Theragun G3PRO Review—Is Home Percussive Therapy Worth The Investment?
Theragun might not be a company you’ve heard of yet, but the way things have been going for the brand lately they’re definitely tracking towards becoming a household name. The reason for this is a trend that has been sweeping the massage and rehab world—percussive therapy. At a basic level, percussive therapy applies the same mechanism for recovery as a massage from a proper registered massage therapist; the soft tissue manipulation, in this case delivered in rapid pulsing form, helps to break down scar tissue, increase blood flow, and reduce lactic acid retention in your sore and aching muscles. My own RMT has been using a percussive therapy device as part of his treatments for a number of years, and it seems that use by professionals in his field played a major role in the recent boom of personal percussive therapy devices.
When the opportunity came to test the Theragun G3PRO came up, I was eager to see how the device stacked up against my prior ‘pro grade’ experience. I’ve been rehabbing a couple of injuries over the course of the last year or so—thoracic outlet syndrome, and other back/shoulder issues connected to having broken my left wrist in 2017 and right wrist in 2018 (long story). I’ve been seeing slow and steady improvement from my sports rehab practitioner, but I thought what better way to put the Theragun to use.
The Specs and Details
Being the top-spec model currently on offer, the Theragun G3PRO comes quite well equipped. That said, at $599 it pretty much has to, considering the going rate for its competition (Hypervolt, Timtam, Kraft, etc) is between $300 and $500. In the kit with the G3PRO percussive massager, you have two batteries, a charging unit, and a selection of quick-change head, ranging from large and round, to a dangerous looking point that so far I’ve been too afraid to use (more on that later). The majority of the kit packs away into a neat and well-padded travel case for easy storage.
Its two lithium-ion batteries deliver approximately 75 minutes of use each, with some variation allowed depending on the amount of pressure applied during use. Typically if you’re working targeted regions, you’re only using the Theragun for short periods of time, so there’s no reason for battery life to be a concern here unless you’re a massage therapist yourself, who intends to use the Theragun for treatments all day long. Interestingly several competitors use their longer battery life as a selling feature—don’t let that fool you into thinking that the competition has a leg-up at a practical level.
The unit itself is no slouch in the specs department. Its electric motor—of Japanese origin—delivers two massaging speeds, 40 and 29 percussions per second at an amplitude of 16mm (the range of travel of the percussive arm). Given that the majority of my use of the Theragun G3PRO was focused on areas that are a bit more tender, I consistently found myself stepping down to the lower speed setting, though for a post-workout application on thighs, calves, or biceps, the higher speed setting is more effective overall.
The adjustable head design of the Theragun is also a very handy feature for those planning on using the unit on themselves. A few of its counterparts also offer this feature, yet (surprisingly) the lower budget Theragun G3 and liv models have a fixed percussive head. To be fair, the triangular ergonomic form of its body gives all Theragun models a ‘leg up’, so to speak. At just over 3 pounds in weight, the G3PRO is easy to handle and maneuver without much stress or strain. Working your own back over takes some real getting used to, and something that you’re going to want to enlist help with if you have the option. If that’s not in the cards, you can get used to it, just expect a learning curve.
Using The Theragun G3PRO
If you’ve never had one of these percussive therapy devices used on you before the process might seem a bit daunting, but not to worry—Theragun has ample guidance available. The Theragun app (downloadable for free in iTunes or the Google Play store) is effectively an idiot-proof walk-through, complete with instructions pertaining to just about every condition you could be looking to treat with the device. Knots, Sciatica, cramps, jet lag, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and on and on the list goes, replete with instructions of what speed, what tip to use, and where to target the issue most effectively. I’m not convinced that the Theragun will do much when it comes to jet lag, though if you’re tall (like me) and deal with cramps and aches do to a lack of legroom, that there’s a good chance that a nice post-flight percussive massage on your thighs and calves could help loosen things up.
One of the first things you’ll note is that the G3PRO (and other models, for that matter) works fast. Regardless of muscle group, you’re typically sweeping a target area for maybe 15-30 seconds, and completing overall treatment in a couple of minutes—hence our earlier note about battery life. When treating my shoulders I would typically alternate between a handful of spots in the area for the half minute or so, and sure enough after maybe 90 seconds or so the targeted areas were already feeling much better.
With recovery tools of any sort, there’s always a question of how effective it really is. Sure, percussive therapy feels great in the short term, but is it actually effective as part of a bigger recovery plan? In my case, I would say yes. I was skeptical at first, as I am with any bit of new tech, but the timing of this test was a perfect opportunity to properly evaluate its efficacy. Over the course of several weeks of rehab for my right shoulder/Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, performing stretches and exercises between appointments, I was seeing slow but notable improvement.
Adding the Theragun G3PRO to the equation over the course of a few weeks, the level of improvement began increasing dramatically. It’s not one of those conditions where there’s such a thing as a magic bullet, and having a Theragun alone does not negate the need for professional treatment—whether physiotherapy, massage, or other—but as an added tool to help with muscle soreness, knots, post-workout pain, and other issues, I’m entirely on board with this.
The only other key consideration is obviously price. At $599, you obviously need to consider the amount of use you’ll get out of your Theragun. Are you motivated and consistent enough that you would use it daily, or even weekly? When you consider the national average cost for massages is $60/hour, 10 massages basically pay for this thing (if you think about it that way). Your RMT can get his hands into places that you can’t (unless you enlist a loved one to use the Theragun on you), and of course there are employee benefits that many folks have that will cover registered massage therapy, but not this new device. There are also more affordable competitors to the Theragun G3PRO that we will be testing in the future, but at least on paper this unit remains a top contender.
Percussive therapy is shaking up the massage and rehab world, with tools such as massage guns gaining popularity for effective at-home recovery. They can work wonders for muscle soreness, knots, post-workout pain, and many other issues. Sound familiar?
Well, we’re giving you the chance to win your very own pro-level percussive device: the Theragun G3PRO. It’s Theragun’s top-spec model, so you won’t be disappointed. Enter our giveaway below to win your perfect recovery tool for 2020 and beyond.
Enter below for a chance to win one Theragun G3PRO. Contest open to residents of the 48 contiguous United States and Canada. Must be 18+ years of age to enter. Contest ends at Thurs March 26, 2020 11:59 PM (EST).