The wide world of products aimed at recovery, rehabilitation, and general muscle health grows bigger every year. The latest is a vibrating peanut-shaped device called the Wave Duo, made by the popular fitness recovery brand Therabody. Functionally, it combines a classic foam roller, a percussion massager, and two lacrosse balls. Does anyone need that? I got my hands—and my neck, and my back, and my legs—on one for a month to find out.
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What Is the Therabody Wave Duo?
Therabody’s Wave Duo hit shelves early in 2021. The company made its name through the popularity of its Theragun percussion massage guns.
Theres a lot that’s different about the Wave Duo and their massage guns, but the most obvious is the price: Theraguns are $179 to $599 retail, while the Wave Duo is just $99. That alone makes the product intriguing, as it’s among the most budget friendly of Therabody’s typically well-made body massage tools.
Functionally, it’s as stated before: a foam roller, percussion massager, and a pair of lacrosse balls had a baby that buzzes hard to reach muscle groups.
What’s Good About the Therabody Wave Duo?
Simple, effective recovery
The Therabody Wave Duo does its job very well. Practically, it’s a massage gun and a foam roller folded into one. Its weird peanut shape is perfect for hitting muscle zones that are traditionally difficult to express. The most obvious—and the most advertised—is the center back, or rather either side of the spine. The first time I used it I plopped it on the floor, turned it on a medium vibration setting, and rolled either side of the peanut down my scapula, thoracic, and erector areas. I wasn’t even doing it right—the free app showed me that—and it was immediately obvious the thing does exactly what it’s meant to do.
The secondary uses are lower body and neck applications. For legs, I’ve found rolling out my quads—laying face down with elbows on the floor and the Wave Duo rolling one quad at a time—with the vibration set to low to be the absolute best (in a hurts-so-good kind of way) recovery tool after a particularly brutal leg day at the gym. Rolling your calves out after a long run is also euphoric.
Then there’s the neck. My god, if your neck is tight after a day staring at a computer—which it is, nearly every day—Therabody’s Wave Duo is it. Lying on the floor and rolling the device up and down between your lower traps and the middle part of your neck is a daily ritual for me.
It just feels premium
Therabody has a strong track record of making products that do what they say they do. But what it does better than nearly all its competition is making products that feel worth the money. It’s weighty in the hand—roughly 3 pounds—and the hypoallergenic rubber exterior feels luxe. The button that turns it on and controls vibration intensity is tactile and responsive. There are almost no visible creases or areas the device could break apart at. It feels like it should be more than $99, if I’m being completely honest.
Most foam rollers don’t fit in a gym bag, and if they do it takes up 90 percent of the acreage inside. Therabody’s Wave Duo is a staple in mine.
It’s roughly 8 inches long and 4 inches wide (at the widest part of the peanut shape). This makes it perfect for relieving the muscle groups mentioned in the above section and sitting next to my lifting straps, water bottle, and change of clothes in my gym bag. Similarly, it’s perfect for traveling. I feel rickety and broken after a long flight, so I brought the Wave Duo on vacation with me and rolled out my neck and back when I could. It made a huge difference, and the relief made my vacation just a little bit better.
Thanks to its fully-closed build and thick rubber exterior it’s also rather quiet, especially as compared to normal vibrating massage equipment. Unlike my Hyperice, you won’t hear it two rooms down the hall.
Solid value for the money
After buying the product for review, I’d forgotten the sticker price. Sitting down to write this review after a month of use, I was genuinely shocked that it was $99. Between the function, premium vibes, and nice-to-have features I would’ve guessed something more like $150 for it (especially so considering some massage guns are going for $300 or $400 nowadays). While you can’t hit every muscle group effectively with a Wave Duo, its niche—spinal muscles, neck relief, legs—is well-defined and somewhat difficult to hit with other, similar products.
What’s Not Good About the Therabody Wave Duo?
Rubber collects dust like crazy
I like Therabody’s Wave Duo a lot. Truth be told, there isn’t much negative to write home about. But my god does the rubbery exterior collect dust. I’ve got a dog that sheds and I don’t have a housekeeper so there’s dust hanging around the house. The Wave Duo is a dust magnet. No matter where I put it, it will accumulate dust and a little dog hair. If you’ve got a microfiber cloth lying around, cleaning it isn’t an issue, but it’s something that I’ve regularly groaned about since the beginning of this review process.
Would I abandon the rubber exterior to prevent this, though? I wouldn’t. It makes the product more comfortable, tougher, and muffles sound coming from it all at once. This is very much an old-man-shakes-fist-at-cloud moment.
Slightly less versatile than a massage gun
As I’ve written, the Wave Duo does its job exceptionally well. But if you’re searching for a full-body percussion massager, look elsewhere. It’s not great at hitting areas that are either asymmetric or uneven. Your stiff shoulders will feel better after 10 minutes with a massage gun than they will for half an hour with the Wave Duo. But the brand doesn’t advertise the Wave Duo as a massage gun replacement, and nothing in the marketing suggests it is one. Consider this more of a disclaimer than a true negative against the product.
The Bottom Line
At $99, I’d recommend Therabody’s Wave Duo to anyone with a stiff neck or back—so basically every adult that works out regularly or has a desk job. It’s made of quality materials, it’s easy to use, and the price is more than competitive for what’s on offer.