For athletes looking to attain a high or improved level of sporting performance, a training program repeating the actions the athlete will take for their given sport (kicking for football, striding for running etc) is crucial.
The other result of the repetitive nature of training, however, is the risk of soft-tissue injury and pain (mostly) caused by overuse and strain.
Garments containing compression technology locally target the muscle groups required for high-intensity sport and endurance events, and here's how...
Compression increase blood flow and circulation
Support from compression clothing still allows the wearer a good range of motion (ROM) throughout movement which can increase circulation and promote blood flow to the area. Because our blood is oxygen and nutrient-rich, muscles can benefit from increased oxygen uptake.
Increased oxygen levels are beneficial for both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, whereby our body requires oxygen during aerobic exercise and to recover after (anaerobic.) Increased oxygen supplies delay the onset of fatigue which allow muscles to work harder, for longer.
But that’s not all. Lymphatic fluid can continue to move freely through, and around, the muscles, transporting waste (lactic acid) away.
However, when we stop exercising, blood circulating around the body can sometimes struggle to return to the heart, resulting in blood pooling. Compression to the lower legs (such as socks or compression leggings) can increase blood flow back to the heart by narrowing the passageway to the lower extremities.
In short, high-compression fabric can increase osmotic pressure which makes the heart pump harder and creates better vascular return, enabling toxins to be flushed away more effectively. When this happens, inflammation is reduced and muscles receive much-needed nutrients!
They support the muscles and the joints
High compression provides local support to joints and muscles that lighter materials generally can’t match.
Over time, high-impact exercise (think sprinting) can cause pain around the joints and ligaments, which compression can help combat.
Stabilisation of joints and muscles generally improves ROM and movement efficiency, reduces over-extension and over-contraction, and decreases impact to the area.
Compression also helps to improve joint position (proprioception) and can improve posture and movement patterns.
This helps to both manage and prevent injury
Compression clothing is versatile and can be used as part of injury management and prevention for a range of sports-related issues such as tennis elbow, groin and hip flexor strains, and hamstring injuries.
High-compression materials help reduce the effects of micro-traumas sustained during both endurance-based activity and explosive movement. Because compression helps to isolate, support, and rebalance the affected area, the muscular system has time to recover and repair; and (as we now know) increased support to muscles and joints can prevent injury.
The wicking properties of compression fabric also reduce sweat pooling and promote evaporation to help athletes maintain a safe and constant body temperature.
This reduces pain and DOMS
If you’ve ever smashed out a heavy workout and woken up the next day unable to move- you’re not alone!
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) not only feels uncomfortable, but it can also limit recovery and the ability to train. Ouch.
Research suggests that the gentle pressure provided from compression clothing can reduce inflammation and chemical build-up, limit soreness, battle muscle fatigue, and improve recovery.
IGD DUCTOR SHORTS, for example, apply extra compression to muscles recruited during multidirectional sports and repetitive movements. The protective neoprene bands even create heat and compression to help prevent groin and hip flexor strains!
And finally, there's the placebo effect
Supportive garments are thought to have a placebo effect on athletes’ psyche, potentially aiding performance and recovery.
According to Science for Sport, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) and perceived DOMS were decreased in a study performed when wearing garments versus not.