Voodoo Floss: The Fountain of Youth
Ever see those balled up 7ft long pieces of stretchy rubber laying around the gym? Well, they aren't for banded deadlifts. They're actually meant to restrict blood flow to areas of your body. Yes, no circulation to the extremities. But why do we need to cut off circulation to our feet, ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.? Voodoo bands are designed to increase blood flow to problem areas, restore sliding surfaces between muscle tissue and facia, and repair scar tissue over time due to injury. Long story short, if a part of your body needs a little TLC, voodoo floss is the go-to tool for you.
I have two examples that I want to show you: 1) I have had some minor issues with my right knee recently. So to help with restoring the sliding surfaces of muscle tissue around my knee, I'll use the voodoo band to tack those tissues down and go through range of motion movements to get full range of motion (pain-free) back. And 2) In order to increase range of motion to my stiff and tight hamstrings, I'll use the voodoo band to help warm up my tight muscles to increase range of motion prior to a workout.
1) The Knee
So my knee will give me somewhat of a pins and needles feeling after lots of squats or lunges. The specific area of the knee is at the top, near the quad. So in order to make sure I completely cut off circulation to the knee, I'll actually use two bands (one on the top and one on the bottom). This just allows for a tighter wrap in one area.
Start by overlapping one time just above the knee. Wrap towards the heart and overlap half of the band each time you go around. When you wrap make sure it is tight. I try to get a good 75% stretch in the band. Only overlap about 3 or 4 times and if you have extra left, go back down towards the knee. When you're just about out of band, slide the end underneath the last wrapped peace and pull it though.
Move on to below the knee. Start at the bottom of the knee and same thing as the top: overlap by half and wrap 3 or 4 times going down the leg before you go back up towards the knee.
Now that both bands are around the knee, time for some moving around. Perform 15-20 squats, a few lunges... Anything that allows for movement in the knee. When you've gone for 2-3 minutes or until you foot starts to go numb (no, I'm not kidding!), it's then time to take them off. After both bands are off, do some more range of motion movements and see how it feels. Repeat 2-3 times a day or as needed until you start to really feel change.
2) The Hamstring
A big part of warming up for a workout - a part from getting the heart rate up and starting the sweat - is getting the muscles and joints moving the way they should. Knees not going out? Do full range of motion squats biasing external rotation of the hip, making sure the knees are going out. Shoulders feeling funky doing push-ups? Spend some time in the top of the push-up screwing your hands into the ground, winding up the shoulder joint in it's socket. This is the way push-ups should be performed and doing them properly leads to less or no pain at all.
When I'm feeling tight in my hamstrings and I need a little boost before deadlifts or lunges, the voodoo band is my go-to tool to help get the muscle tissues moving! I start the wrap near the top of the quad muscle. I wrap towards the heart creating about 75% stretch in the band. After 3 or 4 wraps, I secure the band underneath the last wrapped section of the band, and start moving. I go through range of motion in the specific movement I'm doing that day, even throwing in other movements as well (ex.: if I'm doing deadlifts, I'll pick up an empty bar and go through some deadlifts. I'll then drop the bar and do some lunges. Movements I know that will really fire up the hamstrings.). After 2-3 minutes or until my leg starts to go numb, whichever comes first, I'll then take the band off and start moving again.
With working out, or life in general... we're built to move. And if we're not moving correctly, efficiently, and pain-free, we need to fix it. Voodoo bands are just one of the many tools we can use to get us moving again!