Kurio Science - The Proof
Compression garments have been used in the medical industry for years with well-publicised benefits of enhancing recovery. When the sports industry recognised the benefits to athletes they began introducing compression garments to improve both recovery and performance.
Correct and proper compression can promote an increase in blood flow (venous return) and stop venous pooling. Faster or more efficient blood flow can increase the removal of waste products to create a more efficient recovery mechanism - ultimately making recovery from exercise quicker, enabling sportspeople to train harder, go further and recover faster.
How it works
Compression garments make an object smaller than its original size (in other words, squeezing). It is a simple method which if configured correctly, can help athletes with the following:
- Improves venous return (the rate of blood flow back to the heart)
- Reduces muscle oscillation (vibration)
- Increases kinaesthesia (body awareness)
- Reduces in DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
- Improves posture, body shape and support
- Fabric improves body moisture wicking
- Helps to prevent swelling and deep vein thrombosis during long periods of travelling
All of which helps with faster post exercise recovery, decreased muscular fatigue and therefore physical performance improvements.
As compression cannot be seen, it can only be calculated by measuring the pressure a garment provides. This is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The most effective and safe levels of compression for sports equipment range from 18 -30mmHg.
Ideally sportspeople should consider two levels of compression garment, one for exercise, and one for recovery. During exercise, some movement is needed to allow the body to exercise for extra freedom of movement without inhibiting natural venous return during the impact phase of exercise.
However, too much muscle oscillation can lead to muscle soreness (DOMS) which can impair performance. In this case compression in the range of 18 -21 mmHg is desirable.
For enhanced recovery, when the body is in a semi-relaxed state, when the heart has slowed, the removal of bi-products created during exercise can be enhanced with a higher, but safe, level of compression (23 – 30 mmHg). A better venous return improves the removal of bi-products formed during exercise, such as lactic acid, and helps reduce swelling with aids recovery.
Made to Measure Compression - The Proof
The majority of published studies do not measure the degree of pressure exerted by the garments and simply report the estimated levels indicated by the manufacturer. A potential problem with this is that the garments are usually fitted based on the individual's height and weight. Owing to the differences in body shape and variations in tissue structure, there may be large ranges in the pressure exerted locally by a garment in one size classification.
Jessica Hill, School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary's University College, Twickenham
Published British Journal of Sports Medicine
Many studies on the effectiveness of compression agree that only if the compression garment provides gradient support of 20-30 mmHG of pressure throughout will it be really effective. For example, our own research with Progressive Sports Technologies of Loughborough University Sports Technology Institute shows that unless a compression garments is cut to precisely match the individual's measurements, the consistency and effectiveness of the compression garment is compromised.
Kurio made to measure compression garments are the ONLY ones currently offering this level of gradient support throughout.
At Kurio we heavily invest in the science behind our product and are proud to be at the cutting edge of compression technology. Like all athletes we are always looking for ways to improve.
But don't just take our word for it, see other research below for excerpts from externally published research papers which reinforce our own research and in turn informs our product design.
Manufacturers recommend that lower limb CGs (tights) are fitted according to the height and mass of an individual, however, the variation in limb size and tissue structure within a given population is likely to affect the fit, particularly when standard sizing categories are used Ashdown also indicated that sizing systems used to create ready to wear garments are flawed, due to the lack of size variation available to fit the wide range of body types within a population.
One current argument surrounding the use of commercially available compression garments is whether they can exert enough pressure to be of any benefit.
In conclusion, it would seem that the use of a lower limb compression garment, after a marathon run, results in significatly lower perceived muscle soreness at 24 hours after marathon.
The use of compression garments in sport is becoming increasingly popular due to claims that they can improve recovery from strenuous exercise by creating an external pressure gradient, thus reducing the space available for swelling. Other suggested benefits include enhanced blood flow that may aid the removal of waste products and muscle metabolites.
The majority of published studies do no measure the degree of pressure exerted by the garments and simply report the estimated levels indicated by the manufacturer. A potential problem with this is that the garments are usually fitted based on the individual's height and weight. Owing to the differences in body shape and variations in tissue structure, there may be large ranges in the pressure exerted locally by a garment in one size classification.
Summary of findings
The use of compression garments appears to reduce the severity of DOMs, accelerate the recovery of muscle function and attenuate the concentration of CK following strenuous exercise. These findings indicate tht wearing a compression garment may improve recovery following intense training and competition; this has implications for both elite athletes and recreational populations.
Excerpt - 1.2 Garment Sizing and Applied Pressures
People in the same dimensional range for a particular garment size (eg medium lower-body CG) would be likely to vary in body morphology (eg calf circumference, tibia length). Indeed, the proportional variation in any population is not well addressed with many sizing systems.