AFTER SOME INTENSE court time, you’re feeling it. Tight muscles, stiffness, aches…the usual hits your body takes post-workout. Self-massage is a great way to speed your recovery or warm you up before a match, and even help you level up your game. “Massage guns, gadgets that deliver rapid vibrations to any body part you apply them to, provide deep-tissue massage,” says Lovelia Horn, a physical therapist in Springfield, Illinois. “That can loosen muscles, reduce soreness, increase range of motion, and boost blood flow, all of which improve playing potential.”
Steve Hruby, chiropractor and founder of Kaizen Progressive Health, a chiropractic-care facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, is also a fan. He explains that “physical therapists and massage therapists often use these guns to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. They work for most areas of the body, but they’re most commonly used on the back, neck, and shoulders.” A variety of brands and styles are on the market, and while they all operate similarly, they differ in the details—some are super simple, others extra quiet or travel-size. Here, a rundown of excellent options.
MASSAGE GUNS CAN HELP BOOST YOUR PLAYING POTENTIAL BY REDUCING MUSCLE SORENESS AND IMPROVING RANGE OF MOTION.
—LOVELIA HORN, PHYSICAL THERAPIST
7 GUNS TO CONSIDER
Theragun Mini Keep this lightweight, pocket-size massager courtside. With an ergonomic grip and three speed settings, it’s like an on-the-spot physical therapist, kneading any sore areas and boosting the function of soft tissue. Hruby says its compact size is “perfect for on-the-go recovery,” and its powerful motor is great “for working out knots and relieving muscle pain.” Bonus: You can color-coordinate your Theragun Mini with your pickleball attire, thanks to models in desert rose, red, black, and white, as well as silicone covers in teal, merlot, and more. $199, $19 for covers; therabody.com
Yunmai Massage Gun SE (Prime) This spiffy massage tool includes two massage modes and four attachments that you can switch out to target specific muscle groups. We also love its impressive battery life: It keeps its charge for up to 84 days when used for 10 minutes a day. $180; yunmaiglobal.com
Ekrin Athletics B37 Whether you’re trying to relieve your upper back from game-day serves or the backs of your arms from adroit dinks, the standout feature here is the 15-degree angled handle, which makes it easy to treat hard-to-reach places. This massage gun boasts five speeds, up to eight hours of battery life, and a whisper-quiet motor. Choose from four heads for different parts of your body. $230; ekrinathletics.com
SKG F5 Clocking in at just over a half-pound, the SKG F5 is one of the lightest massage guns out there. It offers three massage speed settings and a heat feature that provides three temperature intensities to soothe sore limbs and help your muscles warm up. This model comes with three interchangeable massage heads. $160; amazon.com
Hydragun Billed as the quietest massage gun on the market, the Hydragun has six speed settings and seven interchangeable massage heads. Used by Olympians, Paralympians, professional athletes, and folks just looking to enjoy a little postgame TLC on the couch, it offers a wide range of massage intensities. $299; hydragun.com
Lifepro Sonic Handheld Percussion Lifepro, maker of a variety of sports recovery tools, nails this percussive device, which delivers a deep, powerful massage and a comfy hand grip. Available in four colors, it has five levels of intensity, eight massage heads, a quiet, brushless motor, and a battery that lasts up to six hours. The attachments include one for the spine, which massages back tissue and helps promote flexibility. $180; amazon.com
The Myo Company Myo Eaze Hruby likes this gun’s light weight and comfortable grip, “making it easy to use for extended periods of time.” It had us shouting, “Game on!” thanks to its compact size (great for travel), virtually silent operation, five speed settings, and six massage heads. The gun, created by Los Angeles–based chiropractor Dustin Martinez, also has a battery life of around five hours. $199; themyocompany.com
DOS AND DON’TS
• Place the massage head directly on muscles that feel tight or sore, say both Hruby and Horn.
• Make sure skin is free of lotions or sweat, which can make the head slip.
• “Start with a lower-intensity setting and gradually increase as needed,” says Horn. She recommends using the massage gun for just five to 10 minutes at a time. Hruby says you can gradually increase the time and intensity as you become more comfortable with the device. Use two to three times a day as needed.
• “Stay hydrated before and after using the massage gun,” says Hruby. Water can help flush out toxins and lactic acid.
• Never use a gun on open wounds or broken skin, says Horn.
• Don’t use a massage gun on any area that is bruised, Hruby adds.
• Avoid applying the massage gun too intensely on one area, as this can cause bruising, says Hruby.
• Finally, says Horn: “If you have a blood-clotting disorder, consult your doctor before using a massage gun.”
MASSAGE GUNS CAN WORK OUT KNOTS, RELIEVE PAIN, AND ENHANCE RECOVERY.
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CBD FOR AN EXTRA BODY BOOST
Add the cannabis compound to your massage routine, and you’ll double down on the recovery benefits.
BY GINA PIERSANTI
CBD PRODUCTS SEEM TO BE EVERYWHERE these days. But how can CBD help pickleballers? “CBD works in the human endocannabinoid system to target and reduce systemic inflammation. On the recovery side, it calms inflamed muscles and relaxes the body,” says Kendra Mark, a CBD expert and director of product development for Tenacious Labs, who has worked in the cannabis and nutrition industries. “Additionally, those anti-inflammatory properties mean CBD can be beneficial for pain.” Here, our picks for six great products.
MADE BY WOMEN FOR WOMEN
Press Pause Restore Deep Relief Full Spectrum CBD Cream $69; 3.4 fl. oz., 500 mg CBD
Press Pause offers an array of CBD products: balms, lotions, tinctures, teas, and capsules. This ultra-moisturizing cream has a mild scent (a mix of mint and lavender) and rubs in well for a barely there feel, making it fabulous for daily use on achy joints and muscles. For a less concentrated option, try the Soothe Comforting Full Spectrum CBD Body Balm ($54 for 0.5 fl. oz.). presspauseproject.com
SUPPORTS ACTIVE AGING
Trust Biologic CBD Pain Relief Gel $44; 3 fl. oz., 500 mg CBD
This gel provides fast-acting pain relief in a mess-free roll-on. Featuring 500 mg of CBD and 10 mg of CBG (another therapeutic cannabinoid), the gel—which has a very strong Tiger Balm–like scent—targets pain and uses menthol and camphor to soothe muscles postgame. (InPickleball readers can use the code InPickle30 to get a 30 percent discount on a single order.) trustbiologic.com
HIGH CBD DOSE
Medicileaf Platinum Pro Sports Salve $90; 1.75 oz., 2,750 mg CBD and 2,750 mg CBG
This salve, which has an earthy hemp, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol scent, boasts both a high dose of CBD and a base of argan oil and shea butter for serious moisturizing. Medicileaf has a huge selection of products (from roll-ons to tinctures) to aid recovery and boost performance in athletes. And it’s the official cannabinoid supplier of the Professional Pickleball Association’s 2021 and 2022 Pro Tours. medicileaf.com
COOLS THINGS DOWN
Muscle MX Recovery+ CBD Balm Ultra Cooling Relief $65; 2.5 oz., 1,000 mg CBD
With a deodorant-style stick applicator for easy application and a sweet, spicy scent, it starts cooling quickly and provides long-lasting muscle relief. Recovery is also available in lower doses of 350 mg CBD for $35 or 70 mg CBD for $15, making this brand a great option to try for those new to the world of CBD. (Muscle MX also offers heating balms, gummies, and CBD drops.) musclemx.com
GREAT FOR TRAVEL
Dobson’s Choice Portable CBD Pain Relief Balm 10-pack, $59; 0.35 fl. oz., 43 mg CBD and 14 mg CBN each
With a strong scent of menthol, peppermint, tea tree, camphor, and clove, and a super-buttery texture, this balm quickly absorbs into the skin—and the 10-pack of single-use packets is a great travel option. The cooling, no-nonsense balm does its job so well, you might want to snag the sturdy 4-oz. glass jar for use at home. dobsonschoice.com
GOOD FOR THE PLANET
SeaWeed Naturals Comfort Body Balm 3:1 CBD-Rich $65; 30 ml, 3 mg CBD
SeaWeed Naturals’ mission is to restore oceans, provide sustainable jobs, and support local communities through the sale of its CBD products. This balm, with hints of lemon and lavender, combines a non-psychoactive ingredient with seaweed and algae-based DHA omega-3s to help treat pain, reduce inflammation, and hydrate. It can impact both your game and the environment. seaweednaturals.com