Today’s reader question:
Does compression gear work? (ie SKINS, Under Armour)
Well… the answer depends on what you mean by ‘work’. I’ve used compression clothing before and I’ve had decent results, but it really depends on what results you’re trying to get.
First, let’s cover the basics.
What is compression gear / clothing?
Compression gear is that skin-tight wetsuit looking clothing you’ll often see joggers, cyclists and athletes wearing.
It’s basically like a base layer except tighter because it’s meant to compress and hugs the body, hence the name compression clothing.
What compression gear / clothing won’t do:
Don’t expect to put on your SKINS or Under Armour compression clothing and instantly get 50% more endurance and power. That won’t happen.
It also won’t help you land 180s or stomp new tricks just by wearing it.
What compression clothing WILL help with:
Compression gear will do 3 things:
- Help your muscles warm up faster
- Keep you warmer
- Improve recovery time
Basically, compression gear works by increasing the blood flow to your entire body.
This means you stay warmer, your muscles warm up quicker and you’ll get less soreness and pain after a long day on the slopes.
When to use compression gear:
In snowboarding, compression gear is used very similarly to a base layer. It basically IS a base layer after all, except that it’s a tiny bit tighter.
For me, I have both regular base layers and compression gear as well, so I don’t wear the compression clothing all the time, although I know people who use compression clothing every day.
One of the biggest benefits of compression clothing comes when you’re recovering from an injury… which is often if you snowboard a lot.
When you’re injured, certain muscles around the injured area will be weaker and take longer to warm up. Compression gear is really handy in those situations because it helps get those muscles warmed up and engaged.
For example, I used compression gear a lot when I was recovering from knee surgery and it helped with building my knee muscle back up to 100%.
You’ll find that it’s pretty common practice for many physiotherapists to recommend compression gear to patients rehabbing from injuries.
Now don’t take this to mean you can’t use compression gear all the time. Plenty of people use them every day simply because it reduces muscle soreness and they work even better than regular base layers when it comes to keeping you warm.
So there you go.
Don’t expect compression gear to instantly make you 50% stronger, but it is useful if you want to reduce overall muscle soreness, warm up faster and stay warmer on the slopes.