[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You might have noticed other fitness enthusiasts sporting colorful bands of athletic tape at the gym. This is also called kinesiology tape, but what specific function does this serve, and is it actually effective?
is often touted for its performance-enhancing and injury-prevention qualities, and as it turns out, there’s scientific evidence to back this up. Learn more about the “whys” behind taping and how you can use it to optimize your movement.
What is athletic tape and how does it work?
Athletic tape is an adhesive made from firm but breathable material, such as bamboo
to support the skin’s natural elasticity and move with the body’s range of motion. Because many varieties of athletic tape are medical-strength and water-resistant, they’re also durable enough to last for a few days at a time. For maximum safety and comfort, look for hypoallergenic athletic tape, free of both plastic and latex, so it won’t irritate the skin as you sweat.
When applied to a certain area of the body, athletic tape creates a minuscule space
between the surface of your skin and the joint tissues beneath it. That space then alleviates irritation, pressure, or inflammation in the surrounding joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Here’s how that can benefit your workouts and body.
What are the benefits of using athletic tape?
Athletic tape can be used for many reasons and in many ways. Whether you want to improve circulation or ease pain, this may be the missing tool in your toolbox.
Athletic tape can improve circulation
The Journal of Performance Health Research
found that athletic tape increases blood flow to the area of application. This boost in circulation lifts the skin to mitigate localized pressure and inflammation, delay muscle fatigue, and lower the risk of injuries.
When your muscles have the right amount of circulation to fuel and sustain their efforts, your overall endurance improves. This means you can exercise longer while maintaining optimal form.
Athletic tape can stabilize your joints
Certain joints such as the wrists, ankles, elbows, or knees can be fragile and more injury prone. Unlike some adhesives that restrict the range of motion, athletic tape is stable and
flexible, so the joints can move normally while also being protected.
When combined with joint stabilization exercises, taping can increase comfort and mobility in the ankles and wrists, which can make it easier to perform weight-bearing activities
Athletic tape can ease pain or swelling
When used in conjunction with physical therapy and other rehab techniques, athletic tape can reduce pain from musculoskeletal injuries. For example, a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
reveals that athletic tape offers significant relief from chronic knee pain or swelling. This, in turn, restores strength and functionality to the area, so you can move with less persistent soreness.
Athletic tape can help correct posture
Placing athletic tape on your neck can help alleviate unnatural posture
in the upper body such as a forward head or round shoulders. Incorrect posture can lead to spinal misalignment and chronic pain in other areas of the body—this can then impair your form for even the most basic workout moves.
What is the best method to apply athletic tape?
You know the benefits—but how do you actually use this fitness product? Follow these best practices to ensure the athletic tape remains secure during intensive workouts—without causing any discomfort or skin irritation—so you can reap the benefits of injury prevention and overall performance.
1. Sterilize the area of application first.
Shave or trim excess hair on the spot where you will be attaching the athletic tape. Clean the skin with unscented soap or rubbing alcohol, then dry it off completely to ensure the tape will adhere.
2. Target injury-prone muscles or joints.
The best areas to place athletic tape are the knees, wrists, elbows, shins, ankles, shoulders, neck, hips, thighs, lower back, and other areas vulnerable to fractures, sprains, or tension.
3. Avoid sensitive or already hurt areas.
Do not tape areas of skin where you have an open wound, rash or allergic reaction, abnormal lesions, and irritation or swelling. The athletic tape could further exacerbate the pain and skin damage.
4. Stretch the tape—but not too much.
When applying the athletic tape to your skin, be careful not to overextend the strips. Too much stretching on either end can pull at your skin, restrict movement, or cause the tape to fall off prematurely.
5. Rub vigorously after the application.
Once the tape is attached in the right spot, rub it for 30 seconds to a minute. This friction will build up heat between your skin surface and the athletic tape, which helps to maximize adhesion.
6. Know which pattern technique to use.
There are four main patterns
that you can use to attach athletic tape and each one serves a unique function. The “I” pattern is used for muscle strength and posture alignment. The “X” pattern is used to cover a large surface area. The “Y” pattern is used for joint stabilization. And the “Fan” pattern is used for pain management or inflammation reduction.
Athletic tape can be an effective adjunct to your fitness regimen
Reap the many benefits of athletic tape, from increased circulation and better posture to injury prevention and pain reduction. When taped correctly, you can use this as a tool to feel even better during and after each workout.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title="Featured Products" border_width="2"][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="3/12"][vc_single_image image="163229" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" link="https://www.vitacost.com/patch-strap-bamboo-body-tape-natural"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="3/12"][vc_single_image image="163228" img_size="full" onclick="custom_link" img_link_target="_blank" link="https://www.vitacost.com/patch-strap-bamboo-body-tape-black"][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="2/12"][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]