Here Ben McNamara, Theragun’s UK lead shares his top tips on how you can use percussive therapy to fast track your way to faster times
So first of all, what is percussive therapy?
Percussive therapy combines the science of frequency, torque, and amplitude to provide deep muscle relief, reducing tension, alleviating pain and enhancing overall fitness, health and wellbeing. The Theragun’s 40 percussions per second encourage the Gate Control Theory of pain – which blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
How can it help runners?
Percussive therapy is so much more than just enhancing the recovery process and I’d recommend runners use it to: prepare, perform and recover.
To prepare for physical activity, Theragun is meant to be paired with a typical warm-up to loosen muscles. The idea here is to heighten blood flow to your targeted muscles, and the unique frequency will activate your sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight system that prepares your body for your run. I’d recommend using it before or after your dynamic stretches, just 30 seconds per muscle group.
While this isn’t realistic to use mid-run, many triathletes use percussive therapy during transitions, and it can be fantastic for runners who compliment their running with strength work. Percussive therapy is great for fatigued muscles and can be used to hydrate the tissue and release tension between periods of effort. The idea here is to apply short 15 second bursts to activate inhibited muscles, promoting recovery between exercises that will help you push through your workout.
The Recovery Phase
Hate stretching and foam rolling? Fear not, percussive therapy can be fantastic as a natural replacement in the recovery process. Short duration pulses deep into the tissues of the body help to down regulate the nervous system, encouraging the body to adopt a relaxed state and get into recovery mode. In turn, the percussions encourage increased blood flow, flushing out lactic acid and rehydrating the targeted areas by bringing fresh blood to the muscle. Time is often a defining factor for many when it comes to looking after their body in the recovery phase, and just two minutes of targeted treatment per muscle group translates to a full body recovery session that takes less than 15 minutes. With such efficiency, runners can fast-track the reduction of DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and post exercise stiffness in record time.
Injuries are all too frequent with runners and whether it’s prevention or treatment, percussive therapy is a great way to combat them. Below I’ve picked out some of the most common running injuries that percussive therapy can help you tackle head on.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome – When the band that runs along the outside of your thigh – connecting hip to knee and shin – gets irritated, you’ll experience a pain down the outer area of the knee joint. Theragun can be used to get into the fascia of the IT band, breaking it down to relieve tension on the knee joint.
- IT Bands can become tight or inflamed with overuse during running. The Theragun relaxes tight and inflamed muscles fast by increasing local circulation to the area in need.
- Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints, Achilles Tendonitis & Lower Limb Stress Fractures – All of these injuries can be attributed to a lack of mobility in the calf muscles and surrounding areas including the ankle and foot. Again, Theragun can be used to mobilise and improve the health of the tissue in these areas, reducing pain and muscle tension that can place unnecessary stress on joints.
- Hamstring Problems – Your hamstrings propel you forward during your run and injuries involving this group can often relate to flexibility issues. Frustratingly, it’s incredibly hard to target and release these areas effectively. Percussive therapy is a natural solution to this, and our devices allow you to reach these areas easily.
Theragun are world leaders in the field of percussive therapy. To find out more and to shop their product range, visit www.theragun.uk.