A Guide’s Review of the Theragun Prime
Self Care is in, I just want to keep adventuring in the mountains for the foreseeable future and I’ve found a new tool in the fight: The Theragun Prime from Therabody. I’m no stranger to sore muscles but the Theragun Prime has become an essential tool in keeping me traversing, summiting, and searching out the best loam the world has to offer.
- Weight: 950 grams
- Amplitude of Massage: 16mm
- Speed: 1750, 1900, 2100, 2200 and 2400 ppm
- Stall Force: 30 lbs
- Country of Origin: China
What is Therabody?
Therabody is the company responsible for bringing the Theragun Prime to the world. Dr. Jason Wersland started Therabody in 2007 after a motorbike accident left him with a 9mm bulge in a disc at the base of his neck. Extreme Pain and an atrophied arm left him with two traditional corrective options, surgery or a life of pain medications.
Obviously, neither of these are great options so Dr. Wersland leaned on his knowledge as a Chiropractor to create the first Theragun. Made from a Sawzall, Cat Toy, and a towel, Dr. Wersland used it to stimulate the nerves under his arm. With personal success, he introduced it to his clients as a Chiropracter and found continued success using the soon-to-be titled Theragun to loosen up and relax clients before their sessions.
With this success, he went on to further refine the Theragun by changing to a triangular shape for better weight distribution. Then in 2016 Therebody worked with Black and Decker on a motor that they could calibrate specifically for their purpose and by 2017 it was entirely a Therabody Proprietary device.
What is the Theragun Prime?
In a nutshell, the Theragun is a at-home, hand-held massage device. What a Theragun actually is, is a percussive therapeutic device. Percussive therapeutic devices work to either aid in warming up or helping treat sore muscles by working with two factors; Amplitude and Speed.
All massage guns work by using compression of body tissue. The amount of compression, or how far the head of the massage gun moves, is called amplitude. The Theragun Prime has 16mm of amplitude. I found this to be perfect for more muscular parts of my body such as my legs. However, as much as I personally found it good on my back, smaller users found the 16mm to be too much on their upper body.
Speed refers to how quickly the Theragun Prime taps the skin. The Theragun Prime has five preset speeds between 1750 pulses per minute to 2400. The Therragun Prime has Bluetooth and is able to connect to the Therabody App. With this app, the speed can be adjusted to whatever number you like between 1750 and 2400.
Higher speeds, in most cases, are more beneficial but it’s recommended to go with a more comfortable level and not push beyond what’s comfortable. I found 1750 to be more than ample in the past year of using the Theragun Prime. As I use it further I will experiment more with higher speeds and report back here with any changes noticed.
Why these numbers?
Therabody, through their own research, has found that an amplitude of 16mm delivers the most benefit from the Theragun Prime with the least amount of bruising. Combine amplitude with speed, and you end up with vibration. This activates the receptors responsible for recovery. When you compress the body and vibrate it, it heats up and then releases lactic acid, making it more liquified, and coupled with blood flow allows the lactic acid to escape easier
Using the Theragun Prime for recovery, Therabody has found that 2 minutes is optimum. More than that is not necessarily beneficial. It is also recommended to move the Theragun back and forth slowly. With aid of one of the programs on the App I found it also beneficial to work
The Theragun Prime is also beneficial for activating muscles. As I live in Squamish, this was the application I did not really get to test. Warming up my muscles before a minimum 45-minute commute to ride just didn’t make sense, and I couldn’t bring myself to pull out a massage gun in the parking lot.
Using the Theragun Prime
The Theragun Prime stands out thanks to its unique handle shape. Think of it as a hollow triangle. This allows for at least three different ways to hold the Theragun Prime to be able to get to hard-to-reach areas for the inflexible.
To turn the device on simply push the middle of the button. Three LEDs will then light up, if the battery is full. When the battery is not at peak capacity, fewer LEDs will light. It’s a simple system. Hold the button down for two seconds to start the device. Conversely, once the Theragun Prime is running, hold the button down for two seconds to turn it off.
As we noted earlier, the Theragun Prime has a speed range from 1750 pulses per minute to 2400. What we didn’t mention was that along with the higher pulses comes a little more noise, which makes sense. The volume range of the Theragun Prime is between 65 to 69 decibels. This is far from quiet but far from loud either. According to Sound Proofing Guide that is roughly the equivalent of running a common dishwasher.
To change the ppm of the Theragun push the small triangles that sit both above and below the silicone button. As the ppm increases, so do the LED bars above the battery indicator. They are nice to have, but you will know whether the ppm has increased purely from sound alone. These buttons are a little small and can be easy to miss when running the Prime at higher speeds.
The Theragun Prime comes with a charger, velvet bag, and four different Attachments: the dampener, standard ball, thumb, and cone. To change the attachment simply pull hard on them. All the attachments are held in place with a two-sided ball-bearing attachment that is really easy to use.
The Dampener is the broadest and softest attachment. It is intended for low impact and uses on a wide variety of muscle groups or places that are a little less, well, meaty. The Standard ball is for use on both small and large muscle groups. I found this to be my most used attachment. The Thumb attachment is rumored to be modeled after Dr. Werslands actual thumb. As it is denser than the prior two attachments and is intended for a higher impact level to deliver more targeted treatment to the lower back and trigger points throughout the body. The Cone is the smallest attachment. It combines its small size with the densest design to deliver a highly targeted, pinpointed treatment to areas in need.
I have found the Standard Ball to be the most beneficial as it is intended for the broadest range of use. For areas that are a little more painful that the typical muscle soreness I turn to The Thumb. I find the Dampener to be a little too soft and broad for my use case and the cone far too hard. This doesn’t mean they are bad, just that they did not work for me.
I have not turned on the Theragun Prime and left it running with a stopwatch so I cannot dispute Therabodies claim that the Prime will last 2 hours. Charging comes from a small wired plug with foldable plugs. This is my main contention with the Prime. I truly hope the next model comes with USB-C charging. The Theragun Pro now comes with USB-C charging so here’s hoping that change will trickle down.
Don’t Just take my word for it
It’s no secret, I like road trips. A lot. This prior winter I brought the Theragun Prime along. We were going to tour ten days in a row and this would be the Prime’s time to shine. Shine it did. After our first tour, I pulled out the Prime and offered it to one of the guests. After a minute, he looked at me with a smile and said, “fuck you.” I looked shocked and asked what happened. It turns out he bought a cheap copy of the Prime and the difference in quality was enough that he was now going to buy have to buy the Prime upon immediately returning home.
The Theragun Therabody Prime has been a great addition to my self-care regimen. I’ve made a habit of hitting my legs the moment I am home and unpacked. Within minutes muscle soreness from the day has been removed and there is a noticeable difference in how my legs feel the next day as well.
I’ll continue to use the Theragun Prime for this coming winter as well. It is invaluable, to say the least, though there are a few changes I would like to see for Prime version 2.
There are two things that I would like to see on the Theragun Prime. Adjustable amplitude would be a great benefit but the one I would like the most is USB-C charging. IT would also benefit from a better carrying case as the velvet bag feels a little cheap and will do very little to protect this expensive device.
Pros: Easy to change end pieces. Reliable and powerful motors.
Cons: Both the Prime and Mini share the same plug but what would be better, is a USB-C. Adjustable amplitude.
If you are interested in checking out the Theragun Prime or Theragun Mini head on over to Therabody and check them out!
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of the Theragun Prime. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the hat.