Massage Guns: What benefits do they offer cyclists and athletes?

Product Review: Deprogun Massage Gun DG Elite

Cycling for me can be a pain in the backside.


After a long day in the saddle, no matter how much stretching I do before hand or afterwards, the muscles in my butt tighten up, as do to a lesser extent the muscle groups front and backs of my thighs (quads and hamstrings).

It’s an ongoing issue that I’m sure I share with many others and is a particular problem following extra long rides, or when I am on a cycling holiday, cycling for a number of days in succession.

On holidays, a Jacuzzi or a sports massage can help recovery, but they are a special holiday treat, not practical or affordable for day to day, year round cycling.

A couple of cycling buddies suggested a massage gun as a solution. These gadgets are very much in vogue at the moment and I’ve previously dismissed them as a gimmik. But when I put the question out there regarding their use and benefits in a Facebook cycling group that I’m a member of, the overwhelming response of cyclists who use them was positive.

So I was delighted when Deprogun – an Irish based company – offered me the chance to try one out one of their percussion massage guns for myself.

A number of benefits are claimed for massage guns. They are said to:

  • Relieve stress and relax the body by releasing tension and fluid deep in the muscles to increase tissue metabolism. 
  • Aid recovery by releasing lactic acid  build up in the muscles
  • Increase blood and lymphatic circulation, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the muscles.
  • Encourage healing of atrophied muscles by “waking them up” to allow for faster healing with increased flexibility.

The massage gun reviewed here is the top of the the Deprogun range DG Elite model, which they describe as deep tissue percussion massager. It comes with a decent quality carrying case for ultimate portability, into which neatly fit a number of attachment heads for use on different muscle groups and trigger points.

The first thing I noticed when switching it on is how quiet the gun is, handy when massaging shoulder and areas close to the ears. The build quality seems good too and the gun doesn’t feel unduly heavy, making it easier to reach more awkward areas although some areas of the body are still hard to reach.

There are a number of speed settings, depending on your tolerance and how deep you want the massage to go. It’s important to follow the instructions provided with the device on this point as inappropriate use can be painful.

Variable speed settings are not found on all massage guns and I found them particularly useful. The same pressure is not required on the shoulders, say, as on the glutes, so pressure and speed can be varied easily, depending on which part of the body you are treating. After all, you are trying to relax the muscles, not beat them into submission. Amplitude is the distance the massage head moves and it has an effect on how deep the massage goes. On this model it is 11 mm, which is not the highest out there, but is still sufficient for a decent, deep tissue massage.

I’ve trialed the gun for the past month during which time I have logged over 800 KM of cycling. The gun is easy to use and a 10 minute session is enough to make a difference, with just a couple of minutes spent on each muscle group. I have used it both to warm up muscles before going out and also, more intensely, as a recovery aid while also enjoying a post ride coffee in the kitchen. It really is that simple to use. Cycling is my sport and of course these benefits would apply to athletes across all sports.

Its not the same as the massage as you might get from a professional therapist, as it uses percussive therapy – lightly pounding the muscle at high speed – which helps reduce muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the area and removing lactic acid. You can feel the gun working on some muscles more so than others and on really tight muscles it can be a bit uncomfortable, but of course the same can be said for regular massage or physiotherapy.

A therapist will always follow a percussion treatment with a flowing drainage massage stroke, said to help drain away any toxins or lactic acid released up by the massage treatment and I do a self massage on my legs following a Deprogun session and find it helps. Is it as effective as a massage from a qualified therapist? No, probably not, but how many of us have or could afford to have a massage therapist on hand before and after every bike ride?

So, my verdict on the product:

Will I continue to use it? Absolutely yes. It’s coming on holidays with me.

What benefit did I notice most? Speedier recovery and less muscle tightness after tough bike rides.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes.

Pros: Very quiet and relatively light, it does what it says on the tin. A great recovery aid.

Cons: Amplitude could be a bit higher and some body areas can be difficult to reach on your own, but that’s true for most massage guns on the market. These are very minor quibbles and certainly do not affect the effectiveness of the device.

Deprogun ship from their base in Arklow and offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not entirely happy and a 12 month warranty. Full specs for this massage gun and other models in the range, together with current prices, are available on their website

In the interest of transparency: Deprogun provided the massage gun for review and have placed an ad on this website, but please be assured this is an honest review of the product, based on my personal user experience over a month of regular use.