Addaday's Lesson on Percussion

As triathletes we put our bodies through some serious hardships during a typical week of training. We know what it’s like to cope with varying levels of discomfort and pain. We know there are steps we can take to avoid these pitfalls. Yet oftentimes we blow right past all of the warning signs and fall victim to injury.

Back in 2009, Victor Yang learned this lesson the hard way. While leading a stressful and sedentary lifestyle and putting in long hours in his career in the tech world, Yang realized the work was taking a toll on his health. He took over the reins and started running, quickly progressing to marathons and even ultras. Yet his body was unable to keep up with his ambitions and he got injured.

While trying to cope with his shin splints and IT Band pain he realized all the recovery tools he had to use to help him rebound were either impractical, inefficient or too expensive. So in 2011, he decided to leave his high paying tech job and started creating his own line of recovery tools, naming it Addaday, meaning to add-a-day to your life.

In the nine years since having recovered from his own injuries to return to competing at ultras, Yang and his Addaday team are focused on bringing tech-driven recovery tools that mimic the techniques used by professionals on elite athletes to help speed recovery for everyone.

One of the smartest moves company leaders can make is to hire and surround themselves with smart people and Yang did just that when he brought onboard Dr. Mike Venezia, DC. Known simply as “Dr. Mike”, he’s worked extensively as a consultant and physician with all of the major Los Angeles professional teams - the Dodgers, Lakers and Kings.

Given his 13 years of clinical experience in the diagnosis and management of sports and soft tissue injuries with pro, amateur and weekend warriors alike, we asked Dr. Mike about his approach to healing and recovery.

For a time-crunched athlete what recommendations do you have for them to make room in their day for recovery?

Dr. Mike: Pick a time, any time. I tell my patients when you brush your teeth in the morning and at night, use your BioZoom. There is nothing wrong with multitasking. Like anything, you make time for what’s important. Precovery and recovery are just as important as training. Remember, you can’t train if you’re injured.

What are the greatest benefits athletes can get from percussive therapy?

Dr. Mike: When used correctly, percussive massage devices can be used in a variety of ways. The most important aspect with any therapy is technique and application. Both myself, Robert Forster PT and Aaron Knighton, PT, DPT, OCS, have pulled from our cumulative years of clinical work and research to develop treatment protocols to help athletes and everyday people alike.

#1: By adding percussive therapy with the proper technique, we have seen a sharp increase in recovery symptoms. Patients report feeling less sore and swollen.

#2: Percussive therapy can also facilitate proprioceptive nerve fibers. This can allow the athlete to perceive the ground, as well as where they are in space. The more sensory feedback the brain has, the better the athlete can perform.

#3: Percussive therapy can decrease myofascial adhesions. These adhesions reduce range of motion and cause even more pain during exercise. Using a percussive device with the proper application of pulling through stretch and attachment allows for myofascial adhesions to break apart, and range of motion to be restored.

#4: Percussive devices can also be used in conjunction with acupressure applications. We have developed treatment protocols to help facilitate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) or stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).

What misconceptions do athletes have about using percussive therapies?

Dr. Mike:

#1: Percussive devices are for not everyone. Like anything you use on or in your body, check with your doctor first. There are contraindications to everything, including percussion.

#2: I can use a Percussion Device instead of going to my Physio for post-op or serious injury. Using a BioZoom properly will help recovery and rehab. That said, consulting with a PT, Chiro, Physiatrist or other licensed therapist is strongly recommended for serious injury or postoperative care.

#3: More, and more power, is not better. It’s just more. Muscle guarding is a natural response to pain. Consider someone punching you. The natural response is flex to protect the body. The same response is elicited with pressure and pain during massage. The ultimate goal is to not guard against pressure, rather to allow the muscle to relax. Our BioZoom is designed to allow the user to place as much or little pressure as the body can comfortably accept. The body will become acclimated to pressure after more consistent use and allow for more pressure.

#4: Once is not enough. Like anything, consistency is the name of the game. For long lasting effects, the BioZoom should become part of your daily routine during warmup, cooldown, pre and recovery.

Why is it important to have multiple attachment options versus a one-size-fits-all attachment?

Dr. Mike: Like a piece of clothing, one size attachment does not fit all. Each attachment provides for specific treatment protocols. Muscles and Fascia have different densities, shapes, amounts of tension and are innervated with varying amounts of sensory nerves. As such, we have developed five (5) different attachments of different shape and density to address different tissue, injury and location.

Which BioZoom attachment would you recommend for the following:

Sore lats and shoulders: Red
Tight hamstrings: Blue
IT band soreness: Blue or Fascial, depending on tissue sensitivity.
Plantar fasciitis: Red or Fascial, depending on tissue sensitivity.
Sore calves: Achilles - Red, Gastroc/Soleus - Blue
Lower back soreness: Lumbar Paraspinals - Blue or Yellow, depending on tissue sensitivity.
Tight glutes and hips: Blue
General body fatigue, no specific soreness: Yellow or Blue, depending on tissue sensitivity.

Here’s What Addaday sponsored pro Tim O’Donnell had to say:

About the BioChair: “Their BioChair is my absolute favorite. On top of a traditional massage chair, but with rollers, it has heat, stretching and compression. I’m in it several times a day. I’ll get in it now before my first workout in the morning, in-between sessions and then before I go to bed.”

About the BioZoom: “When I’m traveling or don’t have access to a BioChair I go for the BioZoom gun. It is great for pinpointing target areas. It’s quick, light-weight and easy to take when traveling.”

Here’s What Our Testers Had to Say:
About our testers Jana R, Steve H and Gemma H

- The rubberized handle, weight distribution and the quietness of the motor really impressed me. - The variety of the attachments are unique and work well for their intended purpose.
- Right amount of pressure and quiet enough to use in the early hours before my wife wakes up.
- Seeing their pricing online, I feel there is great value in owning a BioZoom.
- Thumbs up. I will be recommending this to anyone who asks me for recommendations.
- Easy to use, easy to hold (super light) and quickly became part of my daily routine, whether it was pre-workout to loosen and wake up my muscles or post workout or pre-bed for recovery.
- Delivered charged right out of the package which was a great plus.
- Easy to store as well in its own case.
- 100% can be used from the comfort of my couch.
- Hands down replaces the foam roller or lacrosse ball for me.
- High performing and super quiet with five different attachments

- Lacks a bit of the ‘oomph’ of other guns I’ve tried
- Shortcomings on all the massage guns I’ve used are the same when it comes to being able to reach everywhere. Middle back will always require assistance from another person.
- Can only move speed up, but not back down without going through all speeds
- Doesn’t feel as powerful as other guns
- For me the case design itself was a bit cheesy

For more on Addaday, visit their website here.

Weigh in on percussive therapy on our curated forum thread All Things Recovery.

Photos by @DigitalKnightProductions

Disclaimer: Addaday is a Slowtwitch Partner