19 Jul 2018

Compression Socks and Tights - Performance Benefits

Introduction

In the health and wellness world, buzzwords and fitness fads are common. Flashy advertisements display big words like 'compression', 'activewear', 'moisture-wicking' and 'performance fit'. These words draw in customers and make grand promises. However, the public has been found to know very little about what these words actually mean. The following article will explore the true meaning of the word 'compression', in an athletic context, how wearing compression socks and compression tights affect the body, the benefits of such effects, and how to incorporate compression gear into your daily life.

Compression defined

Compression is defined by businessdictionary.com as, "External force (stress) that tends to crush a material, squeezing its particles closer and shortening the dimension in the direction of its action." This tightening exertion concept is utilized by many sportswear companies in their athletic clothing. According to Men’s Health, "Compression wear is the name given to garments woven with spandex-type fibers. The clothing is skin tight. Tighter, actually. The idea is that it compresses your muscles to keep them supported and contained, and improved circulation by squeezing blood back toward the heart." Dan Leraris, a VP of Apparel for Men's Training, Basketball, Golf and Youth elaborates on the meaning behind compression athletic wear saying, "It's not only about what it gives you in terms of performance benefit, moisture management, support, and comfort. It's also about the psychological benefit of how you put it on and lock in. Clearly, these benefits have caught on as more and more professional athletes as well as their amateur counterparts are buying into the compression frenzy. Hopefully, this gave you a deeper understanding of what compression actually means when it comes to athletic gear. Read on to learn more about how this gear affects the body.

Benefits of compression socks and compression tights

Men’s Health points out the obvious, "Compression gear promises to boost circulation, decrease soreness, and even prevent injury." Whether or not this claim is actually true has been discovered through thorough research conducted on the subject. Dr. Gerardo Miranda-Comas, a sports medicine physician and assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine says, "In terms of science, there's no clear evidence that it will decrease injury risk. It can help with bio-mechanics and personally that's why I recommend it at times. Compression helps recruit muscle adequately and give you more synchronized movement." To further endorse the claim concerning the effectiveness of compression clothing, a 2016 study concluded compression clothing could improve endurance—extending the time to exhaustion in runners by increasing muscle economy. Not only does compression athletic gear support you during your workout, but it benefits you after as well. Leraris proclaims, "Recovery is something that people are grossly undervaluing at this point". Men’s Health also points out that, "…we do know compression gear can help clear lactic acid from muscles, which helps with soreness. Also, wearing it during your workout may help you feel better after, especially if you want to keep your form tight following an injury." The list for the positive effects that your body gains from wearing compression gear is astounding. Miranda-Comas, the sports physician states his stance on the matter saying, "For me it makes sense to use during exercise if you're looking for better muscle recruitment." As stated in the previous declarations made by experienced and knowledgeable professionals, compression clothing has numerous benefits for the body both before, during, and after a workout. Whether these benefits come from the psychological confidence gained from wearing supportive, recommended, and celebrity endorsed materials, or the physical benefits that come from lactic acid busting technology, one thing is for certain and that is compression is a vital ingredient when it comes to a successful workout.

Compression socks and compression tights in your life

Sports compression is easy to find, but finding the right compression socks, tights and tops for you can
prove to be a bit more of a challenge. With so many options out there quality can be lost to quantity. Read on to find out the benefits of specific compression items and find what fits your lifestyle. First up on the list are compression shorts. These are a particularly popular item for several reasons. Compression shorts offer benefits such as; reduced muscle fatigue, strain prevention, improved perceived exertion, a lower risk of muscle soreness, increased power and jumping ability, better muscle oxygenation, comfort, improved strength recovery, and better recovery after strenuous exercise. With all of these wonderful benefits its easy to see why compression shorts are a fan favorite. First I will elaborate on the reduced muscle fatigue provided by these shorts. According to, mcdavidusa.com, "Purchasing compression shorts, and wearing them during workouts, helps improve athletic performance by reducing fatigue. UPMC Health Beat says that wearing compression shorts helps reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during and after workouts, resulting in better, faster and longer runs without feeling quite as tired when you wear compression garments. This is an excellent reason to try a pair!” Second, strain prevention is something that is often overlooked however, according to the same site, "Compression shorts also help reduce your risk for strains". Additionally, Healthline says compression garments even aids in strain recovery. So if you’re prone to this type of sports related injury, compression shorts may be right up your alley." Third, "When you’re training for extreme sports or endurance races, it’s beneficial to have lower perceived exertion (a more effortless workout). Doing so can make training sessions more bearable, and can improve athletic performance. A 2016 study published in Sports Medicine found that compression garments like tights, shorts and socks improved perceived exertion in endurance runners." Fourth, "Compression shorts are a good option to reduce your risk for delayed onset muscle soreness." According to Men’s Health Magazine, compression gear worn during heavy exercise reduces this type of soreness. Fifth, "Compression tights may help improve jumping performance in athletes after endurance events. According to Runner’s World, compression gear makes it easier to regain maximum jumping ability post-workout, which is a bonus when you’re looking to get back on the track, field, or court after an intense workout." Sixth, "Your muscles need oxygen to function properly during workouts. Compression garments are designed to increase the amount of oxygen that they receive", according to a publication by Research Gate. Compression is designed to promote blood flow and improve oxygenation of muscle tissue, which can enhance athletic performance during short bouts of exercise. Seventh, "While compression shorts do apply pressure to your butt and thigh area, many athletes find such garments quite comfortable with little wind resistance. Compression shorts cause less chafing and friction than more traditional athletic shorts, plus they won’t ride up when you’re running, squatting, doing sit-ups, or stretching, among other activities." Eighth, "Even when you’re lifting weights (or participating in other forms of strength-training workouts), compression shorts provide you with performance and muscle recovery benefits. A 2014 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that compression garments promote muscle strength recovery after bouts of resistance training.” And lastly, “Recovering from strenuous exercise can be a lengthy process and muscle soreness is more likely to occur when you’re new to intense training sessions. Luckily, compression shorts can aid in muscle recovery after strenuous workouts. Pressure (compression) garments may have greater advantages to improve recovery following an exercise bout, says Human Kinetics." Clearly compression shorts are a must have item for all serious athletes and those who take their health and wellness to great heights. The compression list continues with items such as; socks, and shirts. Akin to compression shorts, compression socks offer a wide array of great benefits. For example, according to, copperjoint.com, "Compression socks are best for runners because it helps the leg recover from the hard work of the race as quickly as possible. A snug fit knee high socks are meant to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid build up. Without proper gear, or bad gear, running can be a pain on the ankle, feet, legs and your whole body. You name it! Bad socks can unevenly cover your legs and circulation of blood is not properly promoted. It can even cause chafing. Compression socks are moisture wicking and help legs perform better during a run." Similarly, compression socks can be especially helpful during high intensity workouts such as Crossfit, "Just like running, Crossfit puts a lot of strain in your legs. But unlike running strain is felt by the leg not on a regular constant pace but sudden movements, stretches and pulls. The benefits that you get from compression socks are practically the same as that for running. Compression socks lessen the instances of cramps and help your leg recover faster from the leg strain." Something as small and seemingly insignificant as socks can have a huge impact on ones workout and body in general. It is important to look for small details in your clothing and take advantage of modern technology that may benefit you greatly in the long run. Socks are an excellent way to start experimenting with and learning about compression gear. Shirts are another great compression option. Men and women can wear these stylish clothing items and look and feel great. According to, iamsuperhero.com, compression shirts have a wide array of awesome features that work with you to make your workout great before, during, and after the gym and beyond. iamsuperhero.com says, "It is thought that compression garments may reduce muscle oscillations which will theoretically optimize the contraction direction of muscle fibers, resulting in improved mechanical efficiency and running kinematics. Use of compression gear may also reduce vibration in skeletal muscle during training and competition. It is hypothesized that the reduced vibration would contribute to less muscle trauma, and as a result, less fatigue and bio-mechanical alterations during the course of an endurance event. Following the event, the combined benefit of these outcomes would be reduced exercise-induced muscle damage. As a result, athletes are expected to experience less soreness, edema and faster recovery in the days after exercise. To put the aforementioned information in more simple terms, a compression shirt can save an athlete from unnecessary trauma that they may experience with their workouts, and promote a quick and successful recovery time. Compression shirts can make you feel superhuman due to their strength enhancing and supportive material and design. A workout without compression gear is like Thor without his hammer.

Conclusion

Compression clothing is an awesome and fairly new technological advancement that has completely transformed the way in which athletes and fitness fanatics train, workout, perform, and recover. The benefits of said compression gear are numerous in quantity and great in ability. These impressive items of clothing may seem simple at first glance, however, they may be the deciding factor between success and failure. Whether you are training, competing, or recovering, compression gear has your back. With new edits being made each day, the world of compression gear continues to grow and improve. New options exist for men, women, and youths in the form of socks, tights, shirts, braces, sleeves, and so much more. With the help of these exciting new advancements individuals can get more out of their workouts than ever before. With so many options to choose from it is impossible to not have a closet outfitted with the right gear for you and your health and wellness needs. Make compression gear a part of your workout routine and be amazed by the wonderful benefits that arise. Your body and mind will thank you. Excel in the world of athletes and exercise with compression gear. Now that you are aware of the ins and outs of compression gear thanks to this blog post, the opportunities are endless. Brands such as; 2XU, SKINS, and McDavid, all carry an impressive assortment of compression clothing which can be found for your convenience at onsport.com.au. Visit the site and improve your game with the wonderful world of compression clothing and beyond.


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