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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Compression Clothing

Sportette Founder Sam Squiers roadtests SKINS and is forced to eat her words. Photo: Dale Travers, Full Frame Photography

Sportette Founder Sam Squiers roadtests SKINS and is forced to eat her words. Photo: Dale Travers, Fullframe Photographics

I‘ve always been sceptical about compression wear.

Like the little kid who called out the Emperor’s New Clothes, I just couldn’t understand how a piece of clothing could deliver all these magical, physical promises. How do you say placebo?

Then…I tried some SKINS.

Training for a marathon, I’ve been testing out their latest leggings and compression tops and…well…er…

I’m hooked.

A bigger person can admit when they’re wrong and I’ll admit I’m wrong, because I can definitely say, they’re pretty incredible.

There’s plenty of scientific research using big words, diagrams and drawing conclusions which often require a PhD in both science and linguistics just to understand. But to cut out the jargon, SKINS work by increasing blood flow to the muscles which increases the amount of oxygen (what it needs to repair and rejuvenate) and flushes away the nasty by-products from the muscles (like lactate). The muscles then repair quickly, meaning you feel less aches and pains. That means you want to get out on the road again sooner and conquer another 20km run.

If you’re thinking this is another modern exercise guru fad, think again, medical compression stockings have been used in the treatment of poor venous blood flow for more than 50 years. I know, I too am left thinking, if only I’d known about this 20 years ago, I could have been the first sports compression company and retired by now!

So they’re pretty amazing and I only have to see the difference it has made in my own personal recovery from long runs to know I now have to eat my words.

Saying that, there are a few tricks to the trade in getting the most out of your compression gear and I’ve compiled a few of them here.

1. Wear Post Exercise

Compression wear is fantastic to use while exercising, it supports, has light weight breathable fabric that won’t allow you to overheat and features seams in all the right places that actually flatter not flabber your body. But it’s really after exercise that SKINS come into their own. This is when the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) really kicks in and when the muscles need that increased blood flow which comes from wearing compression clothes.

So even when you’re not exercising, whack on the SKINS, at work, out to lunch, where ever you can get away with wearing them!

Wear your SKINS to work! Yep, that includes behind the Channel 9 Sports Desk.

Wear your SKINS to work! Yep, that includes behind the Channel 9 Sports Desk.

2. While You Were Sleeping

My trainer suggested I do this and I thought him a bit strange until I realised the difference it makes. Sleep is where your body does the majority of its recharging and repairing (ok, during that first coffee in the morning too) so it’s makes sense that this would be the ideal time to wear compression tights. It’s 8 hours (for those lucky enough to get the daily recommended dose) when your muscles can enjoy the benefits of increased oxygen with minimal movement and output. Think of it as an oxygen drip while you’re sleeping. Also, under the covers no one can see what you’re wearing, so during the day if it’s a bit awkward to wear SKINS to that event you are invited to, wear them the night before in the safety of your bedroom. Whack them on and feel the difference.

3. Fitting and Fabulous!

The fit is really important with SKINS, you need them to be tight in order to achieve the benefits of compression but not too tight that you can hardly walk or breathe. There are size guides on every label, so measure up before hand and see what works. Try it on as well wherever possible to make sure you’re happy with the fit. Remember though, it must be tight but not uncomfortable, it should be snug but if there is a lot of bunching behind the knees, try a smaller size.

4. It’s How You Wear It

When you go to put long socks on or normal stockings, we’ve all been taught to scrunch up the clothing making it easier to slip your leg through. NOT WITH SKINS. Make your skins last longer and not stretch by avoiding scrunching it up, instead lay it out and slip your leg through.

Make sure as well that you have all the seams lined up in the right places, the seams aren’t there for fashion, they’re there for a reason, to make sure the right areas have appropriate compression.

 5. Wash Carefully

Your SKINS won’t work affectively if they’re stretched and careful washing habits can make sure they’re protected in the machine. Try washing them in a bag, that way the legs won’t get stretched and twisted around those oversized jeans while on the spin cycle.

Never tumble dry, just lay flat when drying on the line.

Use light detergent where possible.

6. Take Your SKINS to New Limits!

We covered this a bit in number 2 but these babies aren’t just beneficial for exercise, they help with swelling on long flights, can be great while pregnant in, again, reducing swelling of joints and we mentioned before the fact the medical profession has used them for half a decade for poor venomous blood flow and are effective for all kind of conditions.

Photo: Fullframe Photographics

Photo: Fullframe Photographics

7. When Compressions Becomes Obsession.

Now I know you love your SKINS but SKINS on SKINS on SKINS is not cool. It’s like double denim but not in a cool hipster way, I’ll allow SKINS top mixing with SKINS bottom, especially when a singlet top or crop top. But SKINS leggings on top of SKINS socks with SKINS tops on top of SKINS arm warmers is just taking it to the extreme.
You don’t need that much compression! You’re not a defibrillator, just tone it down a bit mate. Yes we’re all impressed, no need to be obsessed.

8. Compression Clothing not Miracle Makers

I know I have gone on quite a bit about how amazing these are and I’ll admit we’re all looking for that magic solution. But SKINS cannot solve your fitness and flab woes just by wearing them. They will not make you run like Usain Bolt, look like Sally Pearson and repair that torn hamstring on their own. Don’t be a jerk, if you want to go further, faster and be stronger, workout, train and eat properly. They’re great but there’s no gain without pain. Oh and go see a doctor about the hammy.


You can check out the great SKINS range here

You can follow Sam Squiers on Twitter @SamSquiers and Instagram @SamSquiers


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