Compression for Crossfitters: Real Help or Just About the Looks?

Functional clothing and its influence on an athlete’s performance have become increasingly important within the last couple of years. So exactly how does it speed up recovery time and increase muscle sensitivity and control?

In the field of football, running and of course, Crossfit, compression wear adds another dimension of effectiveness when working out and/or competing with other top athletes.

Even though compression wear is not a new concept, it is still not fully understood by everyone — both within professional and newbie circles. As manufacturers of compression wear, there is one question that we are always being asked: How is compression wear meant to fit?

There are different needs for different sports, and a large range of personal preferences that make it impossible to answer this question for you or generalize it in any way. But, before I elucidate on how to find the perfect base layer, I want to explain the three different ways that this gear works and therefore, will ultimately help you to decide upon the right fit for your exact needs.

#1 COMPRESSION

Compression by definition means ‘the reduction in volume and increase of pressure.’

If you compress your body, you will automatically reduce the volume of your body’s total surface area. This basically means that more nerves will be concentrated within a specific area than before. This will lead to an increase in the proprioception of your body. In simpler terms: Compression will give you greater muscle sensitivity by concentrating your nerves.

C S Compression
Capital Sports compression wear

This effect helps you to have much stronger control over your muscles as you feel them more than before. Especially in the case of heavy lifting, this can be a real game changer.

#2 MUSCLE MOVEMENT

Another effect of these garments is the reduction of muscle movement. This is the reason why sprinters, football players and other professional athletes like to wear compression clothing so much: Less movement of your muscle results in less energy required to keep you muscles in position.

  • Let’s play this through by way of illustration to make it more understandable:

Take a leg for example:  Your four quadriceps usually are the biggest muscles of the human body in terms of volume. Once you start any movement, your muscles automatically start moving as well. The bigger it is, the more it will move. The maximum power of every muscle can only be reached if positioned at the correct angle. As we all have more than one muscle in our legs, it is also about the coordination of those muscles as an effective system. Compression wear helps your body to hold your muscles in a better position and allow you to proportionally apply your energy much more effectively.

Compresison
Beforce compression shirt

#3 RECOVERY

Last but not least: Athletes use compression for better recovery. In order to help your body recover faster from a tough competition or a hard workout, you need a high level of compression. During the compression process more blood is drawn to the compressed area, which will speed up the transport of lactate from your muscles. Rinsing your muscles from these lactates will help them recover much faster.

  • Now you have a better understanding of what it is good for, but still have no idea of what kind of garment you should get and how it should fit?

When you start wearing the clothes for the very first time they will feel a bit peculiar. Especially, if you are not extremely fit and possibly familiar with love handles or a muffin top. In the end, compression wear is all about the feel. Simple as that: You need to feel good in it. If you like tight clothing and want to experience any one of the training effects mentioned above, you can go for medium to high graded clothes. If you just like the comfort of something close to your skin, you can try ‘fitted’ pieces or low graded clothes.

Personally, I recommend everyone to try it as I can’t image one single training session or competition without it. My personal experience with it lead me from starting with low compression to using primarily high compression pieces for my thighs. As a former Judoka I was dealing with a good many muscle injuries, specifically in my thigh area.

Compression wear helped me reducing my recovery time a lot. It can do the same for you, if you let it be your friend.

And now: WOD and Compress.

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About The Author

Jan-Hendrik Gaertner: Head of CAPITAL SPORTS. 32 years old, born in Hamburg, Germany. Former professional Judoka and Soccer player. I started to get interested into Fitness Training at a young age and tried many different kinds of Training methods. In 2012, I got in contact with Crossfit for the first time and immediately became addicted. My passion for this particular sport made me decide to found a Brand for Training Equipment with high quality, ...

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