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How to Use a Muscle Massager for Knots

Begone, pesky muscle knots: Loosen tight muscles with percussive therapy.

Woman at her desk massaging sore muscles with an ekrin athletics b37 massage gun

Muscle knots are quite literally the bane of every athlete’s existence. Tight muscle knots prevent you from performing your best in the gym or on the field, but they don’t hurt bad enough to bench you. Basically, they’re painful enough to be a real pain in the neck… literally and figuratively.

Luckily, you can knock pesky muscle knots right out with a muscle massager — and you can get the best results if you know how muscle massagers work and how to use them correctly.  

How do muscle massagers work? 

While all home massage devices vary somewhat, the majority of massage guns utilize a soft tissue manipulation technique known as percussive therapy (we say majority, because some devices use only vibration, which doesn’t reach as deep into the muscle fibers).

Percussive therapy involves a punching-like motion that breaks up adhesions in your fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Those adhesions in your fascia are what people commonly call “muscle knots.” Deeper in your tissues, massage guns “wake up” your muscles by enhancing blood flow and stimulating nerves. This is why muscle massagers can help relieve pain in an instant and help you warm up for workouts.  

Using a muscle massager for knots

Using a home massage device specifically for muscle knots requires knowledge of two things: the massage speeds and the massage attachments your device is equipped with. 

Understanding massage speeds

Lower speeds are typically calibrated for the express purpose of deep massage therapy, as is the case with our Ekrin Athletics massage guns. On the Ekrin B37, massage speeds one through three feature gentler percussion with just enough force to work through muscle knots and make space within tight muscle tissue. Speed three in particular — 2200 repetitions per minute — provides the ideal speed and pressure needed to effectively break up muscle knots without causing pain. Speeds one and two are best if you’re experiencing muscle knots with pain to the touch.  

Crossfit training with weights and kettlebells
Fit young woman box jumping at a crossfit style gym. Female athlete is performing box jumps at gym.

Utilizing massage attachments

Generally, the pointier an attachment, the better it does at mashing muscle knots. Larger massage attachments, such as our round foam attachment, are better for massaging entire muscles with large surface areas. For instance, the round foam attachment is great for a quad massage or lower back massage.

The flat attachment is great for large muscle use, too, but it also comes in handy for particularly painful muscle knots (it’s small enough to break up adhesions, but flat, so it doesn’t dig in harshly). The bullet attachment will serve you well for deep muscle knots that need targeted pressure. Finally, the fork attachment is phenomenal for general use on your neck and along your spine, but the bullet attachment sometimes still works best on hard-to-reach areas near the spine.  

Muscle massager techniques

Lastly, when using a muscle massager for knots, you’ll want to think about the techniques you utilize.

Here are some helpful tips to make the most of your home massage session: 

  • Don’t actively dig into your muscles — let the massager do its job! 
  • Try moving the massager in small circles around the muscle knot, rather than directly on the muscle knot, if it feels too painful even at low speeds. 
  • Try using the massager intermittently, such as for five two-minute sessions per day, rather than for one long session.
  • Fully relax your muscles while using the massager. Although Ekrin Athletics products are ergonomic, you may find it helpful to enlist a friend to use the massager on your neck and back.  

Muscle massagers are a great cost- and time-efficient alternative to spa massages. Check out our lineup of percussive massage guns to see which one best suits your needs.

Collage showing muscle pain at several part of body

Written by Ekrin Athletics Staff

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