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How Compression Gear Helps with Muscle Recovery

Working out is part of the daily routines of athletes of all types. Whether you are running a trail near your house, leaving it all in the weight room, or training for your next Ironman triathlon, you understand the need for post-workout muscle recovery. When you’ve attended sports events, you’ve probably seen athletes wearing compression gear. Maybe you’ve worn some yourself. Compression garments are close-fitting leggings, sleeves, socks, tops, and bottoms that are designed to improve recovery and, ultimately, performance. You may know that compression gear helps with muscle recovery, but have you ever wondered how?

man stretching his legs wearing CW-X compression pants Stabilyx

How long does muscle recovery take?

One of the most important parts of a training regime of any kind is time for muscle recovery. Exercising causes micro tears in muscular fibers, which is why following heavy training sessions, muscles are extremely sore and protest every move you try to make. Athletes that continue to push through will reach a state of muscle exhaustion. Rest, which allows muscles to recover, is as important as getting your reps done. Muscles get larger and stronger as they are able to rest and recover.

Exhausted muscles have reduced capacity. Until they recover, you won’t be able to lift as much or run as fast. Continuing to push through can cause more damage, so after exercise, it’s important to allow muscles to rest. How long does this take? It’s somewhat of an individual thing based on physical fitness and intensity levels, but in most cases, muscles recover between 48 and 72 hours. However, there are several factors that come into play that determine how much time your muscles need to rest between workouts.

Muscle Recovery After Running

Running incorporates the use of the same muscle groups in each session. There are some factors that help determine how long muscles take to recover after a run. Intensity, duration, type of running surface, and topography all influence how difficult it is on the muscles and how long they need to recover. Experience is a huge factor too. Beginning runners need to rest a day or two between runs, whereas an experienced runner may be able to run every day and just reduce the intensity.

Recovery After Weightlifting

The time it takes muscles to recover after lifting weights depends on which muscle groups were used and how often you lift. Generally, if you are working larger muscle groups, such as the thighs, they take longer to recover than smaller muscles. Many times, bodybuilders alternate the focus of their workouts by working one set of muscles one day and letting them rest the next day while focusing on another muscle group. It’s suggested that muscles be allowed to rest for 48 hours in between harder workouts.

Nutritional Habits

Believe it or not, what you eat can significantly affect muscle recovery time. Your muscles need to be fed or fueled. It’s essential to consume plenty of fluids, electrolytes, and carbohydrates if you are doing extended workouts. After a workout, eating high-protein foods and drinking more fluids can help rebuild muscle tissue faster.

Age Matters

Young muscles will recover from a workout much faster than older muscles. If you are past your 30s, you’ll need at least an extra day of rest to allow your muscles to recover.

woman stretching her leg wearing CW-X compression pant

What does compression do to help your muscles?

Compression recovery gear helps increase blood flow throughout the body efficiently. Applying compression keeps blood from pooling in areas of the body. Athletes have different reasons for wearing compression gear during and after exercising. There are four ways it helps with muscle recovery.

graphic icon for Reduces Lactic Acid

Reduces Lactic Acid

While exercising, the blood in the extremities loses nutrients and oxygen. When there isn’t enough oxygen to go around, the body starts making lactate, which is used for energy. But excess lactate can collect in the extremities and lead to sore muscles. The graduated tightness provided by compression clothing helps send the depleted blood back around to the heart so that lactic acid is prevented from building up.

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Regulates Body Temperature

Transitioning between cold and hot temperatures can slow muscle recovery. Exercising in extreme heat causes muscles to cramp, while cold weather can cause them to tighten up and contract. Compression gear helps regulate body temperature so that a healthy working temperature is maintained for the muscles.

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Minimizes Vibrations

Jumping and running send ripples through the muscles. Repeated vibrations actually cause microtrauma. This can lead to soreness and fatigue shortly after working out. Compression apparel holds the muscles tightly into place, provides better shock resistance in the joints, and therefore minimizes the effect of vibrations.

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Reduce Pain and Inflammation

Compression gear can be worn during or after workouts. The even pressure helps relieve muscle fatigue and reduces swelling. They can also help muscle tissue recover faster.

man resting after an outdoor run wearing CW-X compression clothing

Best Compression Clothing for Recovery

Which compression clothing is needed to aid in recovery after workouts? There are numerous choices, but the needs of athletes vary based on numerous factors. Here are some of the essential pieces of compression clothing you need for muscle recovery.

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Compression Recovery Pants and Tights

The fabric used for compression tights helps increase circulation. They can be worn to help reduce swelling during or after exercising. The applied pressure compresses and supports underlying tissue.

graphic icon for CW-X Compression Knee Sleeve

Compression Knee Sleeve

Compression sleeves are designed to help open blood vessels. This pushes more oxygenated blood through the muscles and helps lower the heart rate. Athletes wear compression knee sleeves to improve mobility. They provide support for the kneecap and are beneficial for reducing knee pain. Compression knee sleeves also offer increased stability and balance.

graphic icon for CW-X Compression Recovery Shorts


Compression Recovery Shorts

Compression shorts accelerate venous blood flow, which helps deliver blood back to the heart. The gently applied pressure is exerted on underlying tissue to increase blood flow. Blood is rejuvenated, and oxygenated as it goes from the heart to the muscles which need it during exercise.

woman wearing CW-X compression pant


Recover Faster with Compression Gear

Compression gear is useful for muscle recovery after workouts. But it can also be useful when worn while exercising. Athletes may choose various articles of compression clothing based on their specific area of need. Knee and arm sleeves, compression shorts, tops, and tights help athletes increase circulation, improve muscle efficiency and increase endurance. Are you ready to see a difference in your workouts and recoveries? CW-X leads the way in innovative compression gear with their patented technology. Give your body the support it needs.