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A woman using a Theragun on her bicep.

Have you ever been really sore from a tough leg workout or a long run? When that happens, often the last thing you feel like doing the next day is getting up and working out. And if you are that sore, you probably don’t want to go and stress your body out with another strenuous workout. However, getting in some form of movement actually can be the best thing for you.

By moving your body, you’re helping to increase circulation and mobilize fluids. You’re sending oxygen-rich red blood cells in, and telling the metabolic waste to move on out. This helps promote your body’s healing and recovery.

One of the best tools to help increase circulation is a percussive therapy or massage device, such as a Theragun, which can target specific areas of your body that need the attention to help break up tissue while also localizing a ton of great circulation.

Trainers in our clubs often recommend using the device regularly before and after a workout, on off days when you’re feeling sore, and even at times when you’re feeling stressed out.

If you’re new to using such a device, you might be wondering the best places and ways to start. We suggest beginning with these four moves.

1. Quads

This is one of the larger muscle groups that we use in many full-body movements, including cardio activities such as running and trainer-favorite squats. Because we also sit most of the day, this group deserves regular attention from just about anyone. Spend 30 seconds on each side prior to your workout (and before a long run), and then spend a minute on each side after your workout, or longer if it’s a trigger point and you’re needing to break up some tissue.

2. Calves

Most often this muscle is shortened primarily due to elevated heels on our shoes, but it’s also made worse when we have tight hip-flexors and inactive glutes. If you’re jumping around in your workouts or running on the regular, you want to be massaging your calves before and after your workouts.

3. Traps

Many of us hold our stress in our upper backs, and a lot of us also sit at a desk all day long, causing our shoulders to hunch over and create additional discomfort. Massaging your traps can be a great way to relieve stress and tension while also helping with posture. Before you hit your chest and back day, try using the massage device prior to your workout. And if you’re feeling more stressed than normal (hello, 2020!), you could massage your traps more regularly.

4. Hamstrings

If you’ve dealt with tight hamstrings, you know they’re not fun. They tend to be a frequent issue for those who run regularly, cycle, or even squat. They can also happen due to low-back issues or a less-than-strong core. You want to give regular attention to your hamstrings if possible, preferably before and after your workouts.

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Training Facebook group.

Anika Christ, RD, CPT

Anika Christ is a registered dietitian, personal trainer, and the director of client optimization at Life Time. She’s known to many as “Coach Anika,” and is one of the original virtual coaches who continues to lead a number of digital programs each year. She started at Life Time in 2008 and has spent her entire career helping build Life Time’s nutrition and fat-loss programs. When she’s not at work, she enjoys reading, lifting weights with her husband, and playing with her two daughters.

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