Review: Theragun PRO Massage Gun

If you’re someone who is active either in sport, exercise or through your work, then you’ll be familiar with muscle soreness as you stress your body and the recovery and rebuilding process begins.

Many will deal with this by paying for a professional massage which can get expensive quick, so many are now turning to technology solutions that can be done in the convenience of your own home.

One of the solutions on the market is the Theragun lineup of products and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the chance to get hands-on with the Theragun PRO Massage Gun.

Thergaun pitch this as a commercial-grade deep muscle treatment, but augment this with a smartphone app to guide you through experiences that help to reduce muscle soreness, improve mobility, and increase relaxation. 

Over the past few months, I started to see an increasing number of these products in advertisements, influencer shares and was keen to see for myself if they delivered on the promises, now it’s time for full review.

 

DESIGN

Triangles are the new rectangles

The Theragun PRO design is really efficient in the way it packs in the necessary hardware in a triangular form factor. Inside lies the electronics necessary to drive what is essentially a smart, connected device, as well as the battery compartment, an LED display, controls and buttons to adjust the angle of the massage head.

By using a triangular design, it enables you to hold the massage gun in different ways, to achieve the optimal angle in which to apply pressure to your muscles.

Given you’re likely to be using this at home, the design doesn’t necessarily matter, but the matt black finish and blue accent on the top hinge really does a good job at giving a professional piece of health equipment, matching with the name of this device.

When you turn on the device, you’ll see the LED display illuminate and display important details like the remaining battery life. When you press the go button again, the action starts. This will always default to the lowest 1750 RPM and the up/down controls will let you change the speed right up to 2,400 RPM.

The terminology of RPM relates to revolutions per minute and while the electric motor is spinning inside, the user experiences this power as an in/out thrusting of the business end.

The Theragun PRO comes with a range of attachments, varying in size and shape, designed to target specific muscles in the body and apply different forces to them. These attachments are designed to clip on and off quickly and simply, but pulling (requires a bit of force) and then pushing the new attachment as it snaps in place.

Thankfully you’re not on your own when it comes to how to use the Theragun PRO, with the Bluetooth connectivity to a corresponding smartphone app, providing two-way communication between your phone and the massage gun.

PERFORMANCE

How does it perform ?

When you first use the Theragun, it’s a little confronting. However, once you try it, you’ll understand that as violent as the vibration looks, it really is more about the pressure and force you apply that determines how severe the resulting impact on your muscles and body is.

There’s no doubt about it, the ability to customise the vibration speed is really important as each one of us will certainly have different personal preferences. What I can tell is that as you move between 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 RPMs, the intensity is different based on the body part it is used on.

If you use 1750, then 2400 on a big muscle group like your thighs, then you’ll notice it, but the difference isn’t earth-shattering. If you do the same on your neck muscles, then you will absolutely feel the difference. At 1750, the vibration is satisfying, but crank that up to 2400 and the vibrations that extend up your spine and into your head, are so severe that they’ll rattle your teeth.

Perhaps the best example I can give you of the device’s performance was just last night. After returning from a 15km ride, my leg muscles, particularly my hamstrings were sore. Normally I’d jump in a hot shower and that would be my recovery routine, but last night I followed up with the Theragun.

Following the instructions on the Therabody mobile app for leg recovery, I used the Theragun for about 10-15 minutes, and almost immediately the feeling of fatigued muscles subsided, replaced by a feeling of relaxation. When I went to bed, I had all but forgotten about my legs and I attribute that recovery to using the Theragun. While everyone’s mileage may vary, in my experience the product can really help.

Working long hours on computers, I often experience tenseness in the neck and shoulders. I tried both remedying this with the Theragun myself, and having my wife help. As you’d expect, if you have the ability to get your partner to help, you get to relax a little more than when you’re doing it yourself, but both techniques were successful in removing that stress and tension.

FEATURES

Stand out features of this massage gun.

For what is a fairly simple product in concept, Theragun has built out a really compelling set of features with the PRO.

The design is certainly a feature with the triangular design offering multiple grab points for the massage gun. This is also complemented by the ability to adjust the angle of the massager’s head, making it far easier to achieve certain angles, particularly when using the device on yourself.

What you can’t see is a proprietary brushless commercial-grade motor with QuietForce Technology. While I haven’t used a lot of massage guns, I can tell you this thing is not discreet, if you’re using it, other people in the house will know but this is a piece of health technology, so I don’t actually have a problem with that. If you live in a share house, it is probably wise to make it obvious to your roommates you own one of these.

I was interested to see in the press photos that a cyclist was using the Theragun Pro in public, next to his car, presumably after a ride. I have to imagine this is a fairly unrealistic use case, but have heard of people taking these on holidays with them because once you’ve experienced the relief that comes as a result of using a massage gun, it’s undoubtedly inviting to use it daily, or at least every few days. 

Bluetooth connectivity allows the device to connect to the Therabody mobile app which is actually incredibly well executed. The app provides a number of suggested use cases for the Theragun which blend across warm-up and recovery. While there’s basically every activity under the sun available -Hiking, climbing, run, walk, stairs, skiing, equestrian, kayaking, surfing etc, my personal favourite is the Gaming Warm-Up and Gaming Recovery. 

The Gaming Warm-up Routine takes just 3 minutes for your upper body, and suggests using the Dampener accessory. The description for each routine explains its use case in detail, followed by the steps preview, which in this case includes 15 minutes of attention on your neck, bicep, forearm, and hands.

What’s great about the app is that it can monitor and update you about the pressure being applied and it gives you a live countdown of the time remaining for each step. When the step is underway, you get an instruction graphic to show you how you should move the massager, such as a circular motion between point A and point B. These often reflect the muscle attention a paid professional would provide.

The OLED Screen is integrated into the triangular body of the device. This is used to provide direct feedback, even when you’re not using the mobile app. It is fairly basic in what is displayed, but it does what it needs to, which a majority of the time is simply feedback about how much battery life remains. If you were to run out of battery mid-session, then simply switch out to the second battery, a real luxury compared to most devices that come with a single, rechargeable battery and are often not replaceable. 

While I had no issue charging the additional battery on the included charging dock, there is also wireless charging available, but that does require an additional wireless charging dock. I guess if you were working out and using this daily, dropping the Theragun onto a wireless charger is more convenient, either way, it is great to have this as an option. 

Each of those lithium-ion batteries offers up to 150 minutes each, so it’s likely you’ll get through as much as a week before needing to recharge. 

ISSUES

Not everything’s perfect

The device really works as advertised, so there are not a lot of complaints here, other than perhaps the price tag. As it stands, the device will certainly pay for itself if you manage to replace professional massage visits with this device, but for those that don’t, spending this kind of money may seem like a luxury.

The home health care industry has emerged rapidly and is a really competitive space. The fact that Theragun has a great mobile app to complement the device and guide you through its use, really is a great point of difference over cheaper models.

I think the company should lean into this heavily and potentially build a social network of other owners who could share stories of how they found value in using it.

Overall the design of the device is great, although it would be great to see some weight reduction in future models if possible.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

How much and when can you get one ?

When you buy a Thergan PRO, the package includes:  

  • Theragun Pro Massage Gun
  • 2 Batteries
  • Lithium-ion battery charger 
  • Hard case 
  • 6 Attachments
  • Attachment pouch 

The Theragun PRO is available now at a variety of retailers.

OVERALL

Final thoughts

When I first learned of the Theragun PRO, I was unsure how it differentiated itself from the flood of similar devices on the market. After having had the opportunity to get hands-on with it over the past few weeks, I now have a much better appreciation for that.

While the device itself is impressive in its capabilities and features, I feel it’s the mobile app and connectivity that is a real highlight of this product Obviously you can use this product however you like, but if you follow the guidance provided by the warm-up and recovery activities, you’ll optimise the use of the product and therefore the benefits to your body.

On the surface, the product is about interacting your muscles in a way that stimulates blood flow and therefore recovery, but what I wasn’t prepared for, was the resulting effects on your body that really leaves you relaxed and by treating those sore muscles, there’s no doubt you’ll have a much better night’s sleep.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwrighthttp://techau.com.au/author/jason/
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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