B09 The impact of various massage gun percussive therapy protocols on physiological adaptations


  • Lorna Sams The Open University
  • Ben Langdown The Open University
  • Joan Simons The Open University
  • Jitka Vseteckova The Open University




Current protocols for delivering percussive therapy (PT) using massage guns are heterogenetic creating a need to establish the impact of study design on physiological measures and the standardisation of future research. This study aimed to determine the most effective protocol on lower body strength, net impulse, and flexibility, and to support the provision of protocol validation for future research. With institutional ethics approval, a convenience sample of recreationally active healthy adults (n = 35; a-priori calculation suggested 34 participants) with no lower body massage gun PT experience, undertook two main protocols; three sessions per week at 2100 rpm or increasing the speed for each session: 1750 to 2100 to 2400 rpm. PT was applied at tolerable pressure for 60 s to each of the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings and calves of both legs. Paired-samples t tests (alpha levels: P = .05) assessed pre- and post-intervention data for strength, net impulse, and flexibility. These were collected in all sessions using a dynamometer, My Jump 2 app and goniometer allowing changes for eight different protocols to be reported with Cohen’s d. After three sessions a week involving increments in speed, results showed significant improvements in strength (dominant; non-dominant) of quadriceps (P = .005, d = 0.51; P < .001, d = 0.77), hamstrings (P = .001, d = 0.61; P = .006, d = 0.49) and calves (P <.001, d = 0.69; P = .015, d = 0.44), and flexibility of hamstrings (P < .001, d = 1.14; P < .001, d = 0.74) and calves (P = .04, d = 0.36; P = .005, d = 0.51). Combined lower body muscle strength (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves) increased on average by 10.1% (mean ± 2.14 kg, range ± 1.30-2.98 kg) and flexibility (hamstrings and calves) increased on average by 5.8% (mean ± 1.77°, range ± 1.70-5.66°). A significant improvement (P = 0.33, d = 0.36) was seen in net impulse after three treatments a week at 2100rpm, an increase of 3.2% (mean ± 4.75 N·s). The most effective protocol for gains in lower body strength and flexibility is applying massage gun PT three times a week with increased speeds across sessions (1750, 2100, 2400rpm). For gains in net impulse, the most effective protocol is three applications a week at 2100 rpm. Practitioners using these protocols could target specific improvements in physiological adaptations and in addition, and in addition researchers may wish to adopt these protocols to allow homogenous analysis across study populations in future research. 

Author Biography

Lorna Sams, The Open University

Twitter/X handle: @lornaMackay3