July 7, 2024 8:20 am

How to Use a Theragun: the Ultimate Guide

The Theragun is fantastic if you’re looking for ways to aid in post-workout recovery. Despite being primarily used by physical therapists and professional athletes in the past, percussive therapy has recently gained popularity and been made available to the general public. The percussive therapy line from Theragun has developed since it was introduced in 2016 and now includes a variety of massage guns, including the Theragun Pro, Theragun Elite, Theragun Prime, and Theragun Mini. Given the popularity of recovery techniques, methods, and studios in the wellness industry, it is not surprising that Theragun’s percussive therapy devices come in so many varieties.

In this article, we’ll explain how to use Theragun in five simple steps for a variety of benefits, such as pain relief, increased range of motion, decreased muscle stiffness and soreness, and a quicker rate of post-workout recovery, and discuss the pros and cons of Theraguns.

What is a Theragun?

A handheld massage tool called a “Theragun” uses percussive therapy to treat muscle aches, and pain relief, and to hasten the healing process after consecutive workouts. When you exercise, lactic acid builds up in your muscles and causes micro tears that make you stronger. Post-workout soreness results from these tissues tightening and shortening together to form cross-bridges as they heal.

Percussive therapy, also referred to as percussion therapy, is a type of soft tissue manipulation that aims to loosen these cross-bridges in order to lessen muscle soreness and improve the range of motion. It is a deep muscle treatment that penetrates the muscle with quick, long vertical strokes.

There are four different Theragun device models depending on your needs:

1. Theragun Prime
The Ragun’s entry-level model, the Prime, can exert up to 30 pounds of force. It’s perfect for routine exercise, but the Elite or Pro are probably better choices if you have persistent issues that require more intensive treatment. The Prime is effective for the frequent gym goer because it moves around easily to hit all of your body parts without putting undue strain on your arm, hand, or wrist.

2. Theragun Elite
With a maximum force of 40 pounds, this Theragun model is the quietest. It allows you to penetrate deeply into your aching muscles and is surprisingly quiet considering how much power it has. It has an easy-to-use triangular shape and an OLED screen that lets you see how hard you’re pushing.

3. Theragun Pro
The Pro is the professional-grade device with the most power—60 pounds of force—and the quietest operation. This implies that you can exert extremely strong pressure to penetrate deeply into your tissues. You can hit all areas of your body while maintaining a comfortable grip thanks to the adjustable arm’s four positions. An expert physical therapist or a highly skilled athlete would both benefit greatly from The Pro.

4. Theragun Mini
The Mini, the smallest Theragun, has a 20-pound maximum force. It is perfect for treatment on the go because it is lightweight, powerful, and incredibly quiet, allowing you to use it whenever and wherever you like.

Theragun Percussive Therapy in 5 Easy Steps

Whether it be a specific area of the body that you’re wanting to target or a full-body massage, here are five easy steps to relieving your sore muscles:

1. Fit the Desired Theragun Attachment to the Device

Theragun Attachment

Select a Theragun attachment that is appropriate for the part of the body you want to target before turning on the percussive therapy machine.

Each Theragun device comes with a different array of head attachments, here’s what they are best suited for:

  • Dampener: a generalist attachment that is particularly great for tender or bony areas.
  • Standard ball: an attachment that is great at targeting both big and small muscle groups.
  • Cone: great for pinpointing specific muscle groups, particularly those that are hard to reach like in the hands and feet.
  • Thumb: this attachment is used mostly for targeting trigger points and getting into those extra sore spots within the lower back.
  • Wedge: an attachment that is fantastic at getting into those particularly nasty trigger points behind the shoulder blades or for releasing painful lactic acid that regularly builds up in IT bands.
  • Supersoft: this attachment emulates vibration therapy and is perfect for sensitive or particularly sore muscles.

2. Power on the Theragun Device

The process for turning on each Theragun device varies slightly. We’ll list how to do this here:

  • There are two techniques for the Theragun Pro and Theragun Elite. Simply press the power button for two seconds (it’s below the OLED screen, in the middle of the direction pad) to quick start. When turned on, the device will immediately begin to operate at a preset speed of 2,400 percussions per minute. Simply press the power button once to turn the device on and select the desired operation setting. The direction pad can then be used to cycle through the device’s treatment presets.
  • Look for the power button in the center of the direction pad on the Theragun Prime, and press it for two seconds. The massage tool can then be set to the desired percussive setting by pushing the direction pad up or down from there.
  • Additionally, for the Theragun Mini, press and hold the multi-purpose power/speed button for two seconds on the right side of the device. Easy as that!

3. Rest the Theragun Device Where It’s Most Needed

The part you’ve been waiting for is finally here, so let’s start letting go of those sore muscles and delicate spots.

However, it’s a good idea to hold off on pushing yourself too hard at first in order to get the most out of your muscle recovery treatment. Instead, just lay the massager down on the muscle group or area you want to work on, gradually increasing the pressure.

This allows you to get accustomed to the sensation of percussion therapy and gives your muscles, tendons, and joints time to warm up.

The best way to do this is to use little pressure and move the massager at a speed of about an inch per second, or slower if necessary.

4. Target Trigger Points and Muscle Knots

It’s time to locate those particularly painful areas where muscle tightness and potential scar tissue are at their worst after warming up your body to the idea of percussion therapy.

To accomplish this, move the massager slowly around the body until a muscle knot or an area of extra tension is felt. The Theragun should be allowed to rest there once you’ve found it.

Continue holding until you experience relief or notice a red area. One of the many desired benefits of percussion therapy is that it can cause your skin to turn red, which is a sign that blood flow has started to flow into the area.

5. Clean the Device After Use

The final step is to clean the device down after you’re done.

The best way to do this is to first take the device’s head attachment off. After cleaning the attachment, store it in the travel case that comes with every Theragun percussion massager by wiping it down with a disinfectant wipe or a cloth that has been soap-lathered.

How to Use a Theragun for Workout Recovery


Theragun is perfect for post-workout recovery because it helps move lactic acid out of the muscles that became fatigued during exercise. It’s what other methods like massage and foam rolling also aim to accomplish, but according to Lissa Bankston, director of human performance at Theragun, percussive therapy can help achieve the same goal faster and more effectively.

Theragun can also be a solution for those who are overly sensitive to deep tissue massages because it can achieve a similar result without applying deep pressure, which can be uncomfortable or painful for some people.

Additionally, even though the Theragun is not cheap by any means (models start at $599 and up), you might save money if you use it occasionally in place of your regular massage therapy sessions, which typically cost $100 and up each.

So how and when should a Theragun be used to aid in workout recovery?

“I do believe that using it frequently and doing it soon after is best when it comes to recovery. On the muscles you anticipate being sore, I advise applying it for at least 2 minutes. And then other muscles you can spot treat for 30 seconds to 1 minute,” Bankston said.

Theragun recommends applying slow, circular motions for up to 2 minutes over sore muscles (or muscles you anticipate becoming sore later) to treat them. The Theragun app also recommends using stretching in tandem with the Theragun therapy for a “pro-level recovery regimen.” You don’t have to apply much pressure to get results — the Theragun does the work for you, which is why Theragun recommends “floating” the device over the areas you’d like to treat.

“Simply because it does penetrate the body by half an inch, allowing you to apply minimal force, we advise floating it there. If you were to compare it to a deep tissue massage you would think you need to apply more force to get that outcome, but the reason why a massage therapist is applying pressure is to get deep into the tissue, and we’re already doing that with our amplitude,” Bankston said.

Bankston advises changing the device attachments if you’re looking for more intensity. These attachments are made to help you target areas that require more focus than the device’s default round attachment and have varying surface areas—the smaller the area, the more intense they are.

How to Use a Theragun for General Tension, Stress and Sleep

According to Theragun, the device can be helpful for reducing general tension, stress and even help you sleep better by “downregulating the nervous system.” To feel calm and relaxed before bed, Theragun advises using the device for two minutes on each muscle group (arms, glutes, and legs).

Use the device for two minutes on tense or tight muscles to help you relax if you are feeling generally tense. Theragun advises working with the dampener attachment around the painful knot rather than on it directly if you have one in a particular area.

Then, using the standard attachment briefly (no longer than three seconds) on the knot is an option. But you shouldn’t do this too frequently. After about 24 hours, give the area a chance to recover before repeating.

How to Use the Theragun to Prep Your Muscles for a Workout

Theragun can be used before or during exercise to improve workout performance, despite the fact that it is most often used as a post-workout recovery tool. Theragun claims that using the equipment prior to a workout can help your muscles become more active and extend their range of motion, which improves performance and recovery and lowers the risk of injury because you’re increasing blood flow.

Theragun advises using the device for 30 seconds on the muscles you intend to work out in order to help activate the muscle before your workout. Along with a diagram and detailed instructions, the Theragun app also offers a particular protocol for pre-workout.

You can also use the Theragun during a workout to help speed up recovery, activate muscles that are “asleep,” and increase circulation before you do the next rep. As an illustration, you might take a break in between sets of squats to apply the Theragun to your glutes for 15 to 30 seconds in order to keep those muscles active for your following set of squats.

What Not to Do With a Theragun

Last but not least, there are some safety precautions to be aware of even though the Theragun has many uses in addition to recovery. First off, you should use caution when applying any type of massage gun to injuries like tendinitis or broken bones or injuries involving inflammation or sprains or strains of the muscles. If you have any injuries or persistent medical conditions, it is best to speak with your doctor before using a Theragun or similar device.

Although Bankston stated that generally speaking it is safe as long as you don’t use it near the front or back of your torso, Theragun also advises consulting a doctor if you are pregnant. What other no-nos are there? According to Bankston, using it on the head or genitalia is neither safe nor a good idea.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Theragun?


  • Reduces pain
  • Boosts blood flow
  • Breaks up scar tissue
  • Reduces general tension and stress
  • Releases muscle spasms
  • Decreases lactic acid
  • Increases collagen intake
  • Improves range of motion by creating more flexible joints
  • Leads to more effective and efficient recovery


  • They’re costly
  • More research still needs to be done on whether they’re effective for everyone for reducing muscle soreness
  • Muscle fatigue if you use it for too long or improperly
  • Be cautious of using it on muscle strains, sprains, inflammation-related injuries, broken bones

4 Tips for Beginners

1. Just before you put the Theragun on your body, turn it on.
For better control, it’s crucial to do this. Additionally, placing it on your body, then turning it on, can be quite unsettling.

2. Float it.
With the Theragun, little pressure is necessary to produce results. You don’t need to apply much force because the device only penetrates a half-inch. To relieve pain, just float it over the troublesome muscles or areas. To increase intensity, try switching out attachments to focus on areas that require more attention.

3. Don’t overdo it.
Make sure not to use your Theragun for an extended period of time. A good rule of thumb is to move the device slowly over sore muscles for up to two minutes per area, or to apply pressure for 30 seconds to a particularly sore and tight spot, then stretch the muscle for another 30 seconds. Muscle fatigue is likely to occur if you exercise for longer than 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Use it before working out too.
Activating your muscles and extending your range of motion with a Theragun before exercise can improve performance, speed up recovery, and lower your risk of injury. To help activate the muscle, place the device on the desired muscles for 30 seconds. Additionally, you can use it while working out to maintain muscle activity, such as when you’re resting in between sets of squats.

Conclusion: use the Theragun in the Proper Ways

Theragun can be used for a variety of things, although most users are aware that it works wonders for muscle recovery. Utilizing your therapy device correctly is essential to getting the most benefit from it.

This article’s information is not meant to be taken as health or medical advice; it is only meant for educational and informational purposes. If you have any concerns about a medical condition or wellness goals, always seek the advice of a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.


How Often Should You Use a Theragun?

How frequently should Theragun be used? Therabody recommends that, depending on your desired result, you should use your Theragun device two or three times every day. “We advise using your Theragun on each muscle group for a minimum of 15 seconds and a maximum of 2 minutes. 15 minutes is the maximum length of time for a full-body workout.”

Can You Overuse a Theragun?

According to certified trainer and senior director of product development for the American Council on Exercise, Lauren Shroyer, MS, ATC, using percussive massage devices in one spot for longer than intended can potentially lead to more severe damage to the tissue.

Why Does It Hurt When I Use Theragun?

The muscle fascia—the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles—can also be broken up by massagers. This tissue can tighten up when it’s stressed, which can lead to muscle stiffness or soreness.