Compression wear has had a huge booming impact in the world of gym wear in the last couple of years. There is a vast number of brands out there claiming to enhance your sporting abilities or speed up the recovery process after your workouts.
It’s popular because it's trendy and it’s fashionable. But do they really work? A lot of research has proven to only be anecdotal. This means that it’s based on the stories of several select individuals and we’re not getting information on the big picture.
Here is some information on how compression wear actually works and whether it does improve your workouts and speed up recovery.
Before finding out if compression wear improves your exercise abilities, we need to understand why and how it works.
The tightness of compression shirts wear helps improve blood circulation and supply more oxygen to the muscles. The tightness is also gradual, which means it's going to be tighter in some areas and not as tight in others.
This system is used to ensure that your blood circulation continues to move through and also carries off all the amino acids. The latter is said to create the feelings of soreness that you feel throughout your body after workouts.
Does It Really Work?
There have been several different studies on male running athletes, but these did not yield fully positive results. Many of the athletes tested did not gain exponentially better results.
However, there was no statement about whether it would affect people who exercise on a more irregular basis any differently.
Having said that, various researchers have mentioned that a placebo effect is possibly in place.
This means that your brain recognizes that you are doing something specific and your body does actually gain better results. This is due to the mental strength of your expectation that you will do better.
This is to say that some people will possibly be affected (improved, even) by the compression wear simply because they know they are wearing it. As a result, they expect to be less fatigued or stronger in the long run.
That aside, wearing compression clothes usually has a most noticeable effect when you are wearing it on the lower half of your body.
Take compression leggings or socks for example. They are said to reduce the amount of vibrations that travel through your muscles when your legs hit the ground during running.
For this reason, many athletes who do sprinting movements or jumping do say that they feel like there is a benefit to wearing compression clothing.
Another positive benefit that is said to be substantial when it comes to wearing compression clothing is that you are less prone to injury and can gain better posture through wearing these unconsciously.
This is correlated, since if you have better posture, the risk of you getting injured is decreased substantially.
Does It Help With Recovery?
The short answer is that it should. Based off the information as to why it helps when you exercise at least by a little, these effects will also help reduce the amount of soreness and tightness that you might experience after a workout.
This isn’t to say that you won’t be sore or tired at all, but every little bit helps when going up the stairs is a pain. Just keep in mind that these shorts or socks, or whatever the garment might be, needs to be worn for a while after finishing your exercise.
In other words, you can't just take them off when you’re done. You need to wear them for a while longer, maybe a couple of hours, after you're finished with your exercise routines to make sure that you get the full effects of reducing soreness.
The same system applies when you’re wearing tight clothing as opposed to loose clothing. Your muscles will be kept in place and experience less unnecessary movement, which, in the long run, can be tiring.
Whether compression wear works or not, there still isn’t a solid answer. However, research has shown that there are positively no bad effects to wearing these garments.
There has been some evidence to support the fact that wearing compression wear can help you improve your exercise ability, all in moderation. The best way to find out would be to simply try some on and find out for yourself.
After all, the mind is a powerful thing and it might just help you improve the next time you’re wearing these clothes.