The Benefits of Using Kinesio Taping For Muscle Performance

You may have seen top athletes sporting colorful tape on their arms, legs and backs. While a fashion statement on its own, this tape also provides a plethora of benefits ranging from pain relief, stabilization to increased muscle performance. So, how does a piece of tape do this?

The Rundown on Kinesio Tape 

Kinesio tape has a few main functions that make it a great aid for muscle performance and recovery. The tape itself was created to mimic skin which when worn, can help to facilitate healing. When the tape is applied in a specific pattern, it has been shown to:

  • Promote Fluid Flow
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce pressure in the applied area
  • Facilitate proper arthrokinematics of a joint
  • Cuing for improved postural awareness

Kinesio tape is famously worn by olympic athletes and sports professionals though anyone can get relief and support from taping. Athlete or someone who is active on the weekends, kinesio tape can be used for:   

  • Muscle Aches
  • Plantar Fasciitis 
  • Shin Splints
  • Knee Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Swelling post operation or injury
  • Lower and upper back pain
  • Postural support
  • Stabilization of a joint

If you’ve seen athletes wear Kinesio tape, you may have noticed that they sport it in different colors and patterns. These patterns are not just for show, they also:

  • Help to facilitate proper patellar movement through its groove during knee bending and straightening to aid in reducing knee pain
  • Promotes postural awareness to eliminate rounded shoulders and forward head or bring awareness to low back positioning 
  • Provides stability to a joint with laxity due to muscle weakness or decreased structural integrity
  • Reduces swelling by opening our lymphatic channels to allow fluid to move from our limbs back into our core
  • Relieves strain on muscles/tendons to reduce pain symptoms. 

How Kinesio Tape Helps With Muscle Performance

When it comes to muscle performance, wearing kinesio tape during and after your workouts can improve your ability to perform more reps while prolonged wearing of the tape also helps to speed up the muscle recovery process. By gently lifting the skin away from the fascia and underlying muscle, the tape promotes muscle healing by giving fluids such as lactic acid room to flow freely away from the muscles and good nutrients and blood into the muscles. In turn, this increased room for free flowing fluids actually helps the muscles to heal at a faster rate. Faster healing = needing to wait less time between lifting days at the gym.   

Ways To Wear Your Tape

Kinesio tape has many benefits for muscle performance but these only happen if the tape is applied properly. It is recommended to have a trained physical therapist show you how to apply the tape in the correct pattern for your desired effect. Once you have the basics down, you can apply the tape yourself. 

When it comes to Kinesio tape, it is all in the application. Depending on the pattern that the tape is applied, it offers different support and benefits. There are generally four main patterns for kinesio tape application from which endless patterns can be created. 

  1. The “I” Strip

The “I” strip is commonly used for muscles in the shoulder or back to help with alignment, structural support for injured muscles and movement correction. 

2. The “X” Strip

The “X” strip offers a complex structural support to the applied area. The “X” pattern is ideal for applying over muscles that cross multiple joints such as elbows or knees, or areas more than one muscle belly.

3. The “Y” Strip

The “Y” strip is an ideal shape for applying on sensitive areas that are weak or injured. The “Y” shape is helpful in relieving pain by promoting the muscle to rest. 

4. The “Fan” Strip

The “Fan” strip is used most often for reducing swelling of an area. The “Fan” strip is a good choice for promoting the body’s natural healing process as it not only is able to dramatically reduce swelling but also bruising. 

As mentioned above, it is best to visit a physical therapist to show you the many different ways that you can apply your kinesio tape. Physical therapists are highly knowledgeable in knowing what patterns to apply the tape in to maximize its effect in your overall goal. 

The Wrap-Up

Kinesio tape is beneficial in helping speed up the body’s natural healing process. When applied in a specific pattern, the tape is able to effectively relieve pain, give support and reduce swelling. In aspects of increasing muscle performance the tape has been shown to help athletes increase their endurance in the weight room. By helping the muscles rebuild at a faster rate, athletes are able to spend less time on the sidelines.