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Archives for the day Monday, May 17th, 2010

AlamedaRunners previously interviewed Rocktape (and a KT Tape interview is in the works), so we wanted to continue our effort to provide information about even more kinesiology tape products.

Today I am going to interview SpiderTech, a kinesiology product company that has custom pre-cut pieces and regular products — and a professional cycling team currently in the Tour of California.

The first question many people wonder about these kinesiology products is whether or not they work – and if it’s worth putting down the cash.

“I have designed the applications based on functional anatomy of the primary area for which the applications are intended for,” said Dr. Kevin Jardine, practicing chiropractor and founder of the company.  “This is to include all of the primary muscles as well as the synergistic muscles involved making the pre-cut applications more functional.  The pre-cuts, cut out of one large piece also allow the applications to be applied without tape overlapping tape.  The Tape is meant to be applied to skin.  The Pre-cut applications also ensure that the applications are applied in a consistent way each time ensuring the athlete is receiving same results.”

Trying to figure out how to apply this tape is something that is challenging for most people (Ted and I are still working on it ourselves) — a fact realized by Dr. Jardine.

“Although we have simplified the use of kinesiology taping, it isn’t easy.  It is still a therapy and one that requires technique in the proper handling of the material.  We not only focus on offering the highest level of free instruction on our website and our online courses, we are leading the way in the most evidence led approach to ensuring the ‘best practices’ with the use of kinesiology taping.”

Full interview available after the jump.

Heart rate monitor review, 5 models

Ted’s review of various heart rate monitors.  I am a fan of heart rate monitors.  I use one for just about every workout.  It is important for me to maintain a slow pace on my long, slow days.  Wearing a heart rate monitor helps me to maintain a slow pace as I have a habit of letting the pace creep up until I am in a flat out sprint.  I recommend getting one and using it while training.  They are very handy tools and it is pretty easy to learn how to read your pace or level of effort by watching your heart rate.

  1. Garmin 405 ($299) – The Garmin 405 HRM/GPS is awesome.  It does everything you could ever want from an HRM except lower your heart rate.  You can tell it what you want your pace to be in minutes per mile and it has a screen that tells you your pace and how far off the pace you are.  It is odd looking when you hit the pace because it only tells you the pace and how far off you are which is great if you are on pace.  The bad part of the pace screen is that you must change the screen to get to the heart rate screen.  Changing screens is always an adventure.  My favorite screen is the one that tells me my heart rate, distance covered and overall time.  When I find my screen, I lock the bezel to keep the screen from changing by accident.  When the screen changes unexpectedly, I am pretty miserable trying to get my screen back.
  2. Timex Ironman race trainer ($300) – Timex has been putting stuff on peoples wrists for a long time… and it shows.  The Timex was the only HRM that I could figure out without reading the instructions.  It does not have a GPS or it would be the clear favorite.  It does ask about your personal information so it can tell you how many calories were burned during your workout.  It is not an exact science, but if it tells you 2500 calories were burned during the workout, you know it is time to eat.  A lot!  I like the big numbers on the display and the swap number function.  The chest strap is light and comfortable.  The down side of the Timex is adult children tend to “borrow” the wrist piece to wear as a watch.
  3. Polar F55 ($250) – Is just a bit better than the Timex feature wise but it in not as comfortable or as easy to figure out.  Every now and then I want to know what time it is when I am out for a long workout.  If you bring the HRM close to the chest strap, the time will show for about 5 seconds.  It also has a nice big screen that is easy for us old guys to see.  A big plus for the F55 is that it is forgiving.  It gives you a chance when you push a button to do the right thing.  The screens just make sense.  I don’t know how to work the F55 but it always seems to do what I want it to do.
  4. Polar Accurex Plus ($75) – The HRM that I wear the most.  It has very few features and I only use 5 or 6 of them:  heart rate, timer, start, stop, reset and time of day.  There is just something about easy operation that I like.  I don’t want to spend as much time practicing to use a heart rate monitor as I do training to do a marathon.
  5. Polar B1 ($50) – Single button, confusing and simple HRM.  There can be such a thing as too simple.  Fortunately you can only get so confused by one button so once you get the thing started you are good to go.  It is pretty hard to get something to go wrong after you get it started.  It does read your heart rate and duration of work out.  One time I was wearing the thing for a two hour run when it stopped reading my heart rate at 90 minutes (1:30) and started timing.  I was trying to maintain a steady heart rate of 132 when that happened.  I was confused for a couple of minutes.

Number one most hated HRM prize goes to the Garmin 405!  For every reason that I have to love the 405, I have 5 to hate it.  If the thing did not have such a nice GPS, I would have thrown it off the Golden Gate Bridge a long time ago!  The bezel is complicated.  The functions are complicated.  The battery life is poor which is to be expected but when the battery life gets down to about 20%, a low battery warning covers the screen!  The bezel has a mind of its own.  If you bump it, the screen will change and you have to wait and hope it changes back.  The instructions are terrible.  I can go on and on but I will stop to protect my blood pressure and good health.

I stand by my ratings.  The GPS/HRM combo puts the 405 way above the competition.  Items two and three are interchangeable and you won’t go wrong with either selection.  The Accurex wins the bang for the buck award.  The B1 gets a do not buy recommendation from me.