VYBE Pro Massage Gun Review
Muscle massage guns are gaining a lot of popularity, and there’s science to back up their use. Especially when used prior to your workout, these products have shown to increase range of motion for more effective performance. They’re also proven effective in decreasing the impact of delayed onset muscle soreness. Whether you’re a serious athlete who engages in rigorous training or just workout a few times per week, you could stand to benefit from percussion therapy.
I’ve spent the past month using VYBE’s Pro massage gun. As a group fitness instructor who leads both cardio and strength training classes five days per week, I’m no stranger to the muscle tension, soreness, and pain associated with athletic training. If you’ve tried methods like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and found it didn’t provide the relief you were expecting, keep reading to see if percussive therapy could be the right choice.
I Recommend the VYBE Pro if You:
- Suffer frequently from exercise-related aches and pains
- Have an average BMI and don’t have high muscle mass or subcutaneous fat
- Want a quiet massage gun
- Have targeted areas of concern like IT band pain and need more attachments
- Want to increase athletic performance with increased range of motion
- Have sagging skin following weight loss
- Sit in a chair for long periods of time and have related muscle tension
What Is Percussive Therapy?
Percussive therapy combines rapid, repetitive pressure with vibration to soothe sore muscles. While an excellent option for use before and after workouts, it can also improve blood flow and increase range of motion for less active individuals. This can be a notable benefit for people who sit for long hours or have mobility issues.
Depending on the type of muscle soreness you have, most massage guns provide multiple attachments to target specific areas. While the VYBE V2 provides three heads to focus on the larger muscle groups, VYBE Pro further targets trigger points with eight attachments.
VYBE Pro Head Attachments
Depending on the type of head attachment you use, the delivery of each blow of the massage gun will be targeted differently. With eight options, you can very precisely target muscles when you have a specific area of concern, or you can more broadly focus your attention on larger muscle groups. Let’s take a moment to break down each option for a better understanding of the many ways you can use the VYBE Pro.
When you have a very specific area of concern, the bullet head attachment is designed to pinpoint these areas more directly. It’s important to note that, especially when using a highly-targeted head, focusing on an area too long can have the opposite effect you’re going for. While you can use attachments like the large ball for 1-2 minutes, the bullet head should be used for shorter periods of time to avoid issues like bruising or increased muscle tension.
Another precision-point attachment, the Knot Blaster Pro is similar to the Knot Blaster, but it’s longer and delivers a heavier blow for deeper tissue massage. In my experience, I found the metal Knot Blaster to do a better job of gliding smoothly over bare skin, thus resulting in a more effective deep tissue treatment. I’d like to see the Knot Blaster Pro offered in a metal version. Since the Knot Blaster Pro provides such deep tissue targeting, it’s important to take breaks throughout use to avoid bruising and/or increased tension.
Much like the bullet head, the Trigger Cone is designed for highly-targeted massage. Its pointed tip is able to dig even deeper into the muscle tissue, allowing for a more intense percussive massage. This attachment should be used for precise areas of tightness or soreness and shouldn’t be a primary-use tool.
The muscle knob is notable for its flat top that works to widen the surface area. Unlike the bullet and trigger heads, this type of head provides a firmer massage and can be suitable for muscle groups that are close enough to bone that would be uncomfortable using the large ball such as the shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Because the design allows for minimal flexibility and high pressure, avoid use around bones and/or ligaments.
The Large Ball attachment is the most versatile and well-aligned for larger muscle groups. It can broadly address areas like the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Cross-friction massage on areas like the infrapatellar tendon can be achieved when you turn the gun sideways. Its size allows for more flexibility and use for muscles that are too sore for the more targeted head types.
The Wedge Head is advertised as being useful for the IT-band, back, neck, and waist. I agree with all but one. Using percussion therapy to the neck comes at the risk of arterial tears and interference with blood flow to the brain. If you have neck tension, I’d recommend focusing on the shoulders and traps.
With the being said, the shape of the wedge head does make for a great way to target narrow areas like the IT band and waist. Like some of the other more specialized tools, you probably won’t use it often, but, as the need arises, you’ll know when to use it.
A highly-specialized head, the Wishbone is unique as it targets muscles that are located on the sides of bony areas like the spine. It can be especially helpful for the Achilles tendon as tears often occur on the sides. You should always use massage guns around the spine with caution, and the Wishbone tool is a good choice if you have trigger points in this area. I’d recommend having someone give you a hand if using along the spine, and never use it directly on the spine or neck.
Tendons and soft tissues can be tricky to effectively target. If you suffer with tendonitis, using the Flathead attachment can help relax and strengthen the impacted area, thus allowing for a quicker recovery. I suffer with IT band issues following endurance runs, and I’ve found the Flathead attachment useful. Since the IT band can’t be stretched, using percussive therapy to press it down offers relief.
VYBE Pro Features
VYBE Pro includes eight attachments for targeted precision. (Photo by Jessica Jones)
To thoroughly assess a massage gun’s power, there are three metrics we need to delve into. Let’s take a moment to break down the VYBE Pro’s stroke length, speed, and stall force to size it up.
A massage gun’s amplitude is also referred to as its stroke length. In layman’s terms, it’s the distance the arm moves back and forth with a longer distance indicating a more powerful punch. I like to compare it to punching something. If the object is closer, you won’t be able to fully extend your arm, thus reducing the force applied. When amplitude is lacking, you’re getting vibrational therapy as opposed to the percussive massage provided by muscle massage guns that penetrate much deeper into the muscle tissue.
Muscle massage guns vary in amplitude from around nine to 16 mm. So, how does the VYBE Pro stack up? At 12 mm, it’s mid-range. If you need something that penetrates more deeply, check out my review of the VYBE V2. It doesn’t have as many speeds or attachments, but it features a 16 mm amplitude, and this can be helpful if you carry a lot of weight. However, if you have an average BMI and don’t have a high muscle mass or subcutaneous fat, 12 mm is sufficient to dig deep into the muscle tissue.
Massage gun speed impacts its ability to achieve the desired effect of relieving muscle tension and soreness. Products on the market vary, but the range you should expect for productive percussive therapy is 1,500-2,400 RPMs. VYBE Pro features a top speed of 3,200 RPMs, and speed is incremented in nine levels easily controlled by + and – buttons located on the handle. Where the VYBE V2 has a longer stroke length, it tops out at 2,500 RPMs.
VYBE Pro speed is controlled with + and – buttons on the side of the handle. (Photo by Jessica Jones)
My biggest complaint about the VYBE Pro is the stall force. This represents how many pounds of force you can apply against your body before the motor stalls. There is a large range, but most products are between 20-60 lbs. VYBE Pro weighs in at 33 lbs, which is on the lower end of the spectrum.
Sure, VYBE Pro has a wide speed range, but, when you’re unable to press it against your muscles, you lose a large degree of deep-tissue penetration. VYBE heavily advertises the nine speeds, but, keep in mind, this just means the gun is calibrated to increment it’s RPM range in nine segments. This doesn’t mean much considering they could increment the levels in lesser RPM segments to make it 10, 15, or even 20 speeds if they wanted to. This goes to show the importance of considering all three metrics of overall power.
I love the look and feel of the VYBE Pro. It’s very easy to maneuver due to its long handle, making it more attainable to get to those hard-to-reach areas. Constructed using a combination of durable plastic, rubber, and metal, it’s a sturdy product without being too heavy.
As you do your research, you may come across complaints about the plastic attachments overheating. This was, indeed, an issue to the point that some of the heads were reportedly melting. The good news is that VYBE has received that feedback and addressed the issue. While the gun can get hot, it’s no longer overheating.
An average battery life for a muscle massage gun is around 2-3 hours, and the VYBE Pro exceeds expectations. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery can last 3-4 hours, making it reliable when you need it most. I used the VYBE Pro for around 5-10 minutes per day and only had to recharge, on average, once every 8-9 days.
Where VYBE Pro is lacking in power when compared with the V2 model it makes up for in quiet operation. If you aren’t an athlete and just need something to work out the kinks after moderate exercise, you may prefer the quieter VYBE Pro that provides sufficient power for your needs without making a racket.
To put things into perspective, I used a noise meter to see how loud the VYBE Pro is at its lowest and highest settings, and it ranged from 35-53 dB. This would range from the sound of a whisper to a household refrigerator. The V2 tops out at 77 dB, which is comparable to a garbage disposal. Considering the higher RPMs and considerably lower noise output, VYBE Pro is the clear winner in terms of noise.
My Final Verdict
The VYBE V2 wishbone attachment is a go-to for Achilles tendon pain. (Photo by Jessica Jones)
At the end of the day, is the VYBE Pro a good muscle massage gun? I love the strategic design and was able to reach areas on my back that I was unable to achieve with products featuring shorter arms. It’s quiet even at its fastest speed, and I’m a big fan of the versatility through the eight different head attachments. This is a huge advantage for anyone who struggles with highly-targeted areas of tightness or athletes who frequently experience tension in different areas of the body. I like to put my metal attachments in the freezer for an added inflammation-reducing benefit.
My primary concern with the VYBE Pro is its overall lack of power. Although it has a high top speed, the amplitude is mid-range, and stall force is on the lower end of the spectrum. If you have a lot of muscle mass or subcutaneous fat, you may find it difficult to dig deeper into the muscle tissue. Athletes primarily searching for a product with good force for larger muscle groups should take a look at the V2, but, keep in mind, it only offers three basic attachments. If you’re very thin, the lower power could be a good thing as you don’t need as much force to achieve a deep percussive massage.
Overall, I think Vybe Pro is a great product to achieve both broad and highly-targeted percussive massage. For people of average weight who exercise at moderate levels, VYBE Pro has a lot to offer for the money.
Frequently Asked Questions