Soccer has never been more physically challenging. The season is long, the competition fierce, and room for error minimal. Players go to great lengths in order to maximize their performance and hear the thunderous roar of the crowd. There are many factors that can make or break sports success, and one of them is certainly equipment. Compression clothes are gaining traction, with many pros squeezing into tight shorts, tights, tops, and sleeves. This novelty garment looks sleek and aerodynamic, but what are the real benefits of using it, if any?
A tight rein on muscles
Manufacturers claim that this type of apparel prompts your muscles to generate explosive power, acceleration, and endurance. Customers seem convinced and willing to pay the premium, as the sales of compression gear are booming in areas of retail, various gym clothes and athletic garments. Notwithstanding, what truly matters is the science behind compression garments. So, can leggings really bring forth increased stamina and power?
In a nutshell, compression clothing is made of tight elastic, which holds shape better. It can take the form of shorts that are worn under the jersey or pieces that cover a head-to-toe area. Now, these habiliments may seem too tight, but they feature graduated pressure. For example, the grip is tighter around the ankle than the knee, which means that the circulation from the lower leg is boosted. Moreover, a greater volume of oxygen is delivered to the muscle tissue and the clearance of metabolic waste is enhanced.
Hence, it does not come as a surprise that cyclists, runners, and other athletes display better results while wearing compression clothes in the lab. Not only that, this gear has allowed them to engage in a faster warm-up. However, there is conflicting evidence about the impact on the athletic performance outside laboratory conditions. Some scientists claim that the effect is more marginal than profound, while others dismiss it altogether.
There are also those who have identified “statistically significant” effects on strength and power. Even if that is not the case, the fact that you are able to recover better means that you can step up in subsequent day’s training and matches. Maybe the tights will not make you run faster or jump higher, but they work their magic more subtly, which brings us to other potential advantages of using compression gear.
Namely, many athletes report they feel better after a day of running in compression tights. They experience less muscle soreness, strain, swelling, and fatigue. When you train hard every day, and need to cover many miles during the game, this can help a great deal. Scientists are wondering whether this improved recovery could be attributed to a placebo effect. The results of studies are mixed, although most experts link them to the aforementioned shifts in blood flow and metabolic waste disposal.
It is thus safe to conclude that the effect on recovery is at least modest. Even if some of the benefits are rooted in the psychological workings of our brain, it does help you restore and repair muscle tissue. Better recovery also means that athletes can mitigate the damage to muscles, decrease the risk of injury, and avoid warming the bench. Therefore, compression gear also provides a small performance and career boost.
Finally, compression gear wards off the chilling presence of cold weather. It protects you with top-notch warming power and a sleek fit, preventing the weather from interfering with your training and game performance. Taking into account all the evidence, we recommend professionals, weekend warriors, and recreational-league players to suit up and kick their game into overdrive.
It has been proven that compression gear speeds up recovery after demanding physical activity, which can make a real difference for a soccer player. Thus, compression clothing is one of the tools to reach and maintain peak performance, albeit it is not clear to which extent. In general, it makes you game-ready and fit to face the challenges ahead. Do not expect miracles from these products, but feel free to use them as a means to gain an edge in the soccer arena.