A tight Squeeze - Compression clothing for cyclists08 July, 2012 0 comments
A tight squeeze - Compression Clothing for Cyclists
A growing body of research suggests that compression clothing can improve performance and reduce muscle soreness caused by strenuous cycling. We found out why...
With its skin-tight fit and snazzy fabric, compression gear looks pretty high-tech but, here’s the thing, compression clothing has been around for yonks. In fact, doctors have been using compression socks to improve symptoms related to poor circulation, diabetes and swelling, to name a few, for decades.
So how does the technology work? According to research on compression socks printed in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the pressure put on blood vessels by the tight-fitting garments causes blood to move around the body faster and deliver more oxygen to the muscles, which causes the muscle cells to work extra hard. Boosted circulation also helps remove the nasty, not to mention cramp-inducing, by-products of physical exertion - lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The net result is improved performance, reduced inflammation and bolstered recovery. Simple.
So simple, in fact, that a hoard of newfangled compression kit has made its way into the sports world. Skin-tight leggings, sleeves, socks and base layers have quickly become popular staples among runners, triathletes, footballers, swimmers and many other sports stars. But some of the greatest benefits have been recorded by cyclists. During a recent study, experts at Lincoln University observed a group of cyclists who were wearing compression leggings non-stop between two daily 25-mile rides. On the second day, the cyclists wearing the compression kit reduced their times by 1.2 per cent and increased their pedal power by a performance-enhancing 3.3 per cent. And that’s not all. Researchers in Australia also discovered endurance cyclists took a longer amount of time to reach anaerobic threshold when wearing compression sleeves. Why? The experts believe the results were a result of the increased amount of oxygen found in muscles.
There are also studies that show the performance and pain-blasting benefits of compression kit in other activities, such as long distance running, netball, plyometric training, sprinting - and the list goes on. However, while science may suggest compression technology is a dead cert when it comes to blitzing post-exercise soreness, we think that the proof is in the pudding. So here’s the latest skin-tight kit to catch our attention...
Bontrager Race Compression Bib Shorts
Every cyclist should have some carefully crafted bib shorts and this pair from Bontrager is just the ticket. Boasting a streamlined fit, strategically positioned compressive fabric, leg grippers, a super-comfy chamois and an attractive price tag, these shorts are perfect for race-ready riders.
110% Juggler Knickers (£110, www.sweatshop.co.uk)
Fusing the science of compression with the power of ice, these high-tech leggings are exactly what workout worn limbs need. Wear the knickers on a ride to benefit from the tight-fitting fabric and simply slip the reusable ice sheets into the leggings after training to reduce muscle soreness. Want to go one better? Shin, calf and knee sleeves are also available – nifty.
2XU Compression Cycle Bib Shorts (£139.99,www.evanscycles.com)
Not only are these shorts among some of the best, but they also have a fancy red bib to boot – so it’s well worth saving the pennies to get a pair! Using 2XU’s popular 105D/Ck fabric,
the lightweight bib shorts provide the right amount of pressure to enhance performance and bolster recovery after a long ride. Plus, they look pretty stylish!