Spotted your favorite athlete wearing compression sleeves on your Instagram feed and wondered, “What’s that about?” Here’s everything you need to know about compression and how athletes use it to train harder and recover faster.
What is compression?
Compression is an effective method by which controlled pressure is applied to the extremities in order to increase blood flow and the efficiency of the lymphatic and venous systems. Traditionally, compression uses socks or stockings, but Restore uses newer technology like NormaTec to offer dynamic compression that utilizes compressed air to mobilize fluid and improve circulation. This technology involves “sleeves” which slide onto your arms, legs or around your hips and offer a pneumatic, pressurized massage.
How does compression work?
The idea behind compression is pretty simple: It helps your system increase blood flow to certain areas, encouraging your body to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the area, which in turn may speed up recovery, relieve aches and improve athletic performance.
How long is a compression session?
Typical sessions last 30 minutes. You can sit back, relax, read a book, scroll Instagram, practice deep breaths or take a nap. As long as you remain stationary and let compression do its job, the choice is yours. But in case it’s your first time, be sure to charge your phone in advance or bring a book!
Who uses compression?
Professional athletes have used compression as a means to recover faster in between training sessions or after intense competitions. Because the pneumatic squeezing technique increases blood and lymphatic flow in your limbs, it allows for muscles to recover faster from aches or overuse, so the athletes can perform at a higher rate of intensity without needing as much rest or recovery in between exercise. Think about the last time you did squats. For most people, it’s not too often, and the result is, your legs are intensely sore for 2-3 days afterwards. It’s difficult to climb stairs, sit down and you can forget about exercising again. But with compression, that recovery period is much shorter because the system mimics therapeutic pressure, reducing tenderness and alleviating soreness in the process. It’s a sports massage after intense workouts, minus the sports massage price tag.
Here’s a quick list of professional athletes and teams that use compression to recover:
Steph Curry (NBA)
Lebron James (NBA)
Kevin Durant (NBA)
Mick Fanning (professional surfer/shark attack survivor)
Leticia Bufoni (professional skateboarder)
Nyjah Huston (professional skateboarder)
Neen Williams (professional skateboarder)
Chloe Kim (professional snowboarder)
Amy Cragg (Olympic Track and Field athlete)
New Orleans Pelicans (NBA)
Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
But the athletes who use compression far surpass this list. Triathletes, cyclists, swimmers, CrossFit athletes and Olympic athletes also swear by compression for recovery. And because Restore makes compression available to customers at an affordable rate, it’s reaching beyond the professional ranks into weekend warriors, moms, dads and the most valuable player in the local softball league.
What happens after doing compression?
Each user will have their own experience following compression, but many people say their arms, legs or hips feel lighter afterwards, and that they are not as sore as they were before using compression. And if you want my first person candid experience, here goes: After the first time I used compression on my legs, I ran 7 miles and felt very light on my feet and wasn’t sore the next day. It really made me stop and rethink my personal training regimen, and although I still enjoy running, I now try to pair it with compression at least 2-3 times per week for best results.
Learn more about Restore Compression.