I’ve tried a variety of compression wear over the years, and find compression leggings, tights and calf sleeves especially for long distance running. More often than not we’ll pick something that looks pretty over compression wear, it’s generally cheaper and there’s more of a range. But lets have a look into compression wear, what are the benefits, should you be wearing it and what options are there?
Why wear compression clothing at all?
Compression clothing is engineered to improve your circulation and support your muscles when you train. Some would argue that if a piece of clothing like general leggings or socks helps support muscles, however compression wear is entirely different. If you’re sitting at your desk, or at home, it’s pretty easy to get oxygen to your muscles to help them recover – however when you’re exercising your muscles fatigue easier, there’s generally a lactic acid build up, some vibrations (movement from running/exercising), your muscles are copping a pounding, making it harder for them to recover.
When you’re exercising (or recovering) compression wear can help improve muscle performance and speed up recovery. How? Compression sportswear applies compressive pressure to active and recovering muscles, “The applied pressure facilitates faster blood flow and muscle support to help you exercise harder or for longer,” says compression scientist Nicholas Morgan. (Source )
In simple words they act a bit like when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste and it comes out at the top, compression sportswear achieves the same results when being worn to your muscles – they work harder to help circulation & recovery.
What about the research – does it actually work?
I did a little research and came across this article on the Skins blog which breaks down how compression sportswear can benefit your performance,
“By supporting muscle groups to limit vibrations, and improving blood circulation to boost oxygen delivery and reduce the build-up of lactic acid, compression is scientifically proven to improve endurance, increase muscle power and stamina, and speed up recovery after exercise”.
However, an article from the Choice website from 2014 also says,
“The rationale for wearing compression sportswear is solid, but the evidence is weak. There are many studies that have been done on compression wear, many linked to from places like the Skins website, but the findings are mixed,”
“Many people love the feel of them – the feel of the material and the pressure on the skin, as well as the feeling of support and reduced ‘wobble’. Anecdotally, many people who try them find they provide a performance boost and that they feel better afterwards. So if you think it works, it does!”
The obvious sports are running and other high intensity activities or activities where you’re exercising for extended periods of time. These are where you will see the greatest benefits, but increasingly people are wearing compression for lower impact activities as well.
When choosing a size, you should pick one based on your weight and height and using the chart on the website of the brand you choose to purchase.
What options are available / my review of the SKINS DNAmic range:
There are plenty of options available, SKINS, 2XU (Two times you), Performax and more. I was given a pair of DNAmic compression women’s 3/4 tights to review and I wore them the other weekend at the 15km De Castella run. I must admit I hadn’t worn the SKINS brand compression wear for quite a few years (my last one perished when I lived in Darwin), and my 2XU ones I had been wearing were fine, but I often had to hitch them up on runs, and found them to be quite see-through in the butt area.
But I’m happy to report these felt fantastic and I didn’t have to adjust them once on my run and they honestly felt like I wasn’t wearing anything! I stayed at the event site for a while and after stretching I felt really good too. What makes the DNAmic range special? According to SKINS, “The DNAmic range features Dynamic Gradient Compression which accelerates blood flow and oxygen delivery to active muscles, which boosts the body’s ability to go further, faster, by fighting fatigue and reducing the risk of injury”.
So why should YOU pick Skins over another brand. Basically they’ve been around a bloody long time, and have been testing, redesigning and refining their technology spanning 20 years and no other compression brand has had the same amount of independent research and testing done on their garments to prove their benefits as SKINS have.
SKINS DISCOUNT CODE FOR NORTH OF HERE READERS!
I’ve got a special discount just for North of Here readers!
Simply visit the Skins AU website and enter the code NORTHOFTHERE-SKINS20*
*Conditions: Please note this can only be used on full price products and is valid until the end of September.
This article was produced in partnership with Skins Australia. We always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics, services or products.