August 2023

The Acute Effects of Theragun™ Percussive Therapy on Viscoelastic Tissue Dynamics and Hamstring Group Range of Motion

Authors: Brendon Skinner 1, Lauren Dunn 1, Richard Moss 2


  1. Centre for Physical Activity and Life Sciences, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK
  2. University of Nottingham, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Journal: Journal of Sports Science & Medicine - August 2023, Volume 22, Pages 495-500 (DOI: 10.52082/jssm.2023.495)

Handheld percussive therapy (PT) massage guns have seen a rapid rise in use and with-it increased attention within injury prevention and sport performance settings.

Early studies have proposed beneficial effects upon range of motion (ROM), however the mechanism behind these increases remains unreported. This study aimed to determine the influence of a minimal frequency PT dose upon ROM and myotonometry outcomes.

Twenty participants (N = 20; 13 males and 7 females, height 1.78cm ± 9.62; weight 77.35kg ± 8.46) participants were allocated to either a PT group receiving 2 x 60-seconds (plus 30-seconds rest) via a Theragun™ Pro4 to the hamstrings covering a standardised 20 lengths from proximal to distal via the standard ball attachment at 1 bar of pressure or a control group (CON) of 2-minutes 30-seconds passive supine rest. Pre and post intervention outcomes were measured for ROM via passive straight leg raise (PSLR) and tissue dynamics via MyotonPRO (Tone, Stiffness, Elasticity, Relaxation Time).

Results showed significant within-group increases (p < 0.0001, ηp2 0.656, +11.4%) in ROM following PT and between group difference against CON (P < 0.026). Significant within-group differences in stiffness (p < 0.016, ηp2 0.144, -6%), tone (p < 0.003, ηp2 0.213, +2%) and relaxation time (p < 0.002, ηp2 0.232, +6.3%) were also reported following PT. No significant difference was reported in elasticity (P > 0.05) or any other between group outcomes.

PT therapy can provide an acute increase in hamstring group ROM following a resultant decrease in tissue stiffness.


Keywords: Theragun™, flexibility, tissue stiffness, vibration

This study aimed to examine the effect of percussive massage therapy via handheld massage gun on muscle ROM and tissue dynamics. Results suggest that PT can significantly increase hamstring group ROM by inducing a significant reduction in tissue stiffness levels. Associated alterations in tissue tone, elasticity and relaxation time can be attributed to increases in localised blood flow. Therefore, if the objective is to increase ROM and reduce tissue stiffness levels, PT can be recommended.