I have yet to meet anyone that enjoys riding day after day with a set of heavy legs. Whether you’re in a stage race and need fresh legs every day to perform, or are on a mountain bike vacay, and want to get the maximum out of a destination visit, proper recovery is a must.
Foam rolling has always been my go-to, but rollers are big and cumbersome, and not easily stowed in an overhead compartment, though there are narrower versions that make carrying one easier. But, foam rollers can still be hard to get into a small muscle. They are great for covering broad muscles like calves and quadriceps, but not as great for smaller muscles, like the traps or even forearms.
That’s where percussion massage guns come in handy. These power-drill-looking things having been growing like mushrooms lately, and may be more commonly known as a “Theragun,” though that’s a generalization under one brand’s name.
About the Addaday Biozoom Edge
I’ve been using the Addaday BioZoom Edge for the past few months after the brand reached out and asked if we’d like to try it. The BioZoom is comparable to most percussion massagers out there but sells for a fraction of what others like Theragun charge.
For $150, the Biozoom Edge is a bluetooth-enabled and cordless massager that includes five different attachments and a charger. The gun can take up to 21 pounds of force before it stalls, also preventing soft tissue damage. There are buttons on top and at the “trigger” to adjust the amount of force or frequency, and the bluetooth connectivity plugs into the Addaday app to give personalized programs. The frequency ranges from 20-48Hz.
“It’s as close as you can get to an in-person physical therapy consultation from the comfort of your home,” said the folks from Addaday when they filled me in on the instrument.
With the app, users can enter details on their workout and use the gun as either a warm-up or a recovery device. The Addaday app accounts for things like workout time, area, and intensity of any body pains associated with exercise, and even the user’s amount of stress and sleep. Then, the app will recommend a list of instructional videos for the user based on their ailments or plan for the day.
Vic Yang founded Addaday in 2010. He was in search of more recovery techniques after making the transition from living a sedentary lifestyle to that of an athlete. Yang started a blog encouraging others to “add a day to their lives” and it eventually turned into a range of recovery products, sold at numerous retailers across the country.
Why use the BioZoom Edge?
Before we get into the functionality of the BioZoom Edge, let’s cover why someone would want to use a percussion massager. The effects are similar to foam rolling, but again, can be used in a different manner and to target smaller muscles.
Using a percussion gun is a form of myofascial release, which helps realign and release bundled muscle fibers into a better position with the muscle and fascia. Fascia is a web-like covering of connective tissue around muscles which can become tight and knotted in areas, leading to aches. Since mountain bikers often spend long amounts of time in certain positions, accumulating muscle imbalances, this can be problematic for us.
The BioZoom Edge can be used for myofascial release, helping to improve range of motion, prevent muscle soreness, and improve circulation.
One major difference between a foam roller and the massage gun is that with the gun, users can go for a much lighter pressure. As I mentioned above, I have long been loyal to a foam roller, and can withstand a lot of pressure. My own “foam roller” for years was a $5 PVC pipe from Home Depot, something I caught onto working at a gym. I like firmer pressure, but that can take some working up to, and a lot of people don’t like or don’t need something as unforgiving. Even with a softer foam roller, it can take a while for people who are new to myofascial release to get accustomed.
Since massage guns are relatively new, they haven’t been studied extensively, but there is some research that shows that vibration therapy “improves muscular strength, power development, kinesthetic awareness, decreased muscle soreness, increased range of motion, and increased blood flow under the skin.”
Hands on with the BioZoom Edge
Operationally, the BioZoom Edge is pretty simple to figure out. There’s an on/off switch on the bottom. Once it’s on, set the mode to either auto or manual. On manual, the user sets the frequency with either the touch controls on top or at the trigger. Level one is the slowest, level five is the fastest.
The different heads attach by inserting them into the end of the gun and the rubber band around the base of the heads keeps them in place. I haven’t had any issues with the heads coming out, and with five different heads, I’ve had an easy time finding the right tool for the job.
The “Happy” attachment is a low-density foam for more sensitive muscles. The two-pronged head is made to hit fascia twice in one stroke. A hard, single-tipped plastic piece works for dense or hard-to-get muscles. The red “Bubbles” ball, resembling a boxing glove, is another tool to help keep a comfortable amount of pressure on muscles. Lastly, “Mr. Torch,” the blue, geometrically shaped ball is another, more broad head for myofascial release across large muscles like the quads.
The BioZoom has an ergonomic feel and the design makes it easy to apply pressure, whether you’re sitting on the couch hammering your quads, or trying to reach the muscles around the back of the neck. I’d say it’s possible to get a decent amount of force anywhere on the body, even when using it alone. But, there’s also nothing wrong with asking a friend or partner to do the work for you.
I’ve used the app occasionally, and it works well. If you’re someone who wants a better understanding of how aches and pains develop, the app is very useful for illustrating how to aid recovery in certain areas. It’s also pretty cool how the app works with the gun. By going through the setup and picking a video, the force and time are automatically adjusted for the length of the instruction. The videos have been very easy to comprehend.
Battery life has been great on the BioZoom Edge. Addaday claims the charge lasts between two and four hours and that seems about right. I use the gun for maybe 15-20 minutes at a time and rarely have to recharge it, and there’s a battery life indicator on top to make it easy to remember.
As I mentioned above, I can be a glutton for firm myofascial release, and I’ve found that the BioZoom can handle my needs. I’d say that a firm foam roller still leaves my legs feeling more refreshed overall, but the BioZoom is quite helpful for smaller or more difficult muscles, or when you’re just dead tired after a long ride and don’t feel like draping your carcass over a foam log on the floor.
I’ve only had a few small issues with the gun. The stickers across the side are peeling up, making the grip less comfortable, and occasionally I’ll hit the touch screen buttons on top with another part of my body, changing the levels when I didn’t mean to. Both are pretty minor issues. It would also be nice to get a carry case for the gun. Oh, and USB charging might be nice too, so users could carry one less item while traveling.
I have had a great experience with the Addaday BioZoom Edge. It’s easy to use, holds a charge well, and does what it’s supposed to. Considering that competitors sell percussion and massage guns for twice as much, the BioZoom has a good edge on them (zing).