Is the Hypervolt Massager Really Worth the Splurge?
If percussive massagers like Hyperice’s Hypervolt haven’t taken over your social media feeds, well, you must have less knotted-up friends than I do. Over the past two years, they’ve slowly been popping up in my world as a must-have for everyone from folks training for marathons to the casual weight lifter looking to recover sooner. And so when the opportunity came up to give the Hypervolt a go, I jumped at the chance.
I’m not totally new to percussive massagers. I bought a cheapie version off Amazon about a year and a half ago, and while it did occasionally help with knots, I was kind of underwhelmed with how it benefited my recovery after exercise. Surely, my devoted friends were getting more out of the fancy version. According to them, their magical gun-like gadgets make recovery a breeze, work out the kinks they’ve been dealing with for years, and basically make everything better.
And having tried it, I can already tell you my friends were indeed getting more out of the Hypervolt than the knockoff I had been using. But before I give you my full review, let’s go over what exactly Hyperice’s Hypervolt is, how it works, and get some tips from Vinh Pham, a physical therapist, the co-founder of Myodetox, and a futureproof adviser with Hyperice. Read on for all that and more.
What Is the Hyperice Hypervolt?
It’s a percussive massaging tool that goes to work on muscles with a very fast pounding motion. It comes in two models: the original Hypervolt and the more souped-up Hypervolt Plus, which offers 30% more power. I tried the original, which features a speed of up to 3200 percussions per minute (for reference, its competitor, the Theragun, tops out at 2400 PPM), a rechargeable battery that offers two hours of use, and patented Quite Glide Technology that makes it sound a little like a hummingbird. It also comes with five heads (a cushion, a foam ball, a “fork,” a flat head, and a knob-like bullet) and reacts to the amount of pressure you exert on it when you hold it against your body.
How Does It Work?
Before a workout, it can help with range of motion by releasing trigger points, which Pham explains “are specific areas in your muscles that are stiff and hypercontracted.” He adds, “[They are] not only painful but can also cause an impaired range of motion, muscle weakness, and loss of coordination.” Using the Hypervolt on these specific areas will help reduce the intensity and the number of these trigger points, in turn helping you move better and feel better.
When used after a workout, it can facilitate recovery with vibration technology, which has been shown in a study in the Journal and Diagnostic and Clinical Research to help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. The thinking is that vibration therapy increases blood flow, working the lactic acid responsible for muscle aches out of muscles.
How Do You Use It?
You’ve got two options: You can either download the corresponding app, which syncs with your massager via Bluetooth and then controls the pressure as you follow prompts in a chosen video. Or you can just turn it on and hold it against a muscle of your choice, moving it around slowly until you’ve had your fill. Something to keep in mind from Pham: “I would generally avoid using it on bony areas. And the general rule of thumb is if it hurts too much, ease off or change areas."
What’s It Like to Use?
Pretty foolproof. The first time I used it, I downloaded the app, selected the area of my body I wanted to treat (my legs), and followed an eight-minute video that showed me the head I should be using, then prompted me on where to put the massager and how to move it along for each timed section. The first time I did it felt like every section took forever, but that went away as I did more sessions.
Immediately, it felt great on all my tight spots in a way that the knockoff never did. And my legs felt like jelly afterward in that great post-massage way. I was pretty much instantly hooked.
Thanks to the ability to turn the intensity down on my phone, I haven’t found it to be uncomfortable, even on knots. Although, I will confess I have yet to crank it up to the third level. And it is indeed quite quiet. I wouldn’t use it while I was on the phone, but I can get in a session while watching TV without a thought.
Having used it both before and after workouts, I can testify that it does have an impact in both circumstances. I love to use it on my notoriously tight hamstrings before yoga to help with my range of motion. Then I whip it out after sculpting classes to help with DOMS. In fact, for proof of that last one, I even tested it by using it only on one side after a tough booty workout. And that side? It stayed significantly less sore than my sad, non-Hypervolted left side in the following days.
Is It Worth It?
If you’re athletic and like to get in hard workouts, my verdict is yes. It feels great on your muscles, and the darn thing works. The one con I would give it is price, as it is a bit of a splurge. Although at $299, it's comparable to the Theragun, which starts at $299 for the full-size massager. But if you’re someone who spends a lot on massages to correct sports-related injuries, this gadget would be well worth the investment.
Other Hyperice Products to Shop
A few of the sports recovery brand’s other greatest hits.
This 1.5 mini is great for gym bags or suitcases.
Power up your foam-rolling sessions with this vibrating one that offers 45, 68, or 92Hz speeds to help melt away all your kinks.
All the joys of the original Hypervolt, plus 30% more power.
This little ball is great for really tough pressure points since you can lean into it. It’s also great as a more wallet-friendly way to get in on the Hyperice magic.