The Benefits of Compression Clothing
Written By: SportsShoes
From world champion sprinters to professional footballers, compression technology is utilised by athletes to help them perform stronger, better and for longer. It’s not only for the elites either – compression technology works for all fitness enthusiasts at all levels and abilities to, boost performance and enhance recovery. Here’s how it works:
FIRSTLY, WHAT EXACTLY IS COMPRESSION WEAR?
Those people you see in ultra-tight gym wear aren’t just people with a penchant for some Spandex. Compression wear is tight, with compressive clothing specifically designed to support the muscles and boost athletic performance, it needs to hug the skin.
Pioneered by specialist brands such as SKINS, compression wear has moved to the mainstream and almost all fitness brands now have their own line of compression clothing.
PERFORM STRONGER, FOR LONGER
So how does it work? Firstly, studies show that by applying strategic graduated pressure, compression clothing helps boost circulation. How does this boost performance? Oxygen fuels our muscles during exercise. Pumped by the heart, blood passes through the lungs, picks up oxygen and is pumped to the muscles. Here it delivers oxygen and picks up lactic waste.
Applying graduated compression in key areas helps promote blood flow back to the heart, increasing vital oxygen uptake to the active muscles and helping to eliminate lactic acid build up during intense workouts. The upshot? Increased power, speed and stamina.
REDUCED RISK OF INJURY
Compression wear wraps and holds the muscles firmly in place, reducing muscle oscillation – or in simple terms, the movement and vibrations that cause micro damage to the muscles during exercise. Compression wear reduces that movement and focuses active muscles, meaning less soft tissue damage and a decreased risk of injury when we become fatigued.
It follows from this that reduced soft tissue damage means less muscle soreness. In reoxygenating the muscles and helping remove lactic waste, compression wear helps speed up recovery and accelerates muscle repair. In turn, it also reduces the likelihood and extent of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Compression gear can also be worn after your training session to help speed up recovery – some athletes for example will even wear their compression wear overnight after a particularly tough race or training session.
IMPROVED PROPRIOCEPTION AND POSTURAL STABILITY
Some studies have found that compression wear can help enhance proprioception: our awareness of the movement of our joints and limbs through improved sensory feedback. Our body uses proprioceptive information to complete basic tasks such as walking and jumping, and also to protect the muscles and joints through unconscious stabilisation and proper positioning. This increased sensory feedback results in improved balance, technique and stability, and most importantly, a reduced risk of injury.
HOW TO FIT COMPRESSION WEAR
Thinking of giving compression a try? First, you need to know how to fit it properly: Compression wear is supposed to fit tightly – and it does take some getting used to. That said, once you’ve been wearing it for a few minutes, you should be able to forget you’re wearing it - and it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable, pinch or restrict your movement in any way. It’s always a good idea to walk around the house in your new gear first to check the fit. SKINS suggest that to test, you shouldn’t be easily able to pull the fabric of away from skin. Most brands also have detailed and comprehensive sizing information for their compression wear to make sure you’ve got it absolutely right.
To shop our range of compression wear, visit our Compression Store!