Athletes often use tapes as a way to protect worn-out muscles and ligaments without having to buy heavy gear or equipment, but they are not just limited to athletes since anyone can use them to assist with their movements and keep themselves safe during a workout, whether it’s in the gym, or even in a yoga hall.
With that being said though, there are many different types of medical tapes, all with their own unique benefits and healing properties, so it can be a little difficult knowing which is going to be the most suitable for you if you don’t do some background research first.
Today, we’re going to look at two of the most popular medical tapes, kinesiology tape, and athletic tape, to understand how they differ and what their unique properties are so you can choose the right one for your situation.
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology creates a micro space within a joint by lifting up the skin slightly on the area that it is applied to.
This type of tape is known for being incredibly stretchy, and the reason for this is that it’s designed to mimic the elasticity of the skin so that it never hinders a person’s movements or sense of motion.
This medical tape is able to alter the way our body processes information in our nervous system about pain, so the tape allows you to protect a part of the body during an intense workout while still keeping it fully flexible, allowing you to perform more intense stretches with less risk.
It can also be very useful when you want to work on a weaker muscle during a workout or stretching routine which might be causing you some mild pain because of how stiff it usually is.
- Very elastic and flexible
- Good for training weak muscles and enhancing flexibility
- Can remain on the body for 3 – 5 days
What Is Athletic Tape?
Athletic tape on the other hand is completely different and used in entirely different circumstances. This medical tape is designed to restrict movement, with it being very thick and stiff.
It is designed this way to ensure that a person doesn’t move a limb or a muscle out of a certain alignment which could be harmful or dangerous.
You can think of athletic tape as a sort of temporary brace, something that provides you with much more stability rather than flexibility and that is designed, first and foremost, to protect you from getting injured.
Keep in mind that athletic tape should only be applied right before a workout or stretching routine, and removed immediately afterward, otherwise, it can disrupt the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids in the body.
- Thick and stiff
- Maintains stability by restricting certain movements
- A short-term solution
Which Of These Tapes Should I Choose?
To answer this question, you need to think about the types of movements you will be performing in your exercise.
If you’re practicing yoga for example, and want to train your back and core to become a lot more flexible by practicing particular movements, but you’re worried these areas might get injured, kinesiology tape will be the much better option.
On the other hand, athletic tape is more suited to situations where you aren’t trying to push your body past its limits of flexibility, and instead, simply want to protect your joints and muscles from bending in an unnatural way which can cause injury, making it better suited to heavy workout sessions where the tape will let you know if you’re going too far with your extensions.
While these two popular medical tapes will often be confused or one another, they are actually incredibly different and suitable for completely different scenarios, so make sure to only purchase one or the other when you know what benefits they provide, and which types of exercises they are designed for.