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Discussion: Compression Clothing

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Feb 15, 2009 4:32 AM # 
Does compression clothing such as skins or 2XU really work and if so when should you where it and for how long???
Feb 15, 2009 6:58 AM # 
Larry :
its does in some way i guess from experience, but i choose not to wear them in training (cos thats weak). but as recovery during multiday events yeah, and not off road theyre worth too much for that.
Feb 15, 2009 7:28 AM # 
why is it so weak to wear skins or whatever in training lachy?
Feb 15, 2009 7:30 AM # 
Probably the benefits at yours and Big D's age are minimal compared to the expense (that's a few weeks' pocket money or several hours of slavery at MacDonalds!). For a 60 year-old with a history of calf and hammy tightness, and a reasonable income, they are one of the best buys going!
Feb 15, 2009 10:11 PM # 
Larry :
cos training should be hard! so then when you get to the race its easy. you dont want to give your bod the easy way out until race day
Feb 16, 2009 1:57 AM # 
Can anyone explain why tight clothes would prevent muscle soreness?
Feb 16, 2009 2:23 AM # 
the compression garments stop your muscles from bouncing up and down as much when you run - hence less little tears in the muscle?
Feb 16, 2009 3:50 AM # 
Big_D, I think the idea with compression garments is that they make recovery faster & easier; they don't make the workout itself easier. And if you can recover faster, you can go hard(er) the next time! (Assuming these things actually work as described...)
Feb 16, 2009 4:44 AM # 
Larry :
is late onset muscle soreness debilitating? or are people just calling "being sore" a condition? will i get stress fractures from muscle soreness?
im fine with recovering quicker, but compression brands say they increase performance. why should you bother being efficient while training?
Feb 16, 2009 5:31 AM # 
if the compression garment reduces the injury to the muscles as you exercise, you'll be able to maintain better performance for longer, which might make a significant difference in a long race, ie marathon. I doubt they would make you faster though.
Feb 16, 2009 8:27 AM # 
I wouldn't run in my skins because then I don't have enough flexibility and am more likely to cramp. Their benefit is in recovery because they keep the circulation going (same principle as those white hospital stockings for people who are immobile), and they do reduce swelling and stiffness in my legs which then makes it possible for me to run the next day.
Feb 16, 2009 9:36 AM # 
i like running in them coz they cover my pastey white upper legs :D
Feb 16, 2009 10:51 AM # 
Can anyone explain why tight clothes would prevent muscle soreness?

It sounds like marketing hype to me somewhat, but apparently they're constructed quite tightly at the ankles and calf; looser and looser as you go up, supposedly to assist "flushing" action as muscles expand and contract.

2XU compression tights can cost twice what regular lycra running tights cost. And in the US they're available principally at bike shops it seems. Nevertheless, from the 2XU website:

...The graduated compression provided by these tights encourages maximum blood flow toward the heart to keep you performing at your peak for longer due to decreased muscle fatigue and damage. Great for training, racing and recovery....
Feb 16, 2009 11:49 AM # 
encourages maximum blood flow toward the heart

I kind of think this would violate Gauss's Law, but I'm no physiologist.
Feb 16, 2009 12:36 PM # 
But if venous blood is only part of the system, which also includes arterial blood, heart and lungs, then the 2XU hype seems plausible to me.
Feb 16, 2009 8:33 PM # 
BigD if you are more eficient in training then your body learns to be more efficient and you wont need to concentrate on being efficient in the race and can concentrate on navigating.
Feb 17, 2009 4:31 AM # 
Larry :
so mouse are you saying in order for tights to work i have to wear them enough until my blood vessels get used to it? my muscles wont decrease vibrations until ive worn the skins in?
doesnt sound right to me. if you ask me, if i train without tights it would make sense for it to be a greater physical strain on body during training and a lower physical strain on body during a race (assuming im wearing them in the race and they actually work). "train hard race easy" "train heavy race light"
Feb 17, 2009 5:17 AM # 
Big D, I think one of the arguments for training with compression garments is that you can train longer while wearing them, which may be more beneficial. I believe this is why the cricketers and footballers as they extend the time till fatigue in technique heavy skills like throwing, batting, kicking, batting, etc. The same could apply to running I guess.
Feb 17, 2009 5:20 AM # 
Larry :
point taken. dont think its worth making endurance better unless your actually navigating in that case.
Feb 17, 2009 5:45 AM # 
BigD - you can wear the tights or not it is up to you. i was just saying if you train to be efficient when training it becomes second nature and you can concentrate on other aspects of your race.

Training heavy can be detrimental to your race fitness too. Be careful how hard you train. Train hard race easy is good for track athletes but can hurt Orienteers if not done right.
Feb 17, 2009 6:29 AM # 
The best look is the fat middle aged men who one often sees out for their biweekly puff and pant - the ones who've been into a 'triathlon' shop, or who really believe *all* the marketing puff. They wear their Skins/2XU/whatever lower leg compression stockings with the compression shorts (only... shudder), and with the compression shirt. Home they go, open the cupboard and out falls the Abdominiser, the Ab-roller, the Sky-Walker, the cellulite potions....

Anecdotally, some people find the compression leggings are great when they put them on after a harder/longer workout than normal compared to not using them. The few who have tried it regularly that I know found they noticed an effect of less soreness the next day in winter moreso than summer.
Feb 18, 2009 4:39 AM # 
Nobody, not even young hunky males, looks good in the white ones!
Feb 18, 2009 9:49 AM # 
well i use them for racing and training(sometimes). for me they chop around 30+off the local xc course or 2-3sec off an 800m but not sure if its placebo or not casue i often race with them
definatly good for activitys that produce lots of lactic e.g O courses that have lots of hills
Feb 18, 2009 11:49 AM # 
Almost Good:
I wear them because they reduce chafing. I don't believe they provide any performance benefit at all.

I understand some physiology, but I cant think of a mechanism whereby they would increase blood flow to muscles during exercise (assuming this is the means to improved performance). They would prevent venous pooling after exercise, if they are full length, but I wear short ones, and take em off once I have finished exercising. I am not sure how preventing venous pooling would reduce post exercise soreness anyway.
Feb 18, 2009 7:05 PM # 
We don't have to rely on anecdotal evidence. People have done studies of physical performance and recovery while wearing compression garments. Google "compression garments vertical jump" for examples.
Feb 18, 2009 8:10 PM # 
Larry :
thats assuming those studies were conducted under proper scientific standards ie controls, placebos, repeated tests and multiple subjects, and not sponsored by the garment companies themselves.
Feb 18, 2009 8:31 PM # 
No one said determining the reliability of scientific evidence had to be easy. All I was saying is that people have gathered evidence and weighing it would probably be more productive than exchanging anecdotal evidence.

BTW, I'm as suspicious of studies of a product funded by the manufacturer as the next person but I take issue with the apparent implication that studies sponsored by the garment companies themselves, even if conducted in accordance with "proper scientific standards", couldn't possibly yield useful information.
Feb 18, 2009 9:01 PM # 
Almost Good:
The jump results were interesting, though I after a search, I am yet to see any articles with objective measures of increased performance in any kind of running sports.

Surely the type of "study" that reports user perception of performance is no different than a discussion thread with users experiences apart from the opinions having being collated.

I thought this study was interesting: bmj
Nov 1, 2010 3:44 PM # 
It makes physiological sense actually. You want to increase venous return during exercise because it allows for more oxygen to reach the muscles and removes deoxygenated blood. Venous blood moves between valves in your veins, the muscles contracting push the blood through your veins. If you provide something for the muscles to push against, besides the skin, there will be increased venous return.

With regard to muscle soreness, also think of EPOC. If you are providing more oxygen to the muscles, you will decrease recovery time. Essentially the same EPOC, but over a shorter period of time.
Nov 2, 2010 4:24 AM # 
Has anyone experienced increased lower leg cramping with the capri length compression tights? (that's just below the knee for the non-fashion-aware-types :-)
Nov 2, 2010 7:37 PM # 
I have suffered my hands cramping from wearing gloves with elastic at the wrist, and similar discomfort wearing bicycle leg warmers that have elastic cuffs. Worse in cold weather. I wear snug tights sometimes; they cause me no problems, unlike too-snug cuffs.
Nov 2, 2010 7:45 PM # 
at the Norwegian School of Sport & Science, there will be written a master degree about compression clothes from summer 2011. it will be maybe as well involve orienteerers. so let us hope it will light up the tunnel, because so far there is no real official survey which shows that it really helps. If you feel good, use it. But maybe it is just all in your head. If you read surveys about compression clothes, be prepared that there will be maybe some influences, like sponsorship for the survey threw a company.
Nov 2, 2010 8:33 PM # 
Albeit at some expense, couldn't any runner easily test this by wearing a compression garment on just one leg (and not the other), during training and/or recovery, and then reporting (yes, subjectively) what differences if any they perceive?

Has anyone tried this?
Nov 2, 2010 9:03 PM # 
i hope you are not serious with this suggestion?!
Nov 2, 2010 10:23 PM # 
Why not? I realize some of the claimed effects are presumably systemic (i.e. associated with circulating factors or processes), but others (like micro-tears of muscle due to bouncing, chafing, and even some aspects of venous pooling) are not.
Dec 8, 2010 10:16 PM # 
good new article. hope it is not already posted
Dec 9, 2010 2:31 PM # 
I would like to share my compression sock story which sold me on their merits. I recently competed in IMan Arizona. With 500 meters to go in the swim which occurred in 60 degree water, I experienced a charlie horse in my left calf which paralyzed my leg and made me see stars. I was able to get to the swim finish and immediately in the changing tent put a compression calf cover on my left leg only praying I would be able to bike and run. I kept it on the rest of the race and finished with little or no pain in my leg.

The cramp came back the following day and my massage and physical therapist said I should have never made it through the bike and run but having compression help with circulation as best it could . The cramp was enormous and took about two weeks to completely go away. They also told me to wear the compression socks when traveling via airplane before and after a race and after flying to an event to prevent fluid build up. I wore the socks during all running after Iman and am now healed. There is no doubt they help however I am told they will not be as effective if worn all the time.
For what it's worth that's my compression sock experience. I'm sold!
Dec 9, 2010 6:21 PM # 
Wow, I would have thought tight sox would cause cramping.
Does this mean that tight gaiter sox are at worst not bad for you and maybe good for you?
Dec 12, 2010 3:34 AM # 
Gale, proper compression socks have a pressure gradient and are designed to be more compressive at the bottom and get less and less compressive near the top. The goal is to assist venous return, going up your leg against gravity. The varied pressure does that.

Tight gaiter socks are typically tighter around the calf because with their constant pressure they simply compress the larger part of the leg, the calf. This creates almost the opposite effect, keeping the fluids in the lower leg. So no, they're not comparable.

This discussion thread is closed.