The Benefits of Compression Clothing

Compression ClothingA few years ago there was an enormous surge behind wearing compression clothing in the endurance and multisport communities. Compression clothing’s immense popularity eventually bled into other fitness niches, whether for function or fashion, as often seen with Crossfit, Football, Soccer, Swimming, and other Fitness Enthusiasts. Even as a techno-savvy triathlete, the compression clothing was something I always wondered about, and after some research, even utilized. A big question has always been whether the compression clothing provides form over function, or vice-versa. If you ever watch a triathlon, you’ll wonder whether the extent that some  endurance athletes wear this is even necessary or effective. Sure, I have a pair of socks that I wear after long training sessions, or tough races, but does it really work? Some great research was published, and the answer is “yes.”

Compression Clothing Study

The study performed by Jakeman and Byrne, et al. was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. It showed positive key findings in women who wore lower extremity compression clothing, after intense exercise that could potentially lead to exercise-induced muscle damage. Perceived muscle soreness was reduced, and squat jump height, countermovement jump height, and isokinetic muscle strength all saw positive results.

The take-away from this study on the effects of compression clothing: If you train at high intensity levels, and have limited time to rest between sessions, consider trying compression clothing. It will help you recover at a faster rate, and may help prevent injury as well. Compression clothing is warranted after intense activity that may lead to exercise induced muscle damage.

References:
  1. Jakeman, J. R., C. Byrne, et al. Lower limb compression garment improves recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in young, active females. European Journal of Applied Physiology 109(6): 1137-1144, 2010
  • The UCI (cycling) has actually banned the use of compression wear during races citing it provides an unfair advantage to cyclists. I say this with a grain of salt amid the chronic doping that runs rampant through the sport. I’ll have to see if there are more studies.