In this short episode, I describe how voodoo flossing my computer-damaged wrists has made a tremendous difference in my ability to tolerate weight lifting (especially Olympic lifting) without wrist pain. I don’t think you need to lift weights to benefit from this (though I think you should lift weights). I think this is something that has the potential to provide great benefit to anyone who uses a computer a lot.
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Show Notes for Episode 8
I use a protocol from Kinetics Sports Rehab that I modify slightly to make my own, which builds on a concept developed by Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit and MobilityWOD.
I think this is something that has the potential to provide great benefit to anyone who uses a computer a lot. Since it only takes 1-2 minutes per day per wrist, it’s worth a shot!
This is the voodoo floss I use.
For the addition to the protocol that I describe in the podcast, I use this band (mine is blue, not that it matters) and this door anchor. I got mine locally at Paragon Sports in Union Square, and pretty much any door anchor thick resistance band capable of bearing a lot of tension would work.
MobilityWOD, the baby of Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit, is a great resource for mobility exercises and gear in general. He is best known for his book, Becoming a Supple Leopard, and has more recently written Ready to Run and Deskbound.
Transcript of Episode 8
This transcript was generously provided by Cassandra Barns.
This is Chris Masterjohn, and you’re listening to episode 8 of Mastering Nutrition.
Alright folks, I want to let you know about a little tip that I found about how to really help out my wrists, and this is for all y’all computer junkies. I think that if you spend more than a minimal amount of time on a computer typing, using a trackpad and a mouse, you’re probably doing a number on your wrists. I know I’ve done a number on my wrists that way. And voodoo flossing, if you know what voodoo flossing is, start doing it for your wrists. If you don’t know what voodoo flossing is, listen on and watch the video in the show notes about how to do it for your wrists.
But voodoo flossing is an idea that, I think Kelly Starrett of San Francisco CrossFit and mobilitywod.com may have invented voodoo flossing. In any case, regardless of whether that’s true I definitely learned about voodoo flossing from KStar. And the principle of it is that, you have an elastic band designed for this purpose, and you wrap it around the joint to achieve a level of compression that is not intense enough to hurt you, or to cause any tingling, but intense enough that you wouldn’t want to do it for more than one or two minutes at a time, because otherwise it’ll cut off your circulation for too long. And, while you’re under that level of compression, you get as much pain-free movement as possible in that joint. And I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of expert in the mechanics and science of how this works, but apparently there’s some kind of synergistic effect between doing the movement under compression, and then when you take the band off, getting this massive flow of blood to – because the compression is partly reducing your circulation – and so when you take the band off, all the blood floods into the joint at a greater rate and gets into all those places to nourish the joint, and apparently there’s some kind of healing effect when you pair up that synergy.
And I don’t know how it works beyond that, but I can tell you that for me, it totally works. And, in my particular case, I was motivated to do this because I was getting wrist pain from Olympic lifting when I started that recently at CrossFit in August. But I really think that the pain that I was getting is partly from doing new challenges to my joints when I had been not challenging them by being relatively sedentary for the last decade. But also I think it’s the computer usage, the damage that that did to my wrists really made them taxed much more easily when their positions are challenged in the Olympic lifting.
But I really think that if you have any pain that you think may be from the computer in your wrists, you should try voodoo flossing to see whether it helps, because it only takes one to two minutes per day per wrist to try it, and the impact, in my experience, is so great, that there’s few things that you could do for your wrists – apart from not typing any more – that would have such a powerful impact with such little time invested. The bang for the buck, the minimum dose for maximum effect of this is – the bang for the buck is so high and the dose that you need for the max effect is so small – that it’s just worth a shot. Even if you don’t have pain in your wrists but you’re on the computer a lot, and you have any level of discomfort, or you need to crack your wrists a lot – I just cracked my wrist – I think any of those things are reasons to try voodoo flossing your wrists.
Now, I don’t know if this has changed, but the last time I looked, I did not see a video about how to voodoo floss the wrists on mobilitywod.com. But I googled it, and I found a video from Kinetic Sports Rehab based out of Seattle. And basically what I do is – I do the same protocol that’s in the video but I modify it a little bit. So I’ll post that video in the show notes, and then I’ll just briefly describe what I do for my protocol here.
So before I do the voodoo flossing, I actually set up a superband with a door anchor, which is basically a band that’s designed to be able to stretch, and I set that up about shoulder height in my door, because one of the things that I tag onto the end of the Kinetic Sports Rehab protocol utilizes the superband with the door anchor, but that’s my addition to the protocol. So I set that up before I do anything. Then I wrap up my wrist in the voodoo floss. And the first thing you do is, you just open and close your wrist back and forth maybe ten times, and then turn your arm clockwise and counter-clockwise alternating and make sure you get that rotation all the way into the wrist, maybe ten times. Then you put your hand flat up against the wall, and you try to get a 90 degree angle at your wrist, so that your wrist is fully extended, and then you move your arm to the left and right, while you’re in that 90 degree extended position. Then you get on the floor, and you’re on your hands and knees, and you put your hand basically like in a push-up position, but you externally rotate your shoulder so that the bottom of your hand is facing forward and your fingers are facing backward, so it’s like the reverse of a push-up position. And you’re putting all of your weight on top of that shoulder, so that it’s driving down into your wrist, and maybe ten times for each movement, you go forward and backward, then you go side to side, then you do circles one way and the other. And then that’s where I get up and I use my addition to the protocol, which is to use the superband that’s anchored to the door. And what I do there is I grab hold of the superband with the hand that I’m voodoo flossing, so if I’m voodoo flossing my right wrist, then with my right hand I grab the superband. And I step back so that I get tension on it, so the superband is pulling my fingers toward the door. And then with my opposite hand, so if I’m voodoo flossing my right hand, my right hand is holding the superband, and I take my left hand and put it behind my wrist and pull back on my forearm. So that way, between my left hand and the superband, my right wrist is being pulled apart and stretched. While it’s in that stretched position, I rotate it clockwise and counter-clockwise about ten times. And that’s the final step of my own personal wrist voodoo flossing protocol.
So I have found this so impactful with such little time, and, you know, your mileage may vary, but if you’re on the computer all the time, you have any wrist pain, wrist discomfort, crackling wrists, or anything like that, I think you really should try this out and see if it gives you any benefit. Alright, thanks for listening, see you next time.