Have you ever woke up in the morning with a stiff neck because you were sleeping in a weird position? Sometimes it works itself out after a hot shower, but other times your neck will be painfully fixed in position for a day or two. Or, you’ve gone for a long run and you’ve got a tight muscle in your calf that just won’t loosen up. In both of these situations, a hand-held massager like the Thumper Sport and the Thumper Mini-Pro can really help.
I spent a few weeks testing out the Thumper Sport and the Thumper Mini-Pro. Both massagers are made in Canada, are easy to hold and simple to use, and they let you direct a solid massage to the areas you need it. They are both percussive massagers, meaning they pulse pressure deep into your tissue. I used it when my neck had a kink and when my legs were cramping from a hike, and in both situations, the Thumper massager loosened my tight muscles quickly.
Here’s a look at the Thumper Sport massager and the Thumper Mini-Pro massager, how they differ, and how they can help you with sore muscles.
Appearance and features of Thumper Sport massager
The Thumper Sport massager is a lightweight massager that weighs approximately 3 lbs. This Thumper massager is designed for home use, and it has a long, ergonomic handle so you can extend it down your back or massage other muscles.
- The variable speed control dial lets you choose between 20 to 40 pulses per second
- Has a True Speed feedback system so it won’t stall out at low speed
- Interchangeable massage spheres offer a hard or soft custom massage
- Wipes clean with a damp cloth
Appearance and features of Thumper Mini Pro massager
The Thumper Mini Pro is 3 lbs just like the Thumper Sport, but this Thumper massager is designed for heavy-duty use. While you can still use it to target your own muscles, I found it’s easier if someone else is using it on your back.
- Strong, smooth percussive massage that targets deep tissue
- Ergonomically designed handle and massage spheres to massage every area of the body without the need to switch attachments
- Three-speed settings for 20, 30, and 40 pulses per second so your massage can be as strong as you’d like
- Heavy-duty DC motor
- Wipes clean with a damp cloth
Testing out Thumper Sport and Thump Mini Pro massagers
I’ve been doing a lot of hiking lately. Depending on the intensity and length of the hikes, I’ve found myself with a cramped muscle in one of my calves. It usually releases after a day, but that day is full of pain until it does.
After one of my latest hikes, I had the perfect opportunity to test out both Thumper massagers on my cramped calf muscle. I started out with the Thumper Sport.
Using Thumper Sport
Thumper Sport has two massage spheres. One set is hard and one set is soft. The soft massage spheres feel very gentle when massaging sore muscles, and I thought they provide a nice back massage. Even when I was at the highest setting of 40 pulses per second, it was still soothing.
When you switch to the hard spheres, the Thumper Sport can feel more intense. I used it on my calf muscle and it definitely loosened it and let me stretch it out. The pain wasn’t completely gone after using the massager, but it was much better than if I hadn’t massaged at all.
The variable speed control is easy to adjust with one finger, and the long, ergonomic handle is long enough for you to reach over and access your back. I could massage my lower back with it just by reaching over, and at only 3 lbs it’s light enough to hold for a while without arm fatigue.
You don’t need oil or lotion when using the Thumper Sport, and it works well through clothing.
Using Thumper Mini-Pro
The Thumper Mini-Pro is a stronger massager designed for heavy-duty use. I can imagine this would be the massager I’d find in a physiotherapist’s office or sports therapy. It has a heavy-duty drive system that you can feel at work when you put it on your shoulders, back, or neck.
When you use a massager there could be some kick-back, meaning the massager jumps when you push down on it to really dig into a sore muscle. I didn’t find kick-back with either of the Thumper massagers, even at top speed.
When applied to a sore calf muscle, I found the Thumper Mini-Pro gave a very strong deep tissue massage. It had noticeably stronger vibration at top speed than the Thumper Sport, but it wasn’t so intense that I couldn’t hold onto it or it was uncomfortable. After 5 minutes at 40 pulses per second, the Thumper Mini-Pro had taken my tight calf muscle and loosened it so I could walk without pain. I still felt the occasional ping when walking throughout the day, but it was much better than without the Thumper massager.
The handle is long enough to reach over, but I found handing it over to another person was best for my back massage. If you have tight shoulders, you’ll find that someone else can really press down hard to penetrate deep tissue. My husband was using both hands, one to hold the handle and one to push the massage spheres, and it loosened my shoulder muscles and neck really quickly.
Should you choose a Thumper massager?
Both Thumper massagers are easy to use, easy to hold, and work to alleviate muscle pain due to sports or, as is often the case for so many of us, hunching over a computer. The Thumper Sport is a great home massager for necks, shoulders, and the odd muscle that’s tight. I found the Thumper Mini-Pro, the heavy-duty option, a better choice for muscle issues due to frequent sports activities like hiking, biking, and running.
In our house, we do an hour or more of biking, hiking, or running almost every day, and the Thumper Mini-Pro is definitely the massager we would choose. You can use it on your own to relieve sore muscles in your thighs and calves and neck, and you can get a really fantastic back and shoulder massage if you have someone else who can stand behind you with it.