We all love to find something new to try in the ongoing bid to go faster, go longer and if the adverts are to be believed we should all be investing heavily in compression clothing. Tights, tops, calf guards, you name it. There is not a square inch of your body that a marketeer won’t have thought of to try and cover it with some clever hybrid lycra fabric. So can tighter clothing improve your performance or protect from injury speeding you to recovery? Or is it just spin by marketeers rather than fact by clever science boffin types.
For this weeks blog we are hoping to help answer the question – Does Compression Clothing actually work and make you faster, recover faster and less likely to become injured?
The concept of compression clothing or materials around your body stems from the world of medicine for the treatment of circulatory issues, so there is a history of science believing in compression technology to help the body. The world of triathlon has effectively hijacked this concept and fully embraced it. The improved circulatory properties of compression clothing results in reduced muscle movement and vibration that reduces the fatigue that occurs as muscles swell under exercise.
Like many other items designed and sold to help with physical performance there is no direct harm in using them, so if you feel like trying them, have a go. However, there is always a cost, so think about your wallet when considering any purchase as scientific evidence isn’t overwhelming. Compression clothing results in increased heat retained by the body so consider this when trying anything on and check the weather closely. Too hot maybe give it a miss.
Recovery is where compression may have some more tangible benefits with improved blood flow and more rapid recovery. We recognise that there are some die hard fanatics of compression clothing and if it works for you, great. It may also help you where you have some injury that is troubling you with some extra support and reduced muscle vibration. It may be just a placebo but anything that aids your return to full recovery has to be worth a try.
If you are banking on compression clothing giving an edge in terms of improved aerodynamic profiling to make you more streamlined then best to park this hope as it might make you look better but it won’t help you glide through the air.
Compression clothing. Not just hype but not the silvery bullet to all your training and racing needs.