Whether you are in the gym or on the running paths, you will most likely discover someone wearing some type of compression equipment. From socks to sleeves and whatever color matches your workout clothes, they have a reputation for promising support, better handling, and overall performance improvement.
Although studies have shown that pushup equipment can help improve energy expenditure on exercise and speed up recovery efforts, how it is used is just as important, if not more so. “Not all compression is created equal,” says Fred Hernandez with PRO compression. It is important that you understand how to measure your equipment and know when to wear it. To reap the maximum benefits, here’s everything you need to know about wearing compression.
Why do people choose to wear pressure equipment? Reasons vary from adding muscle and joint support during a training session to easing post-workout soreness. And if you’ve ever experienced DOMS, you know firsthand how severe the pain can be.
Increasing circulation efficiency by manipulating the arteries is what drives all of the benefits you see from this supportive wear. “The great thing about compression equipment is that anyone can use it and experience the benefits,” says Robin Hodges, exercise physiologist, LMT at 89 and Ivy Massge Therapy in Bentonville, AR. And with regular use comes better gym performance and faster recovery; Even reduce the amount of lactic acid build-up. Reducing swelling and pain, as well as improving circulation, is critical in helping people recover from strenuous training efforts, standing or sitting all day, injuries, and conditions affecting the lower legs.
Using pressure during exercise increases blood flow to the limb, which nourishes your muscles during exercise and helps filter lactic acid from your muscles. This increased volume aids in the filtration process and thus results in a faster recovery. Not to mention, leg compression sleeves can also act as a barrier against skin abrasion when performing certain lower-body movements such as deadlifts.
Not surprisingly, the benefits go beyond the gym and reach the workforce as people stand on their feet all day. “Compression stockings and sleeves are very popular among the medical community including nurses, physicians, therapists, and technicians who work in shifts of 12 to 14 hours or more,” says Hernandez. The extra support from compression stockings helps reduce swelling in the legs and feet, helps support joints, and helps fight varicose veins.
Perfect Fit: How to Measure Your Sleeves
When it comes to choosing pressure equipment, size matters. According to Hodges, compression sleeves are made to be snug but extendable. “They don’t need to be uncomfortably tight, as this can cut off proper blood flow,” she adds. You want to feel supported but be able to have a full range of motion during a workout.
Most compact brands come with a recommended size chart, either on their website or on their packaging. When choosing the right size for your pressure equipment, simply measure the part of the body you wish to support and select the recommended size for you.
For example, for an arm sleeve, you will need to measure the biceps, and for a compression sock, you will need to measure the largest part of the calf and the size of your shoes. Keep this simple rule in mind: If you are not able to move comfortably, this is not appropriate and you may need to increase the volume. Once you have the compress that works best for you, get ready to reap all the benefits!
When do you press?
Timing is everything. To get the best performance results, Hernandez suggests that the best times to wear pressure equipment are during training and in the post-workout recovery period.
During training, the pressure equipment brings oxygen-rich blood to the muscles, and it is full of nutrients and hydration. It also reduces vibration, which can improve muscle efficiency and mechanics. During the recovery period, constant pressure helps reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as helping to flush out lactic acid that promotes faster (and less painful) healing.
Wearing compression during these two important periods will complement each other and bring many benefits.
Try it: Graduated pressure
Once the measurements are done, the next step is to make sure you have the highest quality materials is a must. “When choosing a pressure wrap, it’s important to get one that is good quality and not cheap,” says Hodge. After all, you are investing in your body and need the best quality you can have. This is where gradient pressure stands above the rest.
What is that? Graduated compression equipment applies pressure to only the right places to increase blood flow and help repair fractured soft tissues. PRO Compression states, “The further away from your heart, the more pressure you feel; promoting optimal circulation.” The goal is to better help circulate your blood back up to your heart when you are upright or sitting in a business meeting.
So, if you are in the market for a new compression wrap or looking to try one for the first time, remember: size, quality, and timing will make your compression wearing experience much more effective!