If you bought a massage gun recently, you may be scratching your head over which attachment to use when you’re treating achy muscles at home. Let me walk you through 5 popular massage gun heads and how to use each one for best results.
Types of Massage Gun Heads
Massage guns are convenient, affordable, and effective for treating achy muscles at home – all reasons why they make great gifts! I personally use and recommend Bob & Brad’s massage gun because it’s the best overall for its price.
No matter the brand you buy, most massage guns come with a variation of these 5 attachments:
- Flat round
- Soft padded (air cushion)
Obviously, you can use the attachments however you want – there’s no massage gun police out there, to my knowledge! But you’ll get the best, fastest results from your gun if you choose the right attachment.
Let’s break it down piece by piece.
5 Massage Gun Heads
1. The Fork Attachment
Best for: Large, tight muscles; deep tissue; recovery
This is a very popular attachment that comes with nearly every massage gun. I like using it on larger muscle groups such as my quads, hamstrings and glutes because it provides more coverage than other attachments.
Two heads are better than one, so besides more coverage, with the fork you’ll get twice as much pinpointed force. I’m not aware of any research on this, but in my experience the fork attachment should speed recovery time. After all, it covers twice the area with bullet-like precision, so intuitively it should work faster to recover large muscle groups.
One area for which I don’t like to use the fork is the spine. Maybe that’s counterintuitive; many people assume this attachment is meant to straddle the spine. But I don’t recommend using it over your vertebrae because it’s a potentially sensitive area.
Massage guns emit intense, powerful percussion, and accidentally knocking your spine or delicate spinous process with one of these is really uncomfortable.
Honestly, no massage gun with a hard plastic attachment will feel good against the vertebrae, or any bony part for that matter. Always avoid direct contact with your bones, if possible, with any massage gun head.
2. The Bullet Attachment
Best for: Large tight muscles; deep tissue; target spots
It’s only fitting that a massage gun comes with a bullet, providing the intensity of the fork with the precision of a single point. With the bullet head, it’s really easy to pinpoint tough areas and activate deep tissue. It’s one of the most useful attachments.
That being said, the bullet is not my go-to attachment if I’m targeting a sensitive area like my forearm or shoulder. Sometimes the pointy end makes the treatment too intense. However, this intensity is perfect for the legs and back muscles, as long as you keep it away from your vertebrae. The bullet attachment works well for any place where you need a deep tissue massage.
3. The Flat Round Attachment
Best for: Medium to large muscles; sore muscles
I call this one the “flat round” because that’s the best way to describe it. Its knob-like shape covers a wide area for large muscle groups, while its flat top distributes the force of the massage gun.
The flat round attachment is great for medium to large muscle groups. It doesn’t go as deep as the bullet attachment, but the modified force is really helpful on bulky muscle groups like the calf or biceps. With this head, you don’t have to worry about pounding sore or sensitive muscles such as your calf or deltoids. It’s ideal for any muscle that has a little more “give” to it.
4. The Ball Attachment
Best for: Sensitive muscle groups; all areas
The Bob & Brad massage gun includes a foam ball attachment, but for some massage guns it’s a plastic or hard rubber ball. Either way, what’s great about a ball attachment is the graded control it gives your massage.
What do I mean by “graded control”? It’s the ability to adjust the intensity of the percussion by simply tilting the head away from the affected area. By employing different angles, you can achieve more of a cross-friction massage.
The ball’s shape is perfectly round, so you can smoothly rotate the point of contact with even, steady force. This graded control means you can make micro-adjustments of force and intensity, perfect for tender areas such as your forearm, foot, and shoulder.
5. The Padded Round Attachment
Best for: Sensitive and bony areas
My favorite massage gun head from Bob & Brad, the padded round attachment uses air to cushion its percussion. It’s really comfortable to use around areas with bony prominences such as the spine, shoulder, wrists, feet, and even the upper neck.
The padding provides a little “give,” so if you do knock against your wrist bone, it won’t make you jump off the table like a hard attachment would. This is the head to use for your lumbar paraspinals and thoracic paraspinals, instead of the fork. It’s the best attachment to use near sensitive and bony areas.
That’s not to say you don’t get a strong massage from this attachment. The padded round isn’t a total softie; it can still deliver powerful percussion to your sore muscles. I found the padded round to be one of the most comfortable attachments, and it’s my go-to piece when I use my massage gun.
Massage Gun Heads: Got a Favorite?
That’s my take on the five massage gun heads I have on my gun, but there are plenty others to try. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about a particular gun or attachment – or a preference on your go-to massage gun head!