Compression garments have been used for many years in the medical field to help with circulation problems and to prevent blood clots. However, over the past decade, these garments have gained popularity within the athletic community, particularly in regards to muscle recovery. But do compression garments really work for muscle recovery? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind compression garments and their effectiveness in aiding muscle recovery.
What are Compression Garments?
Compression garments are tight-fitting clothing that applies pressure to the body. These garments can be worn on any part of the body, but are most commonly used on the legs, arms, and core. Our range of CRX Compression Garments are made from a material blend of Nylon, and Elastane, and come in a range of styles including shorts, tights, sleeves, and socks.
The cause of Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness can be a common result of exercise, often known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This type of soreness is caused by small tears in the muscle fibres that result from the natural process of building more muscle. The severity of DOMS depends on the duration and intensity of your workout and may be due to an inflammatory response. It's important to note that DOMS is different from the pain caused by an injury like a sprain or a muscle strain, which requires medical attention. While DOMS can be treated at home, any sharp pains, swelling, or lingering pain should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Typically, the peak effect of DOMS occurs 48 to 72 hours after exercise.
How Do Compression Garments Work?
The theory behind compression garments is that they improve blood flow and reduce muscle vibration during exercise, which can enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury. When compressed, the blood vessels in the body dilate, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow to the muscles. This increased blood flow helps to remove metabolic waste products such as lactic acid which can cause fatigue and soreness. Additionally, compression garments can help to reduce muscle oscillation during exercise, which can lead to less muscle damage and soreness after exercise.
“I USE CRX COMPRESSION TIGHTS EVERY DAY AFTER SESSIONS”
Elliot Dee, Dragons RFC and Wales Rugby Player
Compression garments can also aid in recovery by reducing inflammation. After exercise, the body undergoes an inflammatory response which can lead to muscle soreness and swelling. Compression garments can help to reduce this inflammation by applying pressure to the affected areas, which can help to promote lymphatic drainage and reduce swelling.
Do Compression Garments Really Work for Muscle Recovery?
There is research to suggest that compression garments can aid in muscle recovery. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that wearing compression garments during recovery periods after high-intensity exercise resulted in faster recovery of muscle strength and power. However, a 2017 meta-analysis found no significant effect of compression garments on post-exercise recovery.
One reason for the mixed results is that there is not a standard method for measuring the effectiveness of compression garments. Some studies have measured physiological markers such as lactate levels, while others have used subjective measures such as perceived muscle soreness. Additionally, the type and amount of compression applied can vary greatly between studies, which can make it difficult to compare results.
Despite the mixed evidence, many athletes and trainers swear by compression garments for muscle recovery. Some also believe the psychological benefits of wearing compression garments can be just as important. Feeling supported and secure during recovery periods can help to boost confidence and morale, which can ultimately lead to better performance.
What Type of Compression Garment Should I Use for Muscle Recovery?
If you’re interested in trying compression garments to aid in muscle recovery, it’s important to choose the right type of garment for your needs. The amount of compression applied can vary greatly, so it’s important to choose a garment that provides the right level of pressure for your body. In general, compression garments that provide 20-30 mmHg of pressure are considered to be effective for muscle recovery.
Additionally, it’s important to choose a garment that fits properly. A garment that is too tight can lead to discomfort and restrict blood flow, while a garment that is too loose may not provide enough compression to be effective. Look for garments that are specifically designed for your body type and take accurate measurements before purchasing.
Finally, consider the type of exercise you’ll be doing when choosing a compression garment. If you’re looking for a garment to wear during exercise, choose a breathable fabric that will wick away sweat and keep you cool. If you’re looking for a garment to wear during recovery periods, choose a more comfortable fabric that will provide gentle compression without restricting movement.
Other Benefits of Wearing Compression Garments
While compression garments are commonly associated with muscle recovery, they can also provide several other benefits for athletes and active individuals. Here are some additional benefits of wearing compression garments:
- Improved Performance: Compression garments can help to improve performance by reducing muscle oscillation during exercise, which can lead to less muscle damage and soreness after exercise. Additionally, the increased blood flow and reduced fatigue can lead to better endurance and overall improved performance.
- Reduced Risk of Injury: Wearing compression garments can help to prevent injury by stabilising and supporting the muscles during exercise. This can be especially beneficial for athletes who perform high-impact activities like running and jumping.
- Increased Comfort: Compression garments can help to reduce chafing and irritation during exercise, making for a more comfortable workout experience. They can also help to regulate body temperature by wicking away sweat and keeping the body cool.
- Improved Muscle Alignment: Compression garments can help to improve muscle alignment, which can lead to better posture and overall body alignment. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes who perform repetitive motions, such as runners and cyclists.
- Enhanced Recovery: While compression garments are commonly used for muscle recovery, they can also aid in overall recovery by reducing inflammation and promoting lymphatic drainage. This can help to reduce swelling and promote healing after injury or surgery.
Overall, the benefits of wearing compression garments extend beyond just muscle recovery. Whether you're looking to improve performance, reduce the risk of injury, or simply enhance your overall comfort during exercise, compression garments may be a worthwhile investment for active individuals.
A Word from CRX Compression
When choosing a compression garment for muscle recovery, it’s important to consider the type and amount of compression, as well as the fit and fabric of the garment. Our full range of CRX Compression Garments have been tested rigorously and provide levels of Class 2 Compression that can put your mind at ease knowing you are receiving all of the benefits a compression garment should deliver! Ultimately, the best way to determine if compression garments work for you is to try them out for yourself.