Sports Massage Machine for Athletes

Athletes train and grind to improve performance. Muscle pains, tears, joint problems, and ankle tendonitis are normal occurrences. Alleviating these pains are necessary. Athletes use devices to fasten muscle recovery and to boost strength. A sports massage machine is an athlete’s best friend. It allows athletes to go beyond their limits, improving physiology and performance. Selecting the right sports massage machine is essential. Different models have different features. Athletes need to select what best suits their needs. Portability, convenience, and battery life are common criteria. However, there are more to consider. Athletes also need to consider control methods, features, and compatibility. 

Aigrous A9 Massage Gun
Massager for Pain Relief
4.8 Check Price
Massage Gun Professional Deep
Tissue Massager for Athletes
4.5 Check Price
Compex Edge 2.0 Muscle Stimulator
with TENS Bundle Kit
4.3 Check Price

What a sports massage machine does

Massage machines apply percussion, rolling, or kneading to alleviate muscle pain. This sends bursts of force to loosen knots and soreness. Some massage machines are TENS and EMS. EMS contracts muscles to relax. TENS, meanwhile, sends electrical currents to block pain signals. Unlike EMS, TENS do not trigger muscle contraction. Massage machines have a common denominator: pain relief. They do not cure the pain itself. Instead, they alleviate pain. Users often misunderstand massage machines as treating the pain. However, pain is only alleviated for a time. A sports massage machine allows pain relief. But it also strengthens the muscles. This type of massage machine helps athletes recover fast. Doing so allows athletes to get back into training. Blood circulation is increased to help in fast recovery. This helps in muscle building as well.

Recovery and strengthening

A sports massage machine, no matter what type, functions to recover and to strengthen muscles. Some TENS units, for instance, have 4 basic features. Recovery, pain relief, strengthening, and endurance are four common functions. (Read more: Why A Physical Therapist Recommended TENS Unit?) The pain relief function ignites endorphins to facilitate healing and pain killing. Recovery soothes muscles to reduce soreness and fatigue. Strengthening boosts muscle performance. It also increases muscle size and flexibility. Endurance increases the muscles’ capacity. Muscles tire easily and tendons lose elasticity when overused. One example is ankle tendonitis. The endurance function strengthens muscles and tendons. All functions increase blood circulation and oxygen levels. Both factors are important in endurance, strengthening, pain relief, and recovery. Percussion and massage guns, meanwhile, mainly apply pressure to the pain area. They do not use electrical signals like TENS. Instead, muscles and nerves are directly stimulated. 

Athlete’s best friend

Percussion guns, EMS, and TENS are common sports massage machines. Function and control differs. The common element is portability. Sports massage machines are specialized. They should be portable. Athletes carry them around during training and workouts. The more compact, the more convenient. Athletes may use them before or after extreme physical activities. Massage machines condition the body. They also cool down the muscles after. Athletes prefer an organic way of treating muscle pain. Over-the-counter medicine is a choice. However, anti-inflammation medicine may produce side-effects. Athletes are also prone to drug-dependency. A sports massage machine is drug-free and non-addictive. It is an athlete’s best friend on the training ground.

The future of sports massage machines

Sports massage machines could become more advanced in the future. Enhancement centers on aligning devices to smartphones. Compatibility with other mobile applications can also happen. Expanding features to increase muscle strength is another possibility. Customization can also expand. Incorporating the athlete’s physiology is possible. Diet, weight, and nutrition are recorded. LCD screens could show productivity. Sports massage machines are bound to develop more. 

Sports Massage Machine Buying Guide

There are things to consider before buying. Sports massage machines may appear similar. However, the features are not the same. Here’s what to keep in mind:


First thing’s first. Buyers need to decide the type of device. Sports massage machines could be handheld massagers, EMS, and TENS. Handheld massagers mostly do pain relief. They are not too suitable to strengthen muscles. Percussion guns, for instance, work best to loosen knots. They promote relief and faster healing. However, not all strengthens muscles. EMS makes muscles contract. This ignites muscles strengthening. However, compatibility with the athlete’s type of sport and physiology also matters. Put simply, EMS for muscle strengthening is not for everyone. TENS device has both: muscle recovery and strengthening. Using the device is 100% safe and easy. TENS devices undergo FDA approval. However, athletes need to consult a physical therapist first. There are various TENS units. Not all of them are sports-oriented.


Buyers need to check the functions. A TENS device comprises endurance, muscle strengthening, pain relief, and recovery. The complete package comes in recovery and strengthening. The LCD screen should clearly show the performance. Handheld massagers do not have this. However, they are simpler to operate than a TENS or EMS. A sports-oriented massager has percussion and vibration. Percussion and vibration work best against muscle soreness and fatigue.


Handheld massagers usually shut-off after a session. An auto-timer prevents overheating and overworking muscles. Too much percussion massage causes muscle soreness. This worsens the situation. TENS and EMS have timer settings. Physical therapists recommend the current level and the appropriate duration. However, TENS and EMS have user instructions, ensuring safety.


This is vital element in the package. The warranty secures buyer rights to replace or return the product. Products may have limited or lifetime warranty. A limited warranty is conditional. Manufacturers replace and fix specific parts, 100% free. This pertains to the “one-year” or “two-years” warranty. Lifetime warranty is perpetual. The manufacturer will replace or fix the product in any given period. 


Buyers need to consider the speed, intensity, and massaging options. A sports massage machine is a special type. This aims to provide deep tissue massage. TENS, meanwhile, stimulates muscles. This applies electric signals to relieve pain. Despite specialization, massagers always have adjustable features. A percussion gun has intensity and speed levels. They features massage heads as well. EMS and TENS have adjustable time settings, current settings, and customization. 


Most handheld massagers have travel cases. This adds to convenience. Some are travel-sized, fitting most bags. Checking the product dimensions is useful. This allows buyers to know whether or not the products are easily transportable. EMS and TENS are usually pocket-sized. They are compact enough to snuggle in any bag. However, there are some with clips. Some do not have clips. Clips are convenient during training and workout sessions. The device is attached to clothing or bags. A sports massage machine should add flexibility and mobility. 


When is the price ‘just right’? A sports massage machine does not really cost too much. They are accessible and available in online shops. There are various models offering low prices. Some may seem too expensive. However, durability, convenience, features, and warranty are considered. Cost-efficiency means getting what you paid for. Getting a sports massage machine means improving athletic performance. This is a long-term investment. The price is ‘just right’ when the desired features are bought. 

Our Top Pick

Our Top Pick

Product Name: truMedic Instashiatsu 3D Massage Chair

Product Description: This massage chair features zero gravity, allowing the user to feel weightless. Back, leg, and seat shift the user to any comfortable position. Kneading, rolling, shiatsu, knocking, and tapping are combined to relieve muscle pain. Compression allows acupuncture principles on pressure points. The body scan technology maps acupuncture points. S-track roller system threads to the spinal area. Leg rest retracts up to 8 inches. A remote controller operates the massage chair. Pressurized foot massage applies reflexology to the feet.

  • Reflexology
  • Comfort
  • Convenience
  • Control Methodology


 This is a modern massage chair. The features are abundant. The massage chair applies the latest technology to traditional healing. It combines different massaging techniques – shiatsu, rolling, kneading, knocking, and tapping. The features operate via remote controller. Zero gravity and S-track roller system upgrade the massage chair to greater heights. Both help in fully relaxing the body. Traditional acupuncture principles and reflexology are applied as well. The massage chair has a foot area, compressing pressure points. It becomes jam-packed with necessary features against sleeplessness and insomnia. 


Easy to use: customizable


Accommodates most sizes


 Applies multiple massage techniques



None so far

Aigrous A9 Massage Gun Deep Tissue Percussion Muscle Massager for Pain Relief

Product Description: Our top pick is a strong sports massage machine. It is, however, portable. This massage gun has the right features for muscle pain relief and recovery. Firstly, it employs deep tissue massage. The massage penetrates up to 12 mm. This fits the buffed and ripped. Secondly, it is quiet. This adds to convenience in using. Athletes and gym-goers do not have to worry about the noise. They can take this out in a public space. The smooth operation will not disturb other people. Thirdly, it is durable. The massage gun has a hard shell. Dropping it does not easily produce damage. It applies to a pre-workout and post-workout relief. For all the good reasons, this handheld massager is a great fit for any serious athlete.


Package includes the percussion massage gun, charger and adapter, user manual, and a traveling case. The massage gun has3 adjustable speeds using 3,200 percussion per minute. Intensity levels are also adjustable. It can endure dropping up to 6.6ft (2m) high. The 24V Brushless high-torque motor prevents noise during massaging. It also has a 2600mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The product is meant for long use. It also has 4 massage heads, applying different relaxation techniques. 


Any serious athlete or bodybuilder needs this massage gun. It is handheld and portable. The carrying case allows greater flexibility and mobility. It also functions quietly. Speeds and intensity levels are adjustable to suit different needs. This percussion massage gun applies the necessary force to the neck, spine, and ankles. Different massage heads allow targeted massage as well. 


✔️ 4 massage heads: targeted massage and various relaxation techniques

✔️ High endurance and long battery life

✔️ Applies deep tissue massage


❌None so far

Our Runners-Up

Massage Gun with Carrying Case, Professional Deep Tissue Massager for Athletes

Product Description: This runner up fits most lifestyles. Any population would appreciate the therapeutic benefits. The massage gun is super quiet. It is a professional deep tissue massager using noise reduction technology. This enables its portability. The lamp indicator allows users to view intensity levels and functions. Massage heads are customized, suiting different needs. The massage gun is also lightweight. It also has an easy-to-grip handle. The adjustability, portability, and weight suits any population. 


The product has 4 massage heads, a silicone-made handle, 4 speed and intensity levels, noise reduction technology, and 24V brushless motor. It only weighs 2.5 lbs. 


This sports massage machine suits any population. Everyone can enjoy this super handy and effective massager. Firstly, it provides a therapeutic sensation. The massage gun provides deep tissue relief and chiropractor assistance. Each massage head allows a different experience. It also prevents bone damage. Secondly, the massage gun is lightweight. Its sheer weight and size fits any lifestyle. Its handle is non-slip and made of silicone. Lastly, intensity and speed are highly adjustable. The massage gun does not perform intense percussion. Intensity can be gentle, depending on the user. This massage gun is versatile, therapeutic, and portable. It can be a great gift idea for loved ones.


✔️ Versatile: fits the lifestyle of any population

✔️ Adjustable speed and intensity levels

✔️ Lightweight and extremely portable: weighs only 2.5 lbs


❌Device needs a proper angle when operating


Compex Edge 2.0 Muscle Stimulator with TENS Bundle Kit

Product Description: This TENS device relieves pain through electrotherapy. Electrotherapy stimulates nerves. This device makes muscles twitch in order to recover and to strengthen. It suits athletic goals to improve performance and elevate physiology. The product features a recovery program, distributing oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Doing so detoxifies the body. This helps flush away lactic acid and other toxins. This device uses a TENS pain management system which aids athletes to effectively recover from fatigue. The body’s natural ability is enhanced in the process. 


The device employs a TENS pain management system. TENS pain management system decreases pain intensity to increase mobility. The unit has 4 programs: Pain Relief, Recovery, Resistance, and Endurance. They boost athletic ability. Endurance activates aerobic metabolism. Recovery increases blood circulation. Resistance helps the muscles exceed limits. Pain Relief addresses localized pain. Product dimensions are 5.4 x 3.8 x 1 inches.


Compex Edge 2.0 Muscle Stimulator fits athletic needs. It relies on electrotherapy to create muscle twitches, mimicking a massage mode. This TENS device boosts athletic performance. Firstly, it has 4 unique programs to manage pain and to boost capacity. Each program ignites a specific bodily function. Secondly, it rids the body of toxins and lactic acid. This enables natural healing. Lastly, the strength cluster ignites fast twitching on Type II muscle fibers. Muscles acquire an “explosive strength.” 


✔️ Fits athletic needs: Explosive Strength program

✔️ Portable: pocket-size

✔️ Addresses localized pain


❌20-minute limitation in TENS pain management

Frequently Asked Questions: Sports Massage Machine

Q: Is the massage machine placed in the pain area itself?

A: The massage machine, whether handheld massagers, TENS, or EMS, are placed around and not directly on the pain area. Intensity levels might worsen the pain. 

Q: When is the best time to use a sports massage machine?

A: Athletes use the massage machines before and after extensive physical activities. Massage machines condition the muscles prior to training. They relieve muscle pains after. 

Q: Are sports massage machines supposed to hurt?

A: Handheld massagers would produce relief. They are supposed to eradicate soreness and fatigue. There is slight but “good” pain involved since pressure is inflicted on the area. However, they should not be too painful. Experiencing intolerable pain could be a sign of over-fatigue. TENS applies twitching and tingling sensations. However, they should also not hurt. Massagers, in general, should not cause bad pain. 

A Verdict: Sports Massage Machine

Sports massage machines come in different shapes and sizes. Some athletes prefer handheld massagers. Others would prefer an EMS or TENS device. The common goal is to alleviate muscle pain. This allows athletes to recover back into training. Muscle recovery and strength are important to athletes. Going beyond limits is an athlete’s goal. A sports massage machine aids in this purpose. 

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