Compression craze is rampant at athletic events. It seems that athletes are jumping on the compression band-wagon without really understanding the benefits and uses of compression. Here are some of my thoughts on and experiences with compression clothing.
I started using 2XU compression clothing over a year ago, and I have to say I’m a huge fan. I must disclose up front that I’m sponsored by 2XU this year. They are not paying me nor asking me to write this review. I started using their clothing long before I got a sponsorship. In fact, it was because of the quality of their products that I sought them out as a sponsor. I will continue to use their products regardless, because of their quality and innovation.
Compression is primarily for recovery. After a grueling a workout, or between the stages of a race it’s so easy to pull on some compression shorts and give your muscles a little relief. I have used 2XU compression clothing while traveling to and from events, in between stages of multiple stage races and after long runs that have really beat up my body. Every time I have used the compression clothing, my muscles have felt much better and I feel like I recover more quickly. I like the sense of support they give my muscles, and they seem to help minimize soreness. From what I understand, the theory is that they direct more blood flow around the exerted muscles, and they help by supporting and massaging the affected muscles. After a workout, your body goes into recovery mode and starts removing waste and bringing in nutrients via your blood so that it can begin rebuilding your muscles and glycogen stores. Just as some people go and get massages to help recovery, compression clothing can produce a similar result – and you never have to leave a tip. For me I have felt that the 2XU products have delivered each time I have used them.
Now I won’t lie. There is little scientific evidence to prove the benefits of compression right now. Most literature indicates that it does help to reduce “perceived” muscle soreness, but that compression is not measurably different then stretching, taking an ice-bath or doing nothing at all. In my opinion, however, I have noticed a difference. I think that if it makes you feel like you are recovering faster, then use it. Anything that helps you feel more confident and prepared is beneficial and as mentioned earlier, it feels really great – so what do you have to lose? I also believe that we are still in the early stages of compression, so science will continue to study the difference athletes are experiencing.
During a race or workout compression can aid with reducing muscle vibration, making the athlete more comfortable and efficient. I have some new triathlon clothing from 2XU that I purchased and will be using this year. I will let you know how I think the compression helps during performance. I have yet to try the calf or arms sleeves, but would like to later on this year and will post a review when I do.
The last area of compression I wanted to talk about was injury. From my personal experience I have used the 2XU compression shorts to help with my recent stress fracture in my hip. On days when it has felt a little more sensitive or less stable, I have worn the compression shorts. From my perspective it has seemed to help. I feel more comfortable and confident. I also feel that it’s kind of like wrapping yourself up in a bandage for both comfort and protection.
The Bottom Line ~
I love the feel that compression gives to my muscles and I love the results I have experienced. I regularly use it during my training, racing and anytime I need a little extra recovery. I love how it supports the muscles and the overall feel of the fabric. Also, I think 2XU has great design so they look very stylish.
The 2XU brand is high quality. I have had the same compression clothing for over a year now and it’s still going strong. (They are the ones pictured above and their has been no Photoshopping. I just took these pictures at my house with a digital camera.) They compress almost as well as the day I got them and there haven’t been any holes, stretch-outs or other defects. Signs of wearing are minimal to none and even the cool silver graphics are still intact and looking great.
I own the shorts, the tights and the long sleeved compression top. The tights and shorts are awesome. The long-sleeved top hasn’t had the best ROI for me because I rarely workout my upper body until it’s sore or exhausted. If you can only buy one, I would recommend going with the tights as they will provide full coverage and recovery for both legs.
A note on sizing. I typically find my self trapped in the world between small and medium. I found that because it’s compression if you are near or between sizes, size down. It’s meant to be a tight fit against the body so that it can do its job. Don’t be worried about revealing too much, since these aren’t supposed to be worn to the grocery store.