Compression 101

It’s a must-have for every athlete, but what exactly is compression and why do the world’s leading triathletes swear by it for training, performance and recovery? The benefits stack up.

WHAT IS COMPRESSION?
The term “compression” is widely mis-understood. Often compression is thought to be any tight-fitting sports gear, which more often than not provides limited benefit beyond looking good at training.
True graduated compression has a direct and significant impact on training and performance, and an even greater impact on recovery. To be effective, compression needs to be firm enough to wrap the muscles and hold them in place during activity. This helps prevent muscle movement and micro-tears that can cause soreness and fatigue. When it comes to recovery, graduated compression is key – the graduation helps stimulate blood circulation for faster muscle repair and return to form.

WHY SHOULD I WEAR COMPRESSION?
The main benefits of wearing compression are seen in training, performance and recovery. During physical activity, compression wraps the muscles to reduce damage and fatigue. But the benefits don’t stop there. Post-exercise, graduated compression accelerates muscle repair, reduces soreness and improves recovery.

WHEN SHOULD I WEAR COMPRESSION?
Before Exercise
Graduated compression actively encourages and increases venous return to the heart and lymph nodes to increase overall circulation, which promotes faster muscle warm-up for optimal flexibility
and efficiency.

During Exercise
When exercising, muscles and tendons are exposed to vibration, a major cause of muscle fatigue, soreness and damage. Compression helps align and hold muscles in place to reduce muscle oscillation and limit the risk of muscle strains and tears, allowing greater endurance, power output and performance. Compression applies the appropriate pressure to the skin’s receptors to heighten proprioception for improved reflex movement, body positioning and muscle coordination for greater performance.

Post Exercise
Tired, sore, burning muscles – sound familiar? Lactic acid build-up in the muscles and blood after a heavy training session or a big race can lead to serious soreness, sometimes lasting for a number of days.

Compression helps increase blood circulation and push de-oxygenated blood back up to the heart and lungs. The removal of blood lactate from increased circulation reduces swelling and soreness, and speeds up muscle repair to restore the body to its peak in the fastest possible time.

THERE’S A LOT OF COMPRESSION ON THE MARKET. HOW DO I KNOW WHICH BRANDS WILL DELIVER ANY BENEFIT?
Not all compression is created equal. 2XU is considered the world’s most advanced compression technology, and for good reason. The difference comes down to fabric selection and the engineering of the product itself. 2XU delivers a unique fabric combination that is light, flexible, powerful and durable. 2XU compression is medically engineered to offer true graduated compression — the degree of pressure throughout the garment is carefully designed to deliver physiological benefits via increased blood flow to the heart.

Before 2XU sells a product, the fabric is tested at three different locations to ensure it’s delivering the correct amount of power for its athletic purpose. 2XU partners with the world’s leading research institutions – including the AIS in Canberra and RMIT University in Melbourne – to develop cutting-edge products.

Dr Shona Halson, Senior Recovery Physiologist at the AIS, says the choice is clear.

“At the AIS we support and develop some of the world’s finest athletes. To perform at their best, they need the right equipment to attain sporting success. 2XU leads the way when it comes to compression garments, so we’re assured that our athletes are using the best product available to transform their performance and recovery.”

ARE ANY COMPRESSION BRANDS BETTER GEARED FOR TRIATHLON?
Again, 2XU is the stand-out performer. The Aussie brand has a proud heritage in the sport, traced right back to 2005 when Peter “Robbo” Robertson claimed his third World Championship title decked out in 2XU compression.

Co-founded by former professional triathlete and now Director of Product Development Jamie Hunt, 2XU is synonymous with the sport of triathlon. The brand has attracted a raft of the world’s leading triathletes to its range including Daniela Ryf, Anja Beranek, Craig Alexander, Terenzo Bozzone, Cameron Brown and Braden Currie.

Founded in triathlon and driven by its heritage in the sport, 2XU is the go-to compression for aspiring and professional triathletes worldwide.

WHEN IT COMES TO COMPRESSION, WHERE’S THE BEST BANG FOR MY BUCK?
It’s a classic case of getting what you pay for.

2XU uses a circular knit fabric, not warp knit like other brands. When stress is applied to a product with warp knit construction the fabric doesn’t stretch evenly, meaning you don’t get even compression.

2XU’s circular knit delivers evenly distributed, 360-degree stretch compression and superior fabric return. The fabric’s ability to retain its strength is critical to durability and longevity. 2XU compression retains its strength up to 2.5 times longer than competitor brands, thanks to the advanced research and testing that goes into every product.
Just ask Jamie Hunt. “With testing, we’re guaranteeing the pressure and the power is exactly what it should be. In any one year, we throw away hundreds of thousands of dollars of fabrics that do not meet our parameters,” Hunt says.

OUR TIP:
2XU is the stand-out performer when it comes to compression technology. Learn more about the benefits of compression and check out the world’s leading compression range at 2XU.com.

 

Text and images: 2XU

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aimee Johnsen

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