How Compression Pants Work And Why They Are So Popular

Lots of people wear compression gear when they run or workout at the gym, but are they actually doing anything beneficial for you? We spoke with an expert on body movement, Dr. Reed Ferber, director of the Running Injury Clinic, to find out what these articles of clothing are supposed to do. Following is a transcript of the video.

Dr. Reed Ferber: I think compression clothing is so popular, because it’s just driven by media.

Runners are looking for the next best thing always. And this just seems to be the flavor of the month that’s been hanging around for a couple years.

My name is Dr. Reed Ferber. I hold a PhD in biomechanics, which is the physics of human movement.

Compression gear is any article of clothing, whether it be shirt, pants. Socks are the most common form of compression clothing. Where it constricts the body. 

It’s trying to either clear blood more quickly from areas, or it’s trying to prevent injury in the first place, by not allowing the body to move in specific ways.

So we’ll talk specifically about compression stockings or compression socks.

So generally, you rely on what’s called your musculovenous pump. You rely on muscles contracting, and that’s what’s going to move the blood up from your lower legs into your heart.

The faster, and the more blood you can get out of your legs and back into the general circulation, that blood’s going to get scrubbed. 

It’s gonna have all the metabolic byproducts of injury and exercise cleaned out of it.

Your body jiggles.

There’s a certain amount of vibration that occurs. Your muscles need to tune to whatever environment you’re running on. If you’re running on something soft, like the grass, there may not be as much jiggle. 

If you’re running on the hard pavement, your muscles have to work a little harder, because that’s gonna be a bigger shockwave traveling up your system.

So the more your muscles have to tune, the more prone they are to injury, the more byproducts, like lactic acid, your body’s going to produce.

So compression socks act to minimize the jiggle, and thereby decrease those metabolic byproducts of injury.

Compression clothing isn’t really going to help with more static exercises like lifting weights. They’re more designed for dynamic activity such as running.

There’s no real science behind the physiological effects of compression clothing. There’s been a few dozen studies. They’re very small in size. meaning they’re only involving a few dozen participants. And the results are mixed.  

So for every one study that says there are benefits to compression clothing, there’s another study that says there’s no benefits. And there’s another study saying that it might actually be harmful to you.

So it’s all across the board whether or not compression clothing is actually beneficial.

So the psychological benefits are there. People feel better wearing compression clothing. But the science doesn’t support the fact that there’s a physiological effect. 

So if somebody’s wearing them in the gym to lift weights, for example, they might just feel that it helps them to perform. To lift that heavy weight or perform whatever goal they have for the day. It may just be that little extra that they need to help recover from their injury or prevent injuries as well. 

Have I used compression socks?

Yes. More for the fact that I wanted to get a feeling for what they were all about. They don’t necessarily work for me.

They actually cause a little bit of muscle cramping. 

I’ve tried various sizes, various styles. But for me personally, anecdotally, I just don’t like running in compression gear at all.

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Comments

BluRey BluRey says:

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G Al says:

Does science know that compression clothing is just fucking comfortable to wear and not baggy and loose.

Sam Doo says:

Compression pants do help me with my vericous veins pain. I could walk for a longer length without feeling pain.

James C says:

Fake news

Javier Tan says:

Truly a professor, he talks fast

Hybrid Logan says:

There obviously not that popular if I’ve never heard of them. No hate intended

kestrel archer says:

Someone should tell him that bowtie goes out of style in the 40s… about the substance of what he said??? I agree… you want to remove lactic acid quickly? warm down after exercise (massage and stretching)… Want to lessen the impact during running? run on running track.. compression attire doesn’t work

ThexBorg says:

Compression socks for skiing work fantastically.
Compression thermal underwear also work really well in cold and snow environments.
Thermal compression mesh base layer works fantastically in hyperthermic environments.
Those thermal benefits appear to have been an oversight.

Lewis says:

I feel horrible wearing compression shirts it takes all my energy away and makes me feel sick really decreases my performance

Cmdr Benkai says:

So the scientific body of testing evidence is not sufficient to know to any level of certainty the potential benefit/non benefit or harm currently in a conclusive way? This would then require a more robust larger scientific study to determine what benefits/harm, if any is obtained. Until then all that can be said is we don’t know. But look good feel good is proven so get your Tech Insider Branded Compression Fitness Gear soon…

Blake Slocum says:

The only reason I would get compression clothing is so that my dang phone would stop jumping out of my pocket when I go for runs… Oh please help me haha

Felix L Ricardo says:

He over looked…those who were super obesr have lost alot of weight, or have done liposuction/lap-band, etc..have loose skin.

mindless Magyar says:

XD dudes wearing leggings

Nathan Lodge says:

I agree with him, I feel like my muscles get cramped because they are; well… Compressed…

Kierr Mendoza says:

It does work. My everforward compression pants adds like 20 lbs to my squat

ReEeEeEe says:

track athlete use compression outfit for aerodynamics

GoodISnipr says:

Any amount of work is performed with a certain percentage of mental effort.
The body can do more while the brain feels good verses when the brain isn’t able to concentrate on the task.
Sometimes a person becomes self aware when wearing certain clothing. Thus, they’re not able to concentrate on performing a specific task and they fail, thus making a case for a detrimental report.
Sometimes a person feels calm, free, uninhibited, relaxed, not caring, or otherwise unrestricted and their mind can concentrate on what they should be doing and therefore the report for their performance is justification for their wardrobe decisions.

T Timeler says:

Ah “jiggle”, a well known scientific term xD jk…great video 🙂

BluRey BluRey says:

ƧѲ ƬĦƖƧ ǤƲƳ ĦΔƧ ИЄѴЄЯ ĦЄΔЯƉ ѲҒ βΔ˩˩ЄƬ ƉΔИƆЄЯƧ ѲЯ ѦЄƉƖЄѴΔ˩ ѦЄИ ƜĦѲ Δ˩ƧѲ ƜѲЯЄ “ƆѲѦƤЯЄƧƧƖѲИ” ˩ЄǤǤƖИƧ. ƬĦЄ ѲИ˩Ƴ ѲИЄ ƖИ ƬĦЄ ƜѲЯ˩Ɖ ƬĦΔƬ ƉƖƉ ИѲƬ ƘИѲƜ ƬĦΔƬ ƧЄЄѦƧ ƬѲ βЄ ƬĦƖƧ Δ˩˩ЄǤЄƉ “ƉЯ.”

wow mazin says:

Lactic acid isn’t a metabolic byproduct, Lactate is.

becky abhraham says:

Some people wear them to prevent chafing of thighs

slorr55 says:

Hah gaaayy!

Dominique Lawson says:

As someone that has done jiu jitsu i will tell u that they work u are sore so many days an this helps put pressure on sore muscles it does help

bengalibadass says:

Better wear No-Clothing during exercise

TheRealNoodles says:

I use it when i play basketball or run. No muscle pain the next day. Really great for removing lactic acid.

WorldChampInfinity says:

I had a calf strain and when I wore my compression socks it made it to where I could move around way better. This guy seems to be biased towards not liking them because he’s never had an injury the compression could help. If you have had a calf injury, I would recommend them. Also, I haven’t reinjured my calf since I wear them every time I do cardio.

Ou8y2k2 says:

yoga pants part deux?

IDK says:

i thought they were leggings

Gorro Kasali says:

Never trust a guy with a how tie.

GeneraL_LOL says:

2 tight 4 me

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