The Sticky Truth About Athletic Tape

by | Updated: December 2nd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

It makes runners and weightlifters look so sporty, so professional. Plus, with all the fun fashion prints to choose from, you’ll never find an outfit it doesn’t match. But is that colorful, carefully placed athletic tape just a flashy accessory, or is it actually helping with performance?

Tips for Using Athletic Tape

Also known as kinesiology tape, athletic tape can be helpful in a number of ways. When applied to different areas of the body, it supports muscles, bones and joints, improves circulation, reduces inflammation and relaxes overused, tired muscles. All of these benefits contribute to better overall performance, making athletic tape a popular choice for anyone who is serious about fitness.

Kinesiology tape is woven to stretch in one direction, giving you full range of motion when you move. It lifts skin away from the soft tissue underneath, helping to speed recovery by allowing more blood to circulate to an injured area. Plus, it’s comfortable to wear. Designed to move just like your skin, athletic tape moves with you and doesn’t feel restrictive or odd to wear.

Why wrap?

Whether you’re pumping iron, running a marathon or competing in a big show, athletic tape can help:

  • Delay fatigue by promoting blood flow to the muscles.
  • Stabilize joints, especially in weak areas such as your wrists, elbows, knees and ankles, while still allowing a full range of motion.
  • Promote proper form for better performance. (Loose or sloppy form, brought on by fatigue, slows you down.)
  • Prevent injury by assisting with form.
  • Promote better focus, either on your workout or a specific exercise.
  • Relieve swelling and muscle pain when applied after a workout or event.

Prep & stick

Before you get started, it’s always a good idea to read the package directions. To prep your skin, shave away any excess hair (if you have fine hair, or just a little hair, that should be fine—you just don’t want tape removal to be painful). Wash your skin to remove lotions or creams, then swipe with a little rubbing alcohol. Now, apply your tape.

Who needs what

Any active person can benefit from athletic tape, though these are the most popular uses.

General support: Elbows, knees, wrists, lower back, shins, shoulders and ankles

Endurance sports (running, cycling and triathlons): Knees, shins and thighs

Functional training: Knees, wrists, shoulders and elbows.