Look good, feel better, perform your best
25th January 2018
Compression tights have been around for almost 20 years. They were made popular in the sporting industry in 2001 when NBA star Allen Iverson scored 51 points with a compression sleeve on his right arm. 51 points in a game is an astounding feat! What made it even more impressive was that he did it with a swollen, bursitis-stricken elbow. Since then, many other players have been donning every variation of compression apparel imaginable – shorts, shirts, arm sleeves, and even socks.
And it’s not just basketball players who have been actively sporting compression apparel. Many other professional teams have been following suit, with the intention of enhancing their performance and aiding muscle recovery.
Here are a few theories exploring how compression tights work their magic, and why professional athletes have started donning compression wear frequently.
With the aid of compression, there is less muscle vibration, leading to less muscle fatigue.
Compression ensures that all muscle fibres are “firing” in the same direction instead of moving in different lateral directions and wasting energy. This is incredibly evident when it comes to running, as the pounding of your legs on the road causes much more vibration in your muscle fibres. With the aid of compression, energy is no longer wasted, hence assisting focus and concentration during games.
Compression = better blood flow = faster removal of waste.
Another theory is that with compression, there is improved blood flow. The squeeze in your veins helps blood flow faster from the muscles back to the heart. This translates to more oxygen being provided to the muscles, which leads to less lactic acid build-up and hence, longer endurance and less fatigue.
Compression during and after exercise helps with recovery.
Many agree that leaving your compression wear on after trainings and workouts can aid in optimal recovery. Research done on rugby players has shown that compression leggings definitely do improve recovery time, especially after leaving them on for 24 hours after trainings and competitions.
2XU has recognised the struggle faced by most athletes to wash and dry their tights after exercise to convert it to recovery wear. Hence, to help ease your anxiety when your tights don’t dry in time before your bedtime, 2XU has specially designed muscle recovery apparel for you to slip into post workout. These products, namely 2XU recovery tights are made to be comfortable enough for athletes to wear for extended hours, and even to sleep. Though regular compression tights can also do the trick, these recovery tights do it even better. 2XU’s recovery tights features superior gradient compression which stabilises muscles and promotes blood flow. Their unique 2XU waistband ensures that it remains comfortable during prolonged hours of wear. 2XU even has an interesting line of products which provides over the foot compression, mimicking stockings to soothe the runner’s foot. Most importantly, it promotes greater venous return of blood for the fastest recovery.
To some, compression tights may hurt the wallet a little more than they would like it to. Hence, some creative individuals come up with unorthodox methods like wearing tight shirts, buying one size down in the hope of increasing their performance because it’s compression. They end up feeling extremely uncomfortable, and looking like this:
Myth 1: Will tight-fitting clothing work the same way?
This is in fact not true at all. Compression tights aren’t just your everyday tight-fitting shirts or shorts – they are specially designed to deliver the right amount of compression. High quality compression wear even features graduated pressure, where more pressure is delivered to places you need it (for example, your calves) and more flexibility in places (such as your knees) that require more freedom of movement. An example of such a brand would be 2XU, which has recently come up with something known as Muscle Containment Stamping (MCS).
MCS is the patterning of your tights to provide precise pressure and support to targeted areas without the cloth on your body being too thick, making this technology incontestable. On a budget? Fret not – 2XU’s elite and regular range of compression tights will do the trick as well.
Myth 2: Can I wear compression tights to swim?
You might have seen some athletes wear their compression tights into the pool or the sea, and wondered if the water would do damage to the compression wear. Swimming with tights is actually not a problem at all. However, do note that your apparel should be rinsed with clean, cool water immediately to prevent the loss of elasticity. Now that you’ve learnt this, you do not need to worry about wearing your tights into the sea during beach events such as Surf N Sweat. Just remember to wash up well!
Myth 3: Compression? So… the tighter the better?
Nope. Compression apparel shouldn’t pose any discomfort or pain upon wear. If it hurts, it simply means that it’s too tight. In fact, compression shirts that are too tight can cause difficulty breathing, which will negatively affect your performance instead of improving it.
Myth 4: Compression apparel causes heat build-up.
Let’s be honest - compression shirts and full-length compression bottoms do sound extremely warm and uncomfortable. This is especially so in Singapore’s climate, where merciless sun rays often leave us dripping with sweat as soon as we step out into the open. However, worry not - superior brands like 2XU have invested in technology to make your tights more breathable. Their extreme moisture wicking properties remove your sweat, and their antibacterial fabric prevents fungal growth. Even though their fabric is light, it is extremely durable, allowing you to carry less weight while ensuring that a pair of tights lasts you a long time. These are factors that make 2XU stand out.
With increased endurance, better performance, and excellent breathability, sporting 2XU’s compression apparel while doing intense indoor activities such as conquering National Vertical Marathon will rarely pose problems. Instead, it will be a breeze for you.
Myth 5: Cycling shorts Compression tights.
To the avid cyclists out there - have you ever wished that compression tights came along with the padding on your cycling shorts? Well, your prayers have been answered, for 2XU has specially designed a line of compression apparel for cyclists and triathletes for their training and their race events such as Bike Rally. This line of products includes padded compression shorts, which provide comfort and enhance your performance at the same time. Slip on these shorts while riding, and conquer the distance with no problems at all.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, serious athlete, or simply a recreational sportsperson, compression wear is definitely a worthy investment. Don’t believe me? Try them on and feel the difference for yourself. It’s simple - just start with a pair of 2XU compression shorts and surprise yourself with your exceptional performance.
This article is sponsored by 2XU