Can Compression Clothing Enhance Your Workout?

Exercise physiologist Neal Pire weighs in on the effectiveness of compression clothing

Can Compression Clothing Enhance Your Workout?
Buck Studio/Corbis

Q. Can compression gear improve my workout performance? — Leslie Hwang, New York, NY

It depends on what you are doing. "There’s some evidence that compression wear can reduce muscle vibration during high-impact or power-driven activities such as jumping or sprinting, with small improvements in vertical jump performance," notes Neal Pire, an exercise physiologist at HNH Fitness in Oradell, NJ. It may also improve recovery, since the garments theoretically help increase blood flow return, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Some studies have found reduced muscle swelling and pain and an increase in blood lactate removal. "Some athletes swear by compression wear—and if you believe it helps, you may indeed perform better!" Pire says.

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