Wow, this summer has just been rolling! It is August already!? We have had some pretty cool happenings here that have kept us pretty busy. We have had a few new projects (details on those coming soon), a few new teams, and as always an amazing group of athletes keeping us busy. I will write more about the happenings in the near future but some highlights have to be podiums at Road and Mountain Bike National Championships, working with the awesome Bear Development Team, and the opening (soon!) of our new state of the art bike fit studio. Having a dedicated studio will be very nice and allow us to use the latest technology to improve comfort and performance on the bike. One item I have been using more and more in performance bike fittings is kinesio tape, specifically RockTape.
While Kinesio tape isn’t new (anybody remember the bright pink tape on USPS riders in the late 90s?), the early releases into the consumer market were basically nothing more than fashion statements. The adhesive wasn’t strong enough and they weren’t elastic enough to be effective. When a few new companies entered the market I decided it may be worth another look and I am very glad that I did. RockTape is by far the best tape I have used and has been very useful for my athletes.
It is amazing how many athletes are using kinesio tape this year in the Olympics as well. Everybody from weightlifters to cyclists are using it to help with their performance. Anybody notice the tape sticking out the back of Wiggin’s jersey after the TT?
So what exactly is RockTape? Rock Tape is a kinesiotape that can help in recovery, treatment of overuse injuries, and correcting movement patterns designed with the endurance athlete in mind. It comes in 5 meter rolls, in a ton of colors and patterns, that can be cut to fit your anatomy or particular use. That is a big plus since in previous trials with Kinesio Tape I was frustrated by only being able to get pre cut strips where you had to make a compromise and sacrifice some of its effectiveness.
Rocktape basically has 3 functions. Compression, decompression, and biofeedback. Compression is easy, wrap it tight. Decompression is a concept of anchoring the tape, the stretching it cover an area of injury or were increased blood flow is wanted, and anchoring the end without stretch. That causes a slightly “tenting” effect of the skin that can allow a little more blood flow. Biofeedback is based on the principle that we can align the body i proper position (for example neutral spine) and then we apply tape without stretch to the area. When an athlete than comes out of ideal position the tape stretches across the skin resulting in instant biofeedback.
Treatment of overuse injuries
I have used and recommend Rock Tape for the use of several common overuse injuries and most athletes have felt that there is a positive benefit from its use. A few athletes have even felt that it made all pain go away when applied and sped up healing drastically. The primary method of application for an overuse injury is decompression. Decompression also works very well for bruising as long as there isn’t any broken skin on top of the bruise.
I haven’t seen any definitive evidence that Rock Tape helps endurance sports performance but I several athletes feel that it does a make a difference despite what the data may say. If an athlete feels better though, they generally do better as well. Plus, why not avoid a little suffering if you can.
Rocktape can do amazing things in maintain good body. I have had a ton of success using Rock Tape to help correct movement patterns and reinforce a good position on the bike. The best example of how use Rock Tape can be in reinforcing a good position is on a TT bike. Typically a time trial position on the bike can be pretty extreme. The athlete is trying to put out the most power possible while remaining aerodynamic. Typically as an athlete breaks down and fatigues through an effort they will also lose their ideal position. Strategically applied Rocktape to an athlete’s back can provide a lot of feedback so the athlete knows when they are breaking position. Eventually that feedback becomes subconscious and the athlete will stay in aero position.
Rocktape has a ton of uses and can make a big difference. It is something I recommend all endurance athletes have in their “tool box.”