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Workout clothes for women are HUGE business these days. I can’t be sure because I was just a baby, but I would liken it to the early 80’s when aerobics classes were at their peak of popularity.
From what I’ve seen, there were spandex suits and tights everywhere. It’s kind of funny because we’ve, in many ways, come full circle. The tight, form fitting, fitness clothing is back and it’s very popular.
Most of these clothes are compression clothing, meaning they squeeze your body. The most popular are the shorts and leggings. Have you ever wondered…
Do These Compression Fitness Clothes Actually Help Me Workout Better?
Studies were really hard to come by, but I did find a great site in the UK that referenced some studies.
It turns out that compression clothes do help your training and even your recovery in many ways. Let’s look at the studies and see how it can actually relate to you.
Study 1 – More Sustained Power
In a 2003 study, a volleyball team of women was asked to wear compression shorts while doing a series of vertical jumps. These were more like squat jumps because they would get into a squat position each time they jumped. They jumped 10 times straight with a 3 second rest between jumps.
The compression shorts did not affect their power during the actual jump, but it did register more sustained power over the series of jumps. In other words, the girls kept their strength longer after more jumps.
The researchers believe this happens because the compression holds your muscles in place as you go through impact and power moves. With less body jiggle, your muscles are able to be recruited with more ease. I hope that made sense.
What this means for you…
It means that for bodyweight workouts, which mix in a lot of plyometric exercises, compression clothes can help you perform better.
Study 2 – Better Use Of Oxygen In The Muscles
Oxygen is a fuel source for your muscles. The better and more efficient oxygen usage is, the longer you’ll be able to last. This mainly applies to cardio workouts when your body will use oxygen as it’s main source of sustained energy.
Researchers looked at wearing compression running tights running at different speeds around a 200 meter track.
Just like above, the compression tights helped the muscles maintain more power and activity because the compression helped with more efficient muscle recruitment. So the right muscles where used better and that helped them better use oxygen and it’s energy potential.
What does this mean for you?
I think it’s a great idea to wear compression workout clothing when running. Besides just a study like this, I feel a noticeable difference when running with tight leggings on compared to lose shorts.
Study 3 – Better And Faster Recovery
Recover is really important when you’re training. The faster you recover, the more you can, in theory, workout and see results. Although I don’t recommend an increase in exercise frequency… it’s just nice to recover quickly and not be sore.
A few studies looked at wearing a compression sleeve after a series of bicep curls by both women and men. They found that just by wearing the compression sleeve after a workout helped to reduce muscle swelling (inflammation), helped to ease soreness, and regained maximal joint mobility faster.
All of this just by wearing a compression sleeve. Pretty good!
What does this mean for you?
You could wear compression leggings and even a shirt after a workout to help with recovery. This is not practical for many people however. Perhaps wearing shape wear under your work clothes can help with soreness the next day.
I’ve never tested this so I can’t say for sure, but it might be worth a test.
So Should You Wear Compression Workout Clothes?
I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s also very fashionable. My personal favorites are Lululemon and Under Armour. There are a few other companies I am looking into as well and I’ll report them on the blog.
Under Armour is the best value because you can get their clothing for a much better price compared to Lululemon.
Source of these studies: http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/the-benefits-of-compression-clothing-35846