This week, we take a closer look at Voodoo Floss Bands from Rogue Fitness and MobilityWOD.
Item: Voodoo Floss Bands
Price: $24 USD for two 7′ bands or $42 USD for one 28′ band.
Manufacturer: Rogue Fitness
Purchase: Rogue Fitness
If you’ve used the appropriately named Voodoo Floss Bands, you’re likely a believer in their compression-based, active mobility magic. In his book “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” Dr. Kelly Starrett calls voodoo flossing, “the most powerful and effective [mobilization] method in terms of restoring position and motion.”
To use them, you tightly wind a band (or two) around your joints and work through your range of motion for a couple minutes. The bands help increase mobility, while helping to reduce minor pain caused by strains, swelling, and sprains. Starrett writes, “Voodoo flossing will help restore sliding surfaces to matted-down tissue, resolve joint pain, and radically improve muscle contraction.”
Compared to rolling out, flossing helps you mobilize in the position you’re trying to improve (i.e., you can sit down to the bottom of the squat and stand back up while flossing, not so much while using a foam roller). Though the Voodoos likely aren’t the most common item inside your gym’s box of mobility goodies, that doesn’t mean that they’re not worthwhile.
Here’s a demonstration of how they work on elbows:
If you’ve been considering the Voodoo Floss Bands, here’s a deeper look at how they work and if their brand of magic might be for you.
Grip: Like other MobilityWOD products, the bands have exceptional grip when applied directly to your skin. If you’ve ever taped an ankle or wrapped an injury, you likely know how it can be tough to get a really secure fit. With the Voodoo Floss, as long as your first couple wraps are decent, the bands hold tightly to your skin to give the tight fit that they’re designed for.
Fast results: If you have varying levels of inflammation, especially in your elbows, knees, and shoulders, you’ll be amazed at how much relief the bands can provide in just a few minutes. After using the bands, you can have dramatic “test and retest” before and after results that get you back into the gym or finally recovering from nagging minor injuries. Also, a flossing session only takes a few active minutes, so it’s very low commitment for fast results.
Versatility: The flexible bands have no problems wrapping around most joints on your arms and legs. If you’re experiencing discomfort in your knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, or even wrists, it’s easy to work on these joints using the floss. The bands won’t replace your foam roller for your back and between your shoulders, but they’re very effective on releasing “the crunchies” and impingement in your arms and legs.
Better with a partner: Unlike most mobility products that depend on your own tolerance and patience, the bands work best with a partner’s help. Unless your arms are exceptionally long, another set of hands is generally better at winding the bands tighter around your problem areas. Your partner can help move your joints through a wider range of motion than you’d be able to do alone. Taking turns flossing with a friend before or after a workout can take a few minutes, but you’ll likely find your flossing is more effective. They’re sold in pairs or longer lengths that can be cut, so consider going in on a set with friends.
Needs cleaning: Let’s be honest, if you have a foam roller, mobility ball, or other mobility tool at home, there’s a good chance you’ve never cleaned it – not once. For some reason, that’s not gross. Though the bands aren’t absorbent, they need to wrap directly around your bare skin to be most effective. If you’re going to bring these to the gym, plan on cleaning them if you share them with friends to take advantage of the partner benefits, especially if you use them after a sweaty workout.
Can leave marks: The positive mobility effects of flossing outweigh any compression and discomfort that you may experience with this level of compression, but it’s worth noting that the bands can leave the occasional line or mark on your skin, depending on how your wrap your joints. They’ll go away, but you could be left with a few temporary battle scars to match your stylish “deadlift shins” and “ring strap triceps.”
Not for everything: If you’re one of the lucky people who has little joint discomfort, mobility issues, or hasn’t even heard of tendinitis, the bands are likely not for you. If you’re new to mobility and general body work, something like a standard foam roller might be a better place to start.
True to its name, the Voodoo Floss Bands can deliver near-magical results for specific mobility issues by allowing you to work through your full range of motion while compressing a targeted area.
For minor strains and general maintenance for overuse, you’ll find that a few minutes of flossing can put you well on the path to a more mobile version of you. The bands are most effective with the help of a friend, but the fantastic grip that MobiltyWOD products have quickly become known for make it effective to use on your own.
Overall, there’s not a lot to them. As Starrett notes in “Supple Leopard”, you could just as easily cut a bicycle tire tube in half to get a similar effect (for less money). At roughly $12 USD a band, the Voodoo Floss Bands are more expensive to do the same job, but aren’t unreasonable if you’d rather leave the cutting to the machines and split a set with a friend.
The Voodoo Floss Bands won’t replace general use mobility tools, but they may just provide the mobility magic you need to target problem areas.