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Today we’ll be diving deep into best massage gun for runners, naming our best picks in a few different categories and explaining our reasoning in detail. Plus, we’ll also provide a bunch of useful, practical information for runners like you.
- Massage Guns For Runners
- What Runners Should Look For In a Percussion Massager?
- Best Picks
- And What’s The Best Theragun for Runners?
- How to Use a Massage Gun on the Achilles Tendon
- Best Massage Gun for Runners – Bottom Line
Massage Guns For Runners
You’re probably aware of the fact that literally everyone in the fitness industry has bought or is looking to buy a massage gun. In fact, much of the hullabaloo about these devices has mainly come from the athletes’ corridor.
Some have even decided to throw their money behind them; and why not, it’s wise to put your money where your muscles are.
Now massage guns have been around for quite a while. However, they started turning heads sometime in 2019.
From that point on many brands have jumped on the bandwagon and if you’ve not been keen, you may have been dragged along the road of confusion when deciding which device to buy. Knockoffs and refurbs are in plenty. Recently runners have been getting confused as well.
We know this because we’ve been getting a lot of inquiries from runners about this. We chose to do a post covering all we know about massage guns for runners. Not that you asked, but we are also a group of amateur runners ourselves.
In fact, Greg participated in the 2019 ACEA Maratona Internazionale di Roma (Rome Marathon) as a challenge for his 40th birthday.
He ran the whole race in a fairly decent time as for the first-time marathon runner.
Speaking from experience, massage guns have been a great answer for tight calves and glutes after a run. At first we used them as compliments to manual deep tissue therapy but now they’re pretty much our primary method for muscle recovery and myofascial release.
We thought we were overreaching until we checked out Reddit comments on the topic. Looks like a lot of runners are into massage gun therapy.
What Runners Should Look For In a Percussion Massager?
As runners we have found that there are two main occasions when massage guns have been helpful for us; the first and obvious one is after a run when deep tissue massage is needed, and second, just before a run, when you need to warm up and ease the tight muscles.
For the warm up phase, you’ll probably only need a simple device. We’ve heard of runners also needing a quick massage mid-racing to dispel lactic acid and get rid of fatigue before they can continue. Even then you’ll require a less intensive massage.
After run, however, you will likely need something more powerful for treating your legs, and this is where all the nitty-gritty details start to matter more.
Here are some things you’ll want to be keen on as you prepare to find something suitable for you.
Stall force just means the amount of pressure a massage gun can withstand during a massage. We often recommend a higher stall force for anyone looking for a good massage.
But what about runners? Now we know that most runners – especially long distance runners – have fully developed lower body muscles as a result of many years of training. That means that even though these muscles can be easily reached, it may take a bit of intensiveness to get to them.
So if you have large quad or glute muscles you’ll probably need a strong device for an effective massage.
However, you may not necessarily need the most powerful massage gun out there. We’re talking forceful guns like Theragun Pro that exceed 66lbs of stall force.
Provided a massage gun has 12mm or more amplitude and 40-45lbs stall force (or slightly more for a full-sized gun), you might not need more.
We will, however, caution you against going for cheaper and weaker guns ($100 or less) that will not even give you 30lbs. of stall force at the highest gear. As a runner, you need a deeper penetrating massage and such devices will not aid you in this. Look out also for devices that sacrifice too much of either the stall force or the amplitude.
Runners Massage Guns – Stall Force Comparison
The amplitude is how far the massage gun head travels back and forth as it hits the skin. This is what tells you whether a massage gun can actually perform percussive therapy.
As a runner, you need a deep tissue massage and the more amplitude a device has the better it will serve you. We don’t recommend anything less than 12mm stroke length.
Again, if you get a device with a longer amplitude then by all means go for it. However, this is only a good deal if the stall force is reasonable enough. Don’t be fooled by devices that promise 16mm amplitude but have less than 30lbs. of stall force.
In some instances however, you may see a device that has a higher stall force but with a slightly shriveled amplitude. In such cases, even though the amplitude may not hit deep, you can still get an intensive massage by pressing it hard on the skin.
Best Massage Guns For Runners – Amplitude Comparison
Conclusion: Only Achedaway Pro matches Theragun’s industry-leading 16mm stroke length. However, devices like Ekrin B37s or Everyfun M3Pro have plenty of stall force to compensate for the lower amplitude. It’s just a different characteristics. Minirex has only 10mm but it’s a mini one.
The amount of hits per minute you get from a percussion massage gun will determine how intensive a massage you can get. Here again the more hits (percussions) per minute the better.
As a runner, go for a gun that delivers at least 3000rpm on the highest speed level.
However, it’s not uncommon to find percussion massagers with far less hits per minute. For instance some high end guns will deliver just 2450-2500rpm. This is not a red flag, it usually just means the amplitude is longer, therefore, justifying the lowered percussions.
Pro tip: Beware of devices that promise up to 3800 percussions per minute only to hit you with 8mm amplitude. This is nowhere near percussive therapy level. It’s vibration therapy that may be appropriate for a warm up session but not good enough for an intense penetrating massage.
Massage Guns for Runners – Max Percussion Comparison
Conclusion: Theragun Elite revs up to only 2400 ppms, but it’s due to higher amplitude (less frequent head movements). Still, Achedaway Pro reaches 2800 with the same stroke length which is impressive. Models with 12mm amplitude rev faster instead, providing better intensity.
Programs and Speeds
We have included this because it can sometimes get confusing especially when a device promises too many speed gears. We get questions about this not infrequently. Does it mean that a device with more speed gears offers better intensity? Not necessarily.
We have seen good devices with 4-5 speeds that have served as well. We’ve also seen devices that promise up to 20 speeds. To be honest, these are a nightmare to work with. There’s no real value in having that many speed gears.
There are devices that have pre-programmed modes where the intensity changes over time. These are great as well. There are high-end massagers that come with a pressure sensor, meaning you can have a more consistent massage. As flashy as this may sound, it’s not something you must have.
Other Factors Worth Checking Out
- Build quality
A well-built massage gun with high quality materials will go the distance.
- Noise level
We shortlisted devices with a maximum 65dB of noise. You can have a conversation without having to raise your voice.
There are way too many heavy massage guns out there. The heaviest on our list weighs 2.6lbs. The rest are lighter.
Bigger is not always better. We prefer compact devices. Apart from the full-sized guns, we picked one mini massage gun for those who want a travelling companion.
The industry has struggled in this respect for a while now. We reward brands that try to be innovative here.
- Accessories included
We check for the number of attachments – usually 5-6 is enough for a whole body massage – travel case or pouch included.
- Brand Trustworthiness
We love brands that are willing to stand behind their products.
- Battery capacity & Time on Battery
This shouldn’t worry you so much because most devices have batteries that can last 1-2 weeks on a single full charge. Besides, bigger batteries mean heavier guns.
Cheaper models will offer nothing at all, a few may give a 1-year warranty. We take a hats off for brands that offer lifetime warranties.
- Value for money
Some devices offer more at a fair price, and some share generous discount coupons.
Here are our best massage guns for runners plus a Theragun for runners. First, a handy comparison table showing the key parameters we discussed above:
|Massage Gun||Stall Force||Amplitude||Percussions|
|Achedaway Pro||80 lbs.||16 mm||1700-2800 ppm|
|Ekrin B37S||56 lbs.||12 mm||2000-3200+ ppm|
|Lifepro DynaSphere||66 lbs.||13 mm||1200-2800 ppm|
|Everyfun M3 Pro||50 lbs.||12 mm||1800-3200 ppm|
|Theragun Elite||40 lbs.||16 mm||1750-2400 ppm|
|Rexogun Minirex||22 lbs.||10 mm||1800-3000 ppm|
Ekrin B37S – Best Overall
This is the quintessential runner’s massage gun just to let you in on a secret. The B37S delivers more than enough for any kind of running that you may be engaged in.
It’s the sequel device to the B37 that got Ekrin up and running as a massage gun producing brand. Ekrin made a few awesome modifications that have made the B37S even better (you may want to check full Ekrin B37S review here).
For starters, even though this new gun has a similar stall force (56lbs.) as its predecessor, it feels slightly more powerful in comparison.
The older B37 gun had progressive stall force depending on what speed you chose. The B37S is still progressive but 30% more power for each speed gear. To put it into context, the B37 will deliver intensive deep percussive therapy.
The powerful stall force is complemented by a more than enough 12mm amplitude. Now, even though more is better here, the 56lbs. stall force will more than make up for any shortcomings of the stroke length.
The percussion range is top-level as well, revving in at 2000-3200rpm. This is slightly similar to the original gun, the only difference being the lowest speed – the older B37 starts revving at 1400 percussions per minute.
It has 5 speed gears just like the original device but there’s a slight tweak on the 5th gear which has a pre-programmed dynamic mode that cycles between the highest and lowest speed.
Apart from the more than convincing performance specs, the B37S is a reasonably light gun, weighing in at just 2.2lbs. The angled handle makes for great ergonomics ensuring that you can reach more body parts.
It’s very easy to use as well. It also comes with 6 attachments which is two more than the previous device. It also has the “push and twist” locking mechanism for the attachments. It’s quiet, advertised as just 35-55dB but goes from 50dB to slightly over 60dB.
Other features include a force reactive meter that tells you how much pressure is exerted on the gun. It also has a Samsung branded battery just to let you know that it’s a quality product with quality accessories.
Their customer support is top notch and they’ll also throw in a lifetime warranty. You can use the promo code MGA20 to get a 20% discount that slices the price to just $263.99.
Achedaway Pro – Best for Professional Runners
Achedaway Pro is the second gun from Achedaway and we think it’s the best massage gun for professional runners.
The Pro is a powerful gun and we’ll recommend it for those who want something that will really dig into the muscle. It will serve you well if you have big well developed muscles.
You could also purchase it as a cheaper alternative to the Theragun Pro. The performance features are pretty much the same except for the fancy additions on the Theragun.
Talking of performance, this gun has an advertised 80lbs. stall force. We saw that and were amazed. However, when we got our hands on it, the stall force felt like 60-70lbs. which is still impressive to say the least.
The amplitude is 16mm, which puts it in the same caliber as Theragun Pro. We are yet to see anything longer than that in the massage gun world.
With that kind of power and punch, you can be sure the Achedaway Pro will deliver a deep percussive massage.
The percussion range is 1700-2800rpm with 5 speed gears to go with it. You don’t get the extra fancy mode as the one on the Ekrin B37S though. However, you do get a powerful 3200mAh capacity battery.
The only problem is that it drains away a bit quicker. Whereas Ekrin B37S gives you up to 8 hours of continuous use on a single charge, the Achedaway Pro will last for 2-4 hours only. The advantage, however, is that the battery is removable and you can purchase the gun with a spare battery if you need to use it extensively.
It’s quieter than the B37S though – 45dB to slightly over 60dB. Because of the large capacity battery, the Achedaway Pro is heavy – 2.6lbs. It’s the heaviest gun on our list.
It costs $299 but you can apply the promo code MGA25 to get a $25 discount. That cuts the price down to $274 for a single-battery version. The same gun but with a spare battery will cost you $344 after the discount.
Lifepro DynaSphere – For Advanced Runners on a Budget
We picked the DynaSphere because not only does it pack some interestingly powerful features, it’s also cheaper than our top two picks. So if you need something powerful and are a few bucks short, we’ve got you covered with the DynaSphere.
This runners’ massage gun is nicely and uniquely designed. It does follow the original T-shape kind of design with a straight handle, but it’s round. Lifepro says that the round design adds leverage when it’s pressed against the body, and we have to agree.
It has a powerful 66lbs. stall force given it’s a very compact gun (3.5”l x 5.3”w x 10”h). Not only that, the amplitude is 13mm, which beats our beloved Ekrin B37S. This is impressive if you want a deep massage.
The percussions range is 1200-2800rpm. This may not sound very impressive but we like how low you can start with this device. We believe this is the perfect gun to use for a warm up massage before you start running. It has 6 speeds to go with this as well. Even with the insane power, it’s surprisingly quiet – 50-60dB.
It’s light enough, just 2.1lbs. which makes it the lightest so far in our post. It doesn’t have any pressure sensor but it does have a USB output you can use as a backup phone charger. You never know when you’ll run out of phone juice, your massage gun just may come in handy.
It has 5 attachments, which is just about enough. The battery is 2000mAh juiced and will go to work for 3.5-7 hours depending on how you use the gun.
Lifepro is a top brand and will give you a lifetime warranty if you decide to purchase this device.
The price was recently reduced to $119.99 but you can still get a 10% discount if you use the code MGA10. You can then get it for only $107.99.
PRO Tip: Here is our full Lifepro DynaSphere review.
Everyfun M3 Pro – Affordable, For Amateur Runners
This is another affordable option. We recently tested and reviewed it and we must say we had fun with it. It has good features that we really appreciate. But there’s one feature that we’re certain runners will really appreciate should you decide to purchase it.
It’s reasonably strong with its 50lbs. of stall force. And this is delivered by a 70Watt motor. Keep in mind that the strongest massage guns often have over 120-150 Watt motors.
We noticed however, that the high stall force only works at the fastest speed. The lower speeds don’t take a lot of pressure to stall.
This means that it lags behind both Ekrin B37S and the Achedaway Pro. It does however, have a 12mm amplitude, which in our case will do the job just fine.
But the reason we included it in our list is because of its unique “smart pressure sensor technology” feature.
It’s not the same thing that Ekrin did with the B37S. Here, the pressure sensor doesn’t indicate how much pressure is applied on the gun.
Instead, when more pressure is applied to the gun, the intensity of the massage also increases. The feature only works on the 5th gear but we’re certain that runners will appreciate it especially during post-running massage sessions.
Otherwise, it weighs 2.3lbs. It’s the second heaviest in our list after the Achedaway Pro. The noise level is advertised as 45dB but once you insert a massage gun head, it’s more than 55-60dB. It is perfect for amateur runners. You do get a 15-month warranty.
If you decide to purchase it, you’ll have to part with $129.99. Use the coupon MGA5 to get a 5% discount here.
Minirex – Best Portable Massage Gun for Runners
The Minirex by Rexogun was designed for runners who need something that can easily fit in their bag. You’ll appreciate its size if you’re the kind of runner that travels a lot. This gun, even though small, surprised us with its top notch features.
For starters, the stall force is advertised as 22lbs. which is okay for a mini massage gun. However, when we used it and reviewed it, it felt to us like the stall force was 30-35lbs.
It gets even more interesting because the stall force is constant at all speed gears. This is impressive because most mini massage guns have progressive stall force. Only the top gear has the advertised stall force.
The amplitude is 10mm, which is perfect and more than enough for a small massage gun.
It revs at 1800-3000rpm across 4 speed gears. Despite its metal body – we’re not really sure it’s metal but it’s cold to touch – it only weighs 1.3lbs. If you’re an active person and always on the go, you’ll love this gun.
It doesn’t come with a carrying case or a pouch though. But you can easily throw it in a bag with a pair of running shoes if you want.
It has 4 attachments, which is just about enough for runners. It has a super battery that will last for over a week. It’s USB-C compatible for convenient charging. It holds this advantage over all our picks.
You can get it for $249 but with this link you get a $80 discount. You then only get it for $179.
And What’s The Best Theragun for Runners?
Theragun are the industry giants with their premium quality products. Runners who can afford a highly priced massage gun will be pondering over which Theragun to buy.
Theragun Pro is obviously the most advanced of the bunch but there’s a chance you won’t need its rotating arm or the removable batteries. We chose to go with Theragun Elite because it’s 30% cheaper yet still quite powerful. Theragun Prime doesn’t meet our criteria for at least 40lbs. of stall force.
Elite has precisely 40lbs. stall force. It also has the industry high 16mm amplitude. This means it can deliver both intensity and punch for a post-run massage. It will serve you well even if you are a heavily built runner. It has a percussion range of 1750-2400rpm. This is fine because of its longer stroke length.
It has an OLED screen and a built-in force meter. It has 5 speeds that can be adjusted via a dedicated app. It comes with 5 attachments and a carrying case.
But the main reason we included a Theragun is because of their innovative approach. We appreciate their unique designs and wonderful ergonomics (multiple grip options). We prefer them to the T-shaped Hypervolts.
- Elite is too loud for our liking. It’s over 70dB which is not that bad, but compared to the other guns, it’s the loudest. The Achedaway Pro is almost hush in comparison.
- The battery is so-so. One charge will only last 2-3 hours on continuous use. However, under normal circumstances, it should last up to 4-6 days.
- It’s pricey. With $399 you can get the Achedaway, a spare battery and still keep $55 (if you use the promo code MGA25).
- Just a 1-year warranty. At its price point we think it should have a lifetime warranty.
- For more details, head over to our Theragun Elite Review or check it out in Theragun’s store.
How to Use a Massage Gun on the Achilles Tendon
Most runners have been wondering if a massage gun can be used on the Achilles tendon. Studies(1) have shown that pressure massage can be used to take care of Achilles tendinopathy. However, each case may be different and the best thing may be to consult a professional.
But from what we have been told, and even practiced ourselves, using a fork attachment can lead to good results. We’ve also heard from people who have found the bullet head to be useful in this. We do however, caution you that this may be painful and even cause more harm.
The most effective, and safe way would be to take care of your calves(2). Here are the steps:
- A tight calf will add strain and stress to the Achilles tendon.
- Try and relax as you relieve tension in your calf which leads all the way down to the Achilles.
- Use the flat head. Or alternatively use the ball head if the flat head feels too intense.
- Slowly move the massage gun up and down the calf muscle. Apply moderate pressure and release the gun as you get closer to the Achilles.
- Keep it gentle. It’s better to go longer and lighter than too quick and too intense.
- Massage other muscles around the bottom of your foot. Use the flat head. Massage the front part of the shin (shin bone). The shin bone is often ignored by most people who don’t realize that if not taken good care of may cause imbalances in the body.
You can use the soft ball head if the flat head proves to be too intensive.
Best Massage Gun for Runners – Bottom Line
With that we end our post on the best massage gun for runners. We believe the choice will be a little easier now.
The Ekrin B37S is the best and most versatile option in our opinion. It is nicely designed with impressive features, plenty of power, awesome buying experience, and a lifetime warranty.
The Achedaway Pro is a great gun for pro runners with its top tier features, a viable alternative to top-tier Theraguns or Hypervolts.
If you want a good massage a gun for runners at a good price, you have two options in Lifepro’s DynaSphere and Everyfun M3 Pro. The Minirex is a portable option you can bring anywhere with you.
Good luck in your purchase!
ps. If you need a personal recommendation, feel free to ask us a question. Bye!
List of references:
- Using Pressure Massage for Achilles Tendinopathy: A Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing a Novel Treatment Versus an Eccentric Exercise Protocol
Stefan H. Stefansson, Sveinbjörn Brandsson, Henning Langberg, Arni Arnason
- Best Achilles Tendon Massages for Pain Relief
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