If you watched any women’s beach volleyball in the Olympics this summer, you surely noticed some of the athletes wearing bright tape (and little else) on their bodies. In fact, this kinesiology tape is popping up in many other sports too, like cycling, swimming and tennis. That’s because athletes have discovered that the tape actually works to reduce muscle fatigue and prevent injury. RockTape Active Recovery Series ($20) claims it does more than protect — it can also improve performance.
The theory goes that RockTape, which stretches only in one direction, will actually preserve proper form over the course of an event, preventing injury and keeping the body moving the way it’s supposed to. The sticky, hypoallergenic cotton/nylon tape lifts skin and fascia (the layer of connective tissue under the skin) away from the muscles to promote blood flow, flushing away lactic acid and keeping the joints in proper alignment. It’s commonly used to help prevent or recover from runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries. Think it’s snake oil? Think again. Sports medicine physicians are recommending RockTape’s use to professional athletes, and the Garmin-Cervelo cycling team has adopted it as a performance-enhancing product that’s entirely legal. Obnoxious colors strictly optional.
Buy now: $20 (2-inch wide)