The Importance of Compression Gear

STACK Expert Chris Costa raps on workout gear that incorporates wicking technology and compression.

Nike Pro Combat

Options are endless when it comes to workout gear. Most gear available today incorporates wicking technology, which pulls moisture away from the body to facilitate a cooler core temperature. Nike's best line is Pro Combat. Reebok has PlayDry. Adidas has Climacool. You get the picture.

The most important thing is to choose appropriate gear. I would prefer to see you focus on products that promote better performance for your sport than to rely on claims of "best available." I think it's key to wear compression gear. The stability it adds to your muscles helps to prevent injury and restricts lactic acid flow.

There isn't much research to back the assertion of lactic acid reduction, but even if the restriction is negligible, it's still a good aid in preventing muscle strains. Movement in the muscle tissues is referred to as muscle oscillation. Lactic acid is the byproduct of working muscles. Trained athletes differ in their lactic acid thresholds, level of lactates in the blood and risk for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Products that offer the highest percentage of lycra are the most compressive. Anything labeled "loose" probably has less lycra and little or no compression.

Some additional research shows that compression gear raises skin temperature. This may affect some athletes' comfort levels, and their skin will feel warmer to the touch. It's possible that this could affect sweating patterns, but the study showed no significant changes. Finally, compression gear does not affect core temperature. The body's ability to cool itself was not affected, which in turn did not increase dehydration.

If you're in the market for new gear, I suggest you check out Nike Pro Combat. If you prefer Under Armour, that's fine as well. Reebok and Adidas also have great lines, which might be slightly more affordable. Keep in mind, it's all about performance. The trick is to find the best fit for your body, your wallet and your game.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: ADIDAS | WORKOUTS | PULLS | INJURY | MUSCLE SORENESS | COMPRESSION | LACTIC ACID | RAISES | CORE TEMPERATURE | DEHYDRATION | CLIMACOOL | NIKE PRO | NIKE PRO COMBAT