the point where a moment more with the machine would be uncomfortable.
You might even end up with a ‘pins and needles’ feeling on your feet that would last for a few dozen seconds after you remove the massage gun head from your foot.
That’s why, like I said earlier, use the massage gun to just glide around the different (but not bony) parts of your soles.
In conclusion, beginners can definitely benefit from using a massage gun after running.
It’s just a matter of knowing what body parts to use it on right after you cool down after a run to maximise its effects.
Sticking to the bigger muscle groups in the legs first, and then moving onto the smaller ones in sequence is the key to using a massage gun after a run or jog.
Want to level up your post-run cooldown routine already? Try out our Musclegun —delivered straight from Christchurch with no long overseas shipping times.