The Wonderful World of Voodoo Floss
Written by Michele Vieux
Ever wonder why so many athletes are hooked on their Voodoo floss? Are you trying to decide if you should get some? Not sure how to use yours? Hopefully you already know all of the wonderful uses for Voodoo floss and it’s amazing benefits for your mobility and recovery but just in case you do not, here’s a summary of why this tool is so magical along with some examples and ideas for making the most of your floss.
Out With the Old & In With the New
Voodoo Floss helps break up intramuscular junk to allow for greater mobility and blood supply to an area. By squeezing the muscle in a tight wrap, then forcing it through a full range of motion (ROM), friction between muscle fibers helps break up fuzz, scar tissue, lactic acid and other junk in those tiny places that foam rolling and lacrosse ball techniques can’t address. You will only leave the Voodoo floss on for about two minutes.
Example: TIGHTLY wrap the calf and do calf-focused self-myofascial release (SMR), stretching, squats, lunges, etc.
Healing & Cleansing Power
When you release the band, a rush of blood washes through the muscle; this not only brings nutrients for growth and healing but also clearing out all that junk you just broke up. This is also true for injury recovery and can be used to aid the healing of strained tissue. For swollen areas, you want to promote lymphatic drainage. To do this, wrap the band about half as tight as you do when you’re trying to mobilize the area. It’s good to put the area through gentle ROM if you can; shoot for more of a compression massage where you are physically maneuvering the area versus bashing it to death.
Example: For swollen knees, wrap the band snugly but not too tightly around the knee and then massage the swollen area. A few gentle squats here would be ok or even walking up and down stairs. No prying or other aggressive movements.
Stretch Those Hard to Stretch Places
To work shoulders, wrists, ankles, elbows and the little pieces within, wrap a band tightly around the joint (sometimes it might take two bands to cover the area) and put it through ROM like push-ups, PVC pass-throughs, squatting, lunging, etc. For knees, wrap one band above and one band below the joint, then do some squats. When you put the joint through ROM with bands anchored on either side, they stretch everything in between, which can greatly improve not only joint ROM but also pain, stiffness and tendonitis.
Example: Wrap your elbow tightly starting four fingers above the joint and rollling down tightly. Force your elbow into flexion by doing push-ups or having someone bend it.
Good to Go versus Probably a No No
Unfortunately, as great as this tool can be, there are some areas of the body that floss does NOT help. Please avoid these areas.
Good to Go: shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, thighs/hamstrings, calf, ankle, foot
No No: head, face, neck, chest, torso, abdomen, back, over knee cap (this one is your call but I don’t think it feels very nice)
Extremely Important – Please Note!
ROLL FROM THE TOP DOWN and leave the loose end near the bottom to avoid a “code red”. A code red happens when the loose end is left at the top of the wrap and then the top rolls down over the end, tightening and tangling it into something that’s impossible to unravel and you have to cut yourself out of.
Where & What to Purchase
You can purchase Voodoo Floss on Amazon.com or RogueFitness.com and I recommend that you purchase the 28’ length and cut it into three pieces – 2 x 10’ & 1 x 8’ – versus purchasing the pre-cut 7’ lengths. You can never have too much floss but you hate to run out halfway down a quad.
Test and retest the ROM and/or do one side and compare it to the other the first few times you Voodoo so you can see what a difference it makes. After that, when you’re a pro, you can wrap more than one body part at a time and come up with your own movements and motions with them on depending on your needs and what feels like it works best for you.
Please share your favorite use of Voodoo Floss in the comments.