There can be a lot of chatter out there when it comes to compression apparel, enough to confuse even the most educated among us. Over the years the term has become ubiquitous, with all tight fighting clothing becoming “compression apparel”. While raising the profile of this category has opened the eyes of many, ultimately the misinformation out there has done a disservice to the real thing. Not all tight fighting clothing is performance compression. Not all tall socks are compression socks. Yoga tights are not compression tights.
So how do you make sure you are getting the real thing? Start with these three checks:
This is the key to many of benefits in true compression apparel. Graduated Compression means the product has the greatest degree of compression at the extremity (ankle, foot, wrist) with the level of compression gradually decreasing up the garment. This pressure gradient ensures that blood flows upward toward the heart instead of refluxing toward the foot or laterally into the superficial veins. Better blood flow helps your body flush out lactic acid and other metabolic wastes which helps you perform better for longer periods. In addition improved Oxygenation reduces the effect of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speeds up muscle repair. Many brands that claim to make compression apparel, do NOT produce graduated products, therefore negating any of the circulatory benefits of the high performance products. All DFND tights, socks, and long sleeve tops have this graduated design, ensuring you receive maximum benefit.
The real difference maker is how a product feels when you put it on. You want soft, breathable, comfortable, supportive. A garment you actually look forward to wearing. Too many brands these days sell “compression” that is thick and tight, holding in every bit of moisture your body produces, the opposite of what you want. When evaluating a product, always start with the fabric. True performance compression should be manufactured with a circular knit fabric and offer a 360 degree stretch for maximum muscle containment. Additionally, ensure you are selecting products that are moisture wicking and have antibacterial properties, this is imperative in keeping you comfortable and healthy while working out. Lastly, look for sun protection to keep your skin safe while training outside. Every item in the DFND compression line is manufactured with high denier, best in market Invista Lycra fabrics that will keep you comfortable and performing at your best.
Compression shirts are not just a base layer. There are so many benefits here that often get lost in the shuffle of the lower body’s needs. When looking to give your upper body the love it deserves, make sure you are choosing a product that supports and enhances your postural awareness and power output (hint: a basic long sleeve will not do the trick). DFND compression tops patented designs inhibit improper postural patterns such as rounded shoulders, a forward head, and protracted scapula, differentiating them from their less performance oriented competitors.
**This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a starting place in your high performance journey.**