Compression Gear - Does it Work?
Studies show that compression gear increases your athletic performance and allows you to train for longer.
It also helps you recover faster from rigorous workouts.
So is it any good for martial arts training?
How does compression wear work?
The theory is that tight clothing holds your muscles firmly against your body.
This gives your muscles support and so reduces damage during very rigorous workouts.
The support also speeds up the natural removal of lactic acid from your muscles.
This means your body feels less fatigued and you can keep training for longer.
And lastly compression wear is designed to draw moisture away from your body so your skin stays dry.
As a guide... when you buy compression gear it should fit like a glove but not feel constricting.
And when you lift your hands up, it shouldn't ride so far upwards that you have a midriff.
And does it work?
Well for a start... it's much nicer to wear dri-fit material under dobok than a regular T-shirt which gets and stays very wet.
We first tried out Under Armour gear during our 3 week Korean taekwondo tour - it was a life saver!
We kicked for around 6 hours a day for 3 weeks solid - so our bodies took a bit of bashing to say the least!
The gear definitely helped us to keep training for longer than we would normally manage.
And after training our muscles felt warm and 'wrapped up' until we could get back to the hotel for a shower.
On our top half we tried long and short sleeved shirts and we all decided the short sleeved shirt was better - it just felt more comfortable.
For the bottoms we used full length leggings.
The leggings gave our calves and thigh muscles great support.
But in Leah's case they restricted her ankles and she got swollen feet.
We solved this by cutting the bottom of the leggings.
But we suggest you try compression shorts rather than full length leggings if they feel too tight around your ankles.
In other sports players get round this problem by using compression socks. But of course these are no use for marital artists who generally train in bare feet.
And do we still use our gear?...
...For heavy training - yes.
If we know that a session will be long or very tough or if we are training really hard for a grading or competition then we use our gear.
But we don't want to rely on it, so for basic training we trend to stick to just a dobok.