Compression For Recovery
Proper recovery is essential to any training plan to help prevent overuse injuries, and sports experts are uncovering huge gains by implementing smart recovery techniques.
During training and competition, the body can be subject to explosive movements and strain on muscles that can leave an athlete feeling depleted and sore. A central factor in recovery is muscle relaxation and stimulating blood flow, both to and from the muscles. Massage, foam rolling, contrast showers and stretching all help, but wearing 2XU compression garments also delivers huge gains – and it takes no extra time or effort.
It’s important for all triathletes to get their body back to its peak level in the fastest possible time ahead of the next training session or event. Many recovery strategies for elite athletes – including the use of compression –are based on medical science, which is traditionally used to treat lymphatic and circulatory conditions.
Recovery compression should be a graduated fit to help stimulate blood circulation for faster muscle repair and recovery. Professional trainers and elite athletes understand that they recover faster and perform better after wearing compression gear such as tights, socks and calf sleeves.
Compression clothing works for recovery best when it is worn in the 12 to 48 hours after “significant amounts of muscle-damage-inducing exercise”.
Compression garments have been studied for their effect on recovery between sessions, between bouts of exercise (e.g. go on and off the field or court) and for their part in limiting post-exercise muscle damage that can result in soreness and/or a slower recovery. A British study on the effectiveness of post‐match recovery strategies in rugby players showed that compression works for a variety of activities, ranging from ultra-endurance to sprints to jumping and power sports.Compression garments are thought to improve venous return through the application of graduated compression to the limbs from proximal to distal (Bochmann et al., 2005). The external pressure created may reduce the intramuscular space available for swelling and promote stable alignment of muscle fibres, attenuating the inflammatory response and reducing muscle soreness (Kraemer et al., 2001; Bochmann et al., 2005; Davies et al., 2009).
In this study, an enhanced rate and magnitude of recovery was observed. Low impact exercise immediately post‐competition, wearing compression garments, enhanced creatine kinase clearance more than passive recovery in young male athletes (Gill, N D, C M Beaven, & C Cook 2006, p.40).
with Dr. Shona Halson, AIS Senior Recovery Physiologist
Q. What is the best way to wear compression garments? Any tips on the fit and how long to wear them for?
A. We generally instruct athletes to wear the smallest size that they can comfortably wear for at least an hour.
Q. How soon after training should you wear them and how long should you wear them for?
A. We recommend that athletes wear 2XU compression for at least an hour after training or competition. It’s not a problem to wear them longer as long as the individual is comfortable. Many athletes anecdotally report they like wearing them for longer periods, especially if travelling.
Q. Is there any benefit of wearing them in training? Are you going to recover faster if you wear them in training?
A. There is some evidence to say you will perform better if wearing 2XU compression during exercise. We are in the early days of research as to why, but increased blood flow and reduced muscle damage (from reduced muscle oscillation) are likely important factors.
Q. Do they actually do what they say they do rather than just a placebo effect?
A. There are a number of meta-analyses of all the research available and they describe increases in performance, reductions in fatigue and increases in recovery. So, yes there is sufficient scientific evidence to support their use.
Q. Should athletes wear them in travel e.g. on the plane? Why?
A. 2XU make a specific travel sock, which can be very useful for travel. Compression garments can be an important means of preventing deep vein thrombosis during long-haul travel.
Q. Any extra benefit if you sleep in them?
A. Wearing compression during sleep can be beneficial due to the additional time spent wearing them. Again, if athletes find it comfortable, it can be a good way of getting additional recovery.
Researchers say that compression clothing works for recovery best when it is worn in the 12 to 48 hours after “significant amounts of muscle-damage-inducing exercise”. An athlete should aim to wear compression garments for at least a couple of hours. It is perfectly safe (and convenient) to wear compression garments to bed or when sitting for a long time – in fact, this is when it will work best.
True graduated compression garments have a significant impact on performance and an even greater impact on recovery. A proper compression garment needs to be firm enough to wrap muscles and hold them in place during activity. This helps to prevent muscle movement and micro-tears that can cause soreness and fatigue.
2XU’s recovery technology provides superior grade compression to stabilise muscles and promote increased blood flow. Increasing venous return to the heart and blood circulation helps with the removal of blood lactate from muscles to return oxygenated blood to the body. This helps to reduce swelling and speed up muscle repair.
2XU uses circular-knit, graduated compression, which means that the pressure of the compression is great at the extremities (feet, lower calves, ankles, wrists) to enhance blood flow back to the heart. 2XU also has a designated Recovery line of compression that is completely comprised of PWX – 2XU’s most powerful compression fabric.
Three of the best:
2XU Power Recovery Compression Tights
Feature graduated stamping technology and over-foot compression for increased venous return.
2XU Refresh Recovery Tights
Superior graduated compression to stabilise muscles and promote increased blood flow for faster recovery and return to form. A comfort waistband allows for extended hours of wear, even during sleep.
2XU Compression Socks for Recovery
Specifically designed for recovery, with a stronger compression fabric throughout the sock for enhanced
circulation and blood lactate clearance after activity.
Bochmann, R. P., W. Seibel, E. Haase, V. Hietschold, H. Rodel and A. Deussen (2005). External compression increases forearm perfusion. J Appl Physiol 99(6): 2337-44.
Gill, N D, C M Beaven, and C Cook. “Effectiveness of Post‐match Recovery Strategies in Rugby Players.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 40.3 (2006): 260–263. PMC. Web. 2 May 2017.
Kraemer, W. J., J. A. Bush, R. B. Wickham, C. R. Denegar, A. L. Gomez, A. L. Gotshalk, N. D. Duncan, J. S. Volek, R. U. Newton, M. Putukian and W. J. Sebastianelli (2001). Continuous compression as an effective therapeutic intervention in treating eccentric-exercise-induced muscle soreness. J Sport Rehab 10: 11-23.