by Team Snapbac
Are you an athlete? Do you work out? If you answered yes, then compression clothing is right for you, but don’t take it from us. Let’s look at the science behind compression gear and how it works to improve your athletic performance, aid in your recovery and reduce injuries due to muscle use.
Before we begin, let’s clarify the difference between sport compression gear and medical compression gear. The former is worn in gyms, on fields, in the workplace and anywhere else you choose in order to strengthen, support and protect your body and muscles from strenuous use. The latter is prescribed by your doctor for a medical condition often in regard to circulation or edema, and it is often aesthetically inferior. If your doctor has told you to wear a compression garment, ask what level of pressure is recommended or mmHg. How tight your gear is makes a huge difference and compression ranges anywhere from 15 to 50+ mmHg for severe conditions. Any gear rated over 20 mmHg should be approved by your doctor no matter how healthy you are.
So what can sport compression clothing do for you?
Basically, the tight pressure compresses your muscles to increase blood flow, improving circulation and moving more blood through the muscles, which reduces fatigue, fuels your muscles for improved performance and speeds up recovery. The second skin also works to secure muscles concentrating contractions and wrapping them in controlled support to reduce risk of injury.
There is a reason that most major athletes all seem to be wearing compression pieces these days. It is basic science that oxygen is the fuel of muscles, so as compression gear increases blood flow it carries more oxygen to active muscles thereby creating more power giving you the edge on and off the field. The enhanced blood flow also cleanses the muscles of lactate build-up which decreases cramping, muscle soreness and fatigue during and after your workout.
A group of scientists studied these effects with the help of the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles Rugby League Team, and they found that those who wore compression gear during repetitive, high-intensity workouts showed lower blood lactate levels and lower heart rates facilitating increased recovery during activity.
If you can’t bring yourself to wear the gear to the gym, then consider the benefits of putting it on at the end of your training session. We’ve all heard of the DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness. When you put compression gear on after your workout, it still increases the blood flow sending it to the tired muscles and speeding up the healing process. The tight pressure also helps to prevent swelling, inflammation and joint stiffness. The added warmth in the muscles may also stimulate synovial fluid production which works as a lubricant to tired and sore joints.
Lastly, compression gear can help to protect your muscles before, during and after your exertion. The tight pressure automatically generates heat gearing up the muscles in preparation for your warm up and keeping muscles warm during intermittent energy bursts throughout the game. The constriction on your muscles reduces any vibrations or loose movements which increases your endurance by conserving energy and improves muscle control.
Whatever your reasons, compression gear has noted benefits for the professional athlete to the weekend warrior.