Compression wear is popular with amateurs and experts alike, but is there any scientific evidence it actually works?
Compression tights, shorts and shirts, with brands such as BSC, Skins, Under Armor, 2XU and many others, are now all the rage and, despite their high rates, there are loads of people willing to cover the perceived advantage they’ll provide you in recovery and performance.
However, is there any evidence or is it all just marketing spin?
The science behind the way compression clothing works is that it improves blood flow. The improved blood circulation means increased oxygen, which will result in increased performance.
Compression clothes are said to enhance sporting performance by:
Reducing muscle spazzing,
increased body awareness, and
they might narrow your silhouette, also make you more aerodynamic.
These effects could lead to faster recovery times, greater strength, and greater muscular endurance.
Regrettably, while the theoretical consequences have been demonstrated in trials, this does not automatically translate to better performance, with study thus far being somewhat inconclusive.
For certain events like jumping, the outcomes seem to be rather positive. Similar results on cycling and sprinting performance have been reported. But other studies have found no difference in speed or performance with respect to ball-throwing, biking, biking or long-distance jogging.
The evidence is weak, although the rationale for compression sportswear is strong. Out of the many studies performed on compression wear, no findings have been conclusive thus far. Although some studies find physiological advantages, such as increased blood circulation and decreased lactic acid build-up, the theoretical advantages do not translate to noticeable performance advantages.
Ultimately, a lot of individuals love the sense of support and decreased “wobble”. Anecdotally, they feel better and a performance increase is provided because of that. So if you think it works, it will!