Are you considering using compression clothing? The use of compression clothing is a training aid that has only recently been adopted by many athletes, suggesting that they can accelerate recovery from training and competition. Manufacturers report that compression clothes improve recovery, increase power and can significantly enhance performance in a variety of sports.
Use of compression tights
Medical compression tights or stockings have been in use for more than 50 years; they are usually worn over the leg and foot to create a controlled, gradient compression on the leg. The compressive effects of these stockings are used to improve recovery in hospital by promoting venous blood flow, decreasing venous stasis and minimising the risk of thrombosis in post-operative patients. In recent years, compression clothes have become increasingly popular amongst athletes who report a marked improvement in:
- muscular power,
- and in minimising the risk of injury.
Ongoing research on compression clothes
- Early research on compression garments indicated a reduction in the blood lactate concentration during maximum exercise on a bicycle ergometer.
- Later research showed improved ‘repeated jump power’ and increased vertical jump height. It’s suggested, in these investigations, that the compression clothing provided an improved warm up through increased skin temperature, reduced muscle oscillation and increased torque generated around the hip joint.
- Recent research has shown that compression clothes may provide an external aid to athletes during exercise by enhancing lactate removal, reducing muscle oscillation and by also having a positive psychological effect.
- Further research suggests that the use of compression gear during the recovery period may also reduce the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Suggested benefits of wearing compression garments
Based on the findings of researchers, there is significant evidence to suggest there is an advantage in using compression gear; however, caution should be taken when choosing the correct compression garments for your respective sport and to ensure the garment provides enough pressure to promote venous return.
Below is a summary of the potential areas where the use of compression clothing may give a competitive advantage:
- enhancement of blood circulation to the peripheral limbs,
- reduction of blood lactate concentration, particularly in runners,
- enhanced warm-up via increases in skin temperature,
- increased vertical jump height,
- improved repetitive jump power
- reduced muscle oscillation upon ground contact,
- increased torque generated around the joints,
- enhanced recovery following strenuous exercise by aiding in the removal of blood lactate,
- reduced effects of delayed onset muscle soreness in the days following strenuous exercise.
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