Other than the fact that is looks kind of dorky, is there really something to compression-wear? Well, after my own experimentation, I would say that it is worth the money in what it does for recovery. I figure that it is one more tool in the recovery tool chest to add to Trigger Point Therapy and a GREAT sports massage therapist. But, don’t take my word for it, Seth and BJ have their own opinions on compression and which brands is their favorites. If you want to look at more info and research, then click on the brand links. Oh, and looking for a great gift idea?
Seth: Compression is another modality that can be used to speed recovery and minimize wear on muscles. For years runners have been using the other modalities; icing/icebaths, elevation, and rest, to speed recovery. These methods are all effective, but I am not patient enough to sit around and wait for my legs to recover. I was lucky enough to have BJ introduce me to compression. The Zensah calve sleeves helped me throughout the hard winter training months as I wore them under my pants to work.
BJ: Compression has been used for many years in the medical community as way to speed recovery, promote healing, and decrease the risk of clotting. Many of us are familiar with the R.I.C.E method of treatment when it comes to injury treatment. It is only recently that compression is gaining strength in the world of athletic performance.
Seth: Zoot was the first compression brand I tried. They worked great, so I was skeptical about the other compression brands. I decided that Skins had put out some pretty good products and that their technology was advanced enough to really work. I slid on the Skins Active use tights. They stayed on me for three days, excluding showers…etc. They are super comfortable. The Skin Fit technology, a precision fit based on your body mass index (BMI) algorithm, helped the sizing feel ideal.
BJ: Regardless of what sex you are, the compression garments made by Zoot are sized based on circumference measurements on the calves, quadriceps, and hips. Using this method makes it possible for the tights to provide the appropriate amount of compression along the muscle. We don’t want it too tight or too loose. I use the recovery tight mostly so I sleep in them so they need to fit comfortably so that I can sleep through the night.
Seth: With wearing the Skins tights so often I am often asked, “Don’t they get stinky?”. This is another important aspect of compression clothing that must be addressed. If a company only goes up to meeting the minimum manufacturing standards for making compression, then yes the compression clothing will trap bacteria in its fibers, and when those bacteria die they will cause the clothing to maintain a stench even after washing it in detergent. But Skins is made with Skin fresh, antibacterial and antimicrobial treatments discourage growth of bacteria and help prevent odor. So, no the Skins don’t stink.
BJ: The antimicrobial effect found in Zoot compression is provided by silver thread found throughout the clothing. This a natural bug zapper on a micro level and actually helps with thermoregulation as well keeping you comfortable all day and night.
Seth: Why wear Skins during your runs? Ongoing testing of elite athletes have proven that Skins BioAcceleration Technology creates marked improvements in reducing the build-up of lactic acid immediately after periods of sustained exercise (2 hours and 15 minutes up to 37% ), and allows for more rapid return to normal levels (up to 38% at 20 minutes).(1) You experience less fatigue, minimize soreness and recover faster. With less lactic acid buildup I am able to run further without cramping up.
BJ: Wearing the compression during a workout has been shown to reduce blood lactate levels by approximately 30% particularly in runs lasting around 1hour or longer. It has also been shown to lower your Rate of Perceived Exertion by about 1 point. This means I don’t feel like I am working as hard at a higher intensity.
Seth: Skins are able to decrease the lactic acid buildup by enhancing circulation from engineered gradient compression. They fit tighter at the ankles and gradually become looser as it comes closer to the heart. This improves the blood flow in the veins. Most veins have one-way flaps called venous valves that prevent blood from flowing back and pooling in the lower extremities due to the effects of gravity. The graduated compression increase the pressure to push blood back to the heart helping flush away the lactic acid, avoiding unnecessary buildup.
BJ: Like Skins Zoot uses a graduated compression formula where it is applying close to 30 mmHg in the ankles and move up to 20 mmHG in the thighs. Using the graduated compression makes the venous return more effective.
Seth: I love to wear the skins on my way traveling to and from events. I wear the compression tights immediately after completing an event and for several days after the event to decrease the amount of recovery time before I can feel great working out again. I love using the compression clothing because I can use it all day at work, and be ready for my workouts after work.
BJ. I was turned on to compression a few years ago and have found it to be an essential tool in my training and racing. I always regret not sleeping in my tights after a hard workout when I know I would have felt better had I done so. I also will travel wearing the tights and feel it is mandatory after long strenuous races. It only takes one night in compression after a hard day for you to become a convert. Compression comes in a variety of modalities what is important is you find one that fits and use it, you will be glad you did.