RockTape AR Kinesiology Tape
RockTape is a special kind of tape known as kinesiology tape. First used by acupuncturists and chiropractors in Japan, today kinesiology tape is used by practitioners throughout the world to treat injuries and improve sports performance.
RockTape's Active-Recovery (AR) series of tapes are designed to enhance performance and recovery. Unlike regular compression garments and tapes, RockTape's AR series can be used both to apply compression to promote recovery, or decompression to relieve pain and swelling. RockTape is engineered to meet the demands of endurance athletes like runners, swimmers and cyclists.
Stickier, hypoallergenic adhesive that won't fall off during competition
180% stretch, the same elasticity as skin, to promote full range of motion
97% cotton, 3% Nylon 6/12, low moisture absorption
Tighter weave, which enables muscle to more easily snap back to neutral
Variety of designs and colors
Wearable for up to 5 days
2 inches wide x 16.5 feet in length in each roll
Retail - $20
This has been an interesting test. I do not know about you, but I fist starting hearing about kinesiology tape during the 2008 Olympics. Some of the athletes at the games were all tapes up, and it became a common topic of conversation during the coverage. I keep seeing the tape on athletes over the last couple years, but never actually tried the stuff. This winter, RockTape reached out to me to see if I would be interested in trying the tape. I was skeptical of the benefits, but very intrigued to try it since I had seen so many others use it.
RockTape was started by an amateur athlete. He has some minor injuries and his local Physical Therapist tapes him up to help him recover. During his recovery, he also noticed some increased performance during his workouts and started to look into this tape further. Finding tape at the time was a bit difficult, so he started his own company helping to get kinesiology tape into the hands of other amateur athletes. He is so sure that you will love the tape that there is a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee if you do not get results. That is a pretty cool deal.
I fortunately have not been dealing with any injuries lately so I used the tape more for performance gains. I used it mainly for running and cycling. To get a second opinion and to treat an injury, Melissa tested the tape as well. She used it, mainly to treat some numbness caused by Carpal Tunnel in her wrists.
You might be wondering exactly what is RockTape. I kind of mentioned it above, but it is a Kinesiology tape that is used to help treat injuries as well as increase performance. I am sure this is not the first thing you have heard of to promise increased performance benefits. Essentially RockTape can help athletes improve form and decrease fatigue through better blood flow. These are the two most critical aspects of increasing performance in sport. You will be amazed to see how many ways this tape can be used. Whether it is for a wide range of injuries or for different movements in sports, the RockTape website has a huge list of different taping methods depending on what you need.
Melissa using it on her forearm
RockTape can be used to tape for movement rather than the muscles. This Fascial Movement Taping takes into account the fact that the body moves, especially in sports. Typical taping over the years has been done to a joint or muscle to restrict motion and prevent further injury. Kinesiology tape is the opposite; it opens up the muscle to allow for full movement. For injury protection, the tape is placed over an injured area to stabilize it, the tape also helps pull slightly away from the injured area to increase the flow of fluids and help the body's healing process. For sport use the same principle can apply. The tape can be used to both stabilize an area for better form and increases blood flow. This increased blood flow will transport oxygen and waste products faster and therefore, should reduce fatigue.
RockTape is made of 97% cotton and 3% nylon. The tape is said to have 180% stretch. One side of the tape is printed, and the backside uses a hypo-allergenic acrylic based adhesive that is strong enough to last for several days of use. RockTape says users should be able to get 3-4 days of use even with sweating and taking showers. They even make some versions that are designed for the rigors of continuous swimming. The printed side of course is very adjustable. RockTape comes in a large number of different prints to fit whatever your fancy. To use the tape RockTape has put a collection of videos on their website as well as an included guide to some common taping methods. The tape comes in different widths so you can get the size you are most likely to need. It is a cut to length system so it is very versatile. As far as sustainability goes, I was not able to find much information. Cotton is a renewable resource, but nylon is not so I rated accordingly.
Each of the videos shows how to tape for different purposes. Since the tape can be cut to fit it really can work with nearly every body part and size. I have played organized sports for some time now and in all my experience, I can definitely say that taping up was never a recipe for increased movement. I always did it to allow me to play through an injury. In that regard, I have been impressed by how much stretch the RockTape has while still adding support. It is not there to restrict movement rather allow the body to move while increasing the amount of fluid flow for faster recovery. Once putting the tape on, I had no issues with discomfort or restriction. The tape was able to stretch as needed so when I ran with it on my Achilles and calf I was able to run as normal. I also used it on my right shoulder for swimming while I was building distance. I was able to feel it more on my shoulder, but it did not restrict movement. The tape is cloth based so it is soft to the touch. The only thing that can be uncomfortable with the RockTape is pulling it off. The strong adhesive is just that, strong, so it can pull like a band aid when removing it.
Whenever I hear performance claims, I get skeptical. I must say that I really have been impressed with RockTape. I cannot really quantify how much it has helped but both Melissa and I were able to tell the difference when we used it. For me, I used it mainly on my calves and right shoulder. On my legs, I had been fighting a tight calf and with the tape, I had no tightness on or after my long runs. For my shoulder, I have had some rotator cuff soreness as I build my distance up. I still felt some soreness in my shoulder, but it was at a reduced level. Melissa has been dealing with numbness at night due to the start of some Carpal Tunnel in her wrists. Without the tape, she would wake up to her hands being numb throughout the night. With the tape, there was no numbness, and she could sleep much better. If I was impressed, she is even more so.
Using it on my shoulder for swimming
The tape is fortunately fairly durable. I have been able to keep it on for several days without issue. Melissa has been a little harder on the tape but still able to get a couple of days out of it. I have run, showered, and swam with my tape on, and as long as I am careful when drying off the tape will hold for days. If the tape does peel back a little it can be put back into place and rubbed to get the adhesive back. Using the tape has been fairly painless. RockTape gives a sheet with some of the different taping techniques as well as some videos on their website. They have some other taping techniques that are talked about but finding those was a bit more difficult. What is really cool about the tape is how it can be used on so many body parts. The tape comes in a long roll so it can be cut to the appropriate length depending on your need. Whether you need it on your arms, legs, back, or any other spot, I am sure there is a taping technique.
Overall, I think I am now a believer in Kinesiology Tape. Since I am training for an Ironman, I think I really am going to use this stuff through my training. On my long days, I definitely can use all the help I can get. I do wish it was a bit easier to get all the techniques that I see on the site and brochures. I also must say that the camouflage and biohazard styles I tested are a bit much for me but that is why they offer so many schemes. There is something for everyone. I think I am a solid black or blue guy. IF you have not given RockTape a try, I would definitely recommend it. RockTape retails for $20 a roll. Not only is it good for performance but recovery too. As always, your mileage may vary.
Can be worn for days
Plenty of colors to choose from
Some techniques are hard to find
Take a bit to dry after showering