BACKGROUND: With the advancement in technology, individuals have easier access to benefits from massage therapy in the form of a percussive therapy massage gun for individualized myofascial release (MFR) treatment. These devices aid in muscle recovery by reducing soreness, inflammation, tension, and pain. Though these devices have been heavily researched post-exercise, there is a significant lack of research intra-exercise. The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological responses (i.e., sets/reps) and psychological outcomes (i.e., affect, pain, enjoyment) performing MFR during single-arm bicep curls and single-leg quadriceps extensions relative to a control condition. METHODS: Participants [N= 18, 8 females; age (M ± SD); 20.33 ± 1.50 yrs; BMI (M ± SD); 72.4 ± 11.9] completed an initial 10-RM for biceps curls and quadriceps extension until functional failure (i.e., ≤ 6 reps). All participants were randomly assigned percussive therapy and completed an active (i.e., MFR) and control (i.e., no MFR) condition. RESULTS: Participants completed significantly more sets [Mdiff ± SE = 1.61 ± 0.52; P = .006; Cohen’s d = 0.56] and reps [Mdiff ± SE = 14.81 ± 5.57; P = .017; Cohen’s d = 0.53] during the control relative to the active. Participants had high levels of enjoyment in both active [(M ± SD); 107 ± 14] and control [(M ± SD); 109 ± 11] conditions, however, there were no differences between conditions [P = 0.69]. There were no differences in pain between conditions but rather slight increases from pre- to post-exercise [Cohen’s d = 1.10]. Lastly, there were no differences in psychological affect between conditions but significant changes pre- and post-exercise: increases in Energy [Cohen’s d = 1.26], Tension [Cohen’s d = 0.75], State Anxiety [Cohen’s d = 0.60], and decreases in Tiredness [Cohen’s d = 0.73] and Calmness [Cohen’s d = 0.95} CONCLUSION: The results indicate percussive therapy MFR may be more effective to use post-exercise as it does not suggest any significant benefits intra-exercise but perhaps deters performance. Despite the active condition being well tolerated by participants, results indicate there are no significant psychological benefits relative to the control. Further investigation is encouraged as there is a growing popularity to utilize these devices in various exercise events.

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