We’re all fans of using compression for recovery here at PBK. Whether it’s after a nice steady ride, an ‘hour of power’ or a go from the gun crit, we find it really does make a difference (even if it’s just making your legs feel superhuman!).
While there are a number of brands to choose from, the principle is the same throughout – compress the muscle to help flush lactate out and increase oxygenation of the tissue.
After a ride, it’s always good practise to stretch your muscles properly. This helps by subtly tearing the muscle tissue and making it grow back stronger for next time – hence why rest days are vital.
As a recovery aid post exercise – use compression wear after any activity and wear it for at least 3 hours. It’s comfortable to wear under clothing and can be worn when asleep. When worn while sleeping, they can increase bioactivity and speed up your body’s normal recovery process. Many people report having ‘fresh legs’ the following morning.
Ever watch a triathlon race and you’ll see a lot of competitors adoring a nice big Zoot logo on their wetsuit. Have a look at their website and you’ll realise that they must spend the majority of their time developing and testing new products (it’s not very flashy).
They don’t seem very relevant to cycling but the compression tops are well worth trying. A thermal one is a lovely thing to step out onto a chilly day in, an advantage of compression as well as its warmth is the extra control you get – try lifting your arms above your head wearing one and you feel like gravity has doubled for the day!
Active Thermal: for when extra warmth is needed.
Recovery: a full on compression top for making to most of those hard days out on the bike.
We wear ours as much as possible here, calf guards after commuting to work sat in the office, tights when watching other people cycle on TV and for bed they are supremely comfy and you do feel better for it in the morning.
As you can see from the images, the tops have muscle specific zones of compression to stabilise and prevent post-exercise soreness. Made from polypropylene and Silver tech which provides moisture wicking and thankfully for your family 99.9% antimicrobial protection = no smells!
They can be machine washed on a gentle cycle and as long as you’re careful taking them off (which can be hard!) they should last an awfully long time.
Once you’re used to the feeling, you no longer obsess about that can of coke when you’re out and have blown-up, it becomes a challenge to make it home to lie down and put these on!
Calf guards: essentially tubes which compress and squeeze the muscles. Stitched to stay in place and with tough cuffs to prevent you from ripping or tearing the seams when putting on/taking off.
Wear them at home, when training or like us while sat at a desk. Try them after a hard ride and after a good nights sleep with them your legs should feel lighter and ‘fuller’ than they would normally.
Walking in them at first you feel like the Terminator – they give your legs and muscles real support and a nice light feeling. After a night in these you’ll find you’re fresher the next day.
Tights: combining the two does make getting them on and off a full on mission but once on you’re sorted!
Great for wearing at night or through the day if you need to recover as much as possible. Through winter they also make nice thermals providing you don’t work in the Arctic.
Another brand of compression wear is 2XU – another company with a great range and links to the soon to be defunct Cervelo Test Team.
Whether you’re after calf guards, socks or a nice top to sleep in it’s all here. The whole range can be seen here.
Do you use compression? Let us know what you think below, is the feeling of fresh legs worth the fairly high outlay of a pair of tights? Are we missing a brand which you’d really like to be able to buy from us?