Compression clothing has become hugely popular among professional and international sports stars in recent years, and swimmers are no exception.
Some of the world's greatest swimmers including Adam Peaty, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos and Rūta Meilutytė have spoken publicly about their reliance on compression wear to help muscle recovery between races.
But what about amateur or club swimmers? Does compression clothing work for them?
These swimmers could be forgiven for thinking that compression wear is solely designed for elite sportsmen and women at the top of their game. But that simply isn't the case.
The theory behind compression is based around giving your body the best possible chance to recover quickly after a prolonged period of exercise.
It doesn't matter if you're training for the World Championships, or if you've just put in a lengthy session down at your local pool. Your body will need to recover in exactly the same way.
Wearing compression clothing exercise reduces the build-up of lactic acid. These powerful compression features are designed to wrap the muscles to reduce soreness and fatigue.
They also inrease blood circulation and provide muscles with the support they need, while reducing post-exercise swelling and stiffness for a faster recovery.
Here, we take a look at the most common questions swimmers ask about compression clothing, and we've also got a video below from 2XU explaining and introducing their compression wear range.
Can compression clothing benefit a warm-up?
You might think that compression clothing is only beneficial when you're pushing your body to the limit, but this isn't the case.
With compression clothing, it acts as a base layer. You can improve your warm-up as well, whether you're exercising in the pool or out of the water.
The increased blood flow generated by compression wear allows for a more rapid warm-up and ensures that most oxygen is absorbed by the muscle tissue.
The benefits this brings are staggering, allowing you to prepare your muscles, reduce injury risk and get ready for a great workout.
Can compression wear help during exercise?
Of course, another great benefit is the support that compression clothing provides for the body and the muscle. This reduces the chances of muscle damage.
Compression wear is designed to do this by aligning the muscles and keeping them in place. This avoids muscle oscillation and ensures that they don’t get sore even after hours of long, hard workouts.
With compression clothing, you can find your stride and reach your peak performance level.
How does compression clothing help with recovery?
Even after you finish your workout, you’ll find that compression wear keeps working in your favour. After your workout ends, compression clothing aids your recovery by maximising venous returns to vital organs like the heart.
It also provides a massive boost in the circulation of your blood. As well as this, lactate that causes acid build-up is removed. This means that you’re looking at a faster recovery rate with a reduction in swelling and pain in the muscles.
If you have damaged your muscles while working out, expect them to recover faster than usual too.
Is compression gear only beneficial to elite swimmers?
Absolutely not. Muscle recovery is an important part of training for any swimmer, whether you're competing in the Olympics or a club meet.
International swimming stars such as Adam Peaty have spoken of the benefits of compression in speeding up recovery before a big race, but club swimmers are just as likely to need an assisted recovery.
Compression wear technology is now more advanced than ever before, which means there are a variety of options for swimmers of any standard.
One of the world's leading pioneers in compression wear is 2XU. The 2XU range delivers incredible performance on compression power, and has an extensive collection of clothing to suit all swimmers and price ranges.
2XU compression tights – the statistics
2XU is always striving to engineer the world's lightest, most powerful and most flexible compression wear.
Their innovative designs have helped to revolutionise the compression clothing market, and their research into the performance of their compression leggings and tights boasts some pretty remarkable results.
- Gains of up to 10.6 seconds over a 10k run
- 5% peak power gains
- 18% blood flow increase to the quadriceps
- Power improvement of up to 1.4% for exercise sessions of up to 30 minutes
Reducing Injury Risk
- Reduces oscillatory properties of quads, calves and surrounding soft tissue
- Delivers lower markers of blood clotting in marathons
- Redues heart rate by up to 2.5% for exercise sessions of up to 30 minutes
- 4.8% increase in blood lacate removal over a one-hour recovery period
- Reduced swelling to the thigh by 1.1cm and the calf by 0.6cm when worn in a one-hour recovery period
- Power improvement of up to 2% when worn for recovery between repeat exercise sessions
2XU compression tops – the benefits
The 2XU compression range also features a selection of tops that will help to reduce muscle stiffness, soreness and swelling in the upper body after workouts.
For swimmers, fast upper body recovery is essential, particularly with the stress that is put on arms and shoulders during an intense training session.
2XU recovery compression long sleeve tops are designed to combat soreness after an upper body workout, working specifically to reduce aches from repetitive arm movements, tennis elbow or arm pump.