Percussive therapy devices can help target sore, fatigued muscles and can be great for warmup or recovery. But this sports therapy method is not one-dimensional. To reap the most percussive therapy benefits, there are plenty of customization options for your personal needs.
One such example where customization can occur is in the percussive therapy attachment. Athletes have a variety of head options available with a plethora of pressure depths to help target specific muscle areas. Find out which attachment is right for your routine with this Pro Tips breakdown from Hyperice’s Director of Business Development Joe Cannon.
TYPES OF PERCUSSIVE THERAPY DEVICE HEADS
Cannon states there are five basic attachment styles for percussion massage devices. Each head can feature a different shape and contact point. This variation among attachments can allow for different depths of pressure that cover more or less of an area. So, the larger the head, the more surface area and coverage. The smaller the head, the more precise targeting.
According to Cannon, the five basic percussive therapy attachments are as follows:
THE CUSHION HEAD
For users new to percussive therapy, the cushion head can be a great introductory attachment. “We utilize the cushion head to create the benefits of vibration and allow the body to warm up without the depth,” Cannon says.
The cushion head can also be useful in more sensitive areas, such as the neck. The less intense depth of pressure could lend itself to a more enjoyable therapy session.
THE ROUND HEAD
The round head attachment resembles a foam ball and is less rigid than other percussive therapy attachments. Cannon says this option features a little more give, making it the perfect successor to the cushion head. The attachment’s design can also allow for more depth of pressure for a more thorough tension release.
“What’s great about the round head is it allows for enough pressure to really activate glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads,” Cannon says. “So some of those bigger muscle groups. It’s great for that.”
THE FLAT HEAD
Moving on, the flat head is another useful percussive therapy head. Featuring a large, flat contact point, this attachment can feature little give but ample vibration. The flat head can be great for large muscle groups, allowing you to cover more surface area in less time.
“But it doesn’t sacrifice any of the pressure,” Cannon says. “So, it allows you to get that depth of pressure that you’d like to get, some of those deeper releases that you’ll need to recover [properly] and increase that range of motion.”
THE FORK HEAD
In terms of individuality, the fork attachment stands alone with its unique shape. Featuring a two-pronged profile, the fork head can be great for getting into smaller, slimmer muscle regions.
“I personally prefer to use the fork head on my forearms … going up and down my spine, so it’s on either side of my spine and hits those erector muscles,” Cannon says. “I love using this on my feet going up and down my Achilles and calves and really working the sides of my IT band.”
BONUS PRO TIP: For even more pressure, place just one prong of the fork attachment on your contact point, according to Cannon.
THE BULLET HEAD
Whereas the flat head covers a large surface area, the bullet is, instead, intended for pinpoint releases. The vibration, according to Cannon, is more concentrated on a smaller contact point. “So, it really allows you to pinpoint those areas that are tight, drive deep into those areas for those releases that you’re going to want to get to move and feel better,” he says.
There’s no wrong answer when it comes to percussive therapy attachments. Each can help target irritated muscles. However, the right head can help you get the most comfortable session with the perfect blend of efficiency and relief. Don’t lose your head and remember these Pro Tips to choose the right percussive therapy attachment for the job.
Need a crash course on the basics of percussive therapy? Use this Pro Tips guide to define what is percussive therapy and find your groove with this training tool.