T Nation

Recovery Tights


Whats everyones opinion on recovery clothing like brands such as skins and underarmours recharge line? I've talked to a few people who have tried it and said it made a big difference improving recovery and I was thinking about getting a pair of leggings to reduce DOMS after a heavy lower body day. But my question is for 80-$100 what is the difference between the recovery leggings and just wearing a really tight pair of underarmour leggings?


Might want to pick up a pair of tampons while you're at it.


Hahahahaha. Good one.

Seriously though, I have a buddy of mine that works for under armour. He got me one of the "Recharge" shirts for christmas a few years ago. I am not saying it is the x-factor for a speedy recovery but it DEFINITELY helps. There are plenty of old russian textx that talk about using compression to speed recovery by helping to push some of the waste products and inflammatory responses out of the muscle. I don't know if that is actually whats happeneing but if I wear the shirt for 24 hours after a heavy bench day, when I take it off, I notice I don't have a lot of the stiff shitty feeling in my elbows and shoulders and my mobility is still just like I finished doing my warm-up. If you've got the money to spend, just by the whole suit.


Its a gimmick.

Save your money.
For recovery; eat properley, take fish oil, have 2 dedicated stretching sessions a week, and sleep.



Does this count as a compression suit? lol

this may not be "statistically valid" but I once rode a 100 mile bike ride for charity and I had on leg warmers for cycling that were tight to keep the knees warm. After the ride I kept them on for a few hours until we could get set up at our Hotel because it was chilly outside. The next day my knees didn't feel as beat up as usual. I have a buddy who swears by the stuff, although I think half of that is trying to look 'cool' for the chicks because he is an Under Armor whore. haha


I think at this point it's no secret that compression can aid in reducing inflammation, so I don't see why these wouldn't work to some degree. Not too sure what the real difference would be between the "recharge" line and under armor that's a size too small.

I know that some brands come with pockets on the surface that you can slip ice packs into (many D1 football teams use these during summer camp).
Personally, since I'm a broke college student, I would opt for the smaller size under armor and combine with an ice bath if I were really worried about recovery and/or DOMS.


All gayness aside this is very interesting especially coming from you. A friend of mine is doing his honours project on the effects of compression on recovery following training but he just finished his proposal and wont be conduting anything till next year I think.


I have an old thermo top from ten years ago that is to small for me.

I had no idea it was actually more valuable now...

Under Armor you slick bastards!


It's definitely not a gimmick.


Interesting. I have some under armor but I never really found a use for it. Gonna give have to try it out, especially since I have some pretty bad inflammation in my shoulder at the moment.


i started out training in trackies.
then i got some 'coolmax' tights to wear under the trackies.
to help mop up sweat, mostly.
(i'm a chick in case you think that sounds a bit gay)
i liked how they felt fitting on my legs. especially my quads for squat day. something about the coolness of the fabric, mild support, just felt good. think maybe it encouraged me to work them harder.

then i forked out for some 2XU compression leggings. fucking WINNER!! even better than the tights.

i don't see the point of the short armed / legged compression gear. compression singlets - wtf??

i thought one of the main advantages of them was that the compression helped assist bloodflow from the periphery back to the torso. cutting off the arms and legs thus defeats the purpose of compression gear.

after a while i forked out for a pair of skins...

um... when i've had a hard leg session i've been known to wear compression tights under work clothes the next day...

can't bear to sleep in them, though, becuase htey feel cold (though some people love them)


I was thinking, "when would I wear this if not at work", so the short sleeve stuff sounded better to me. I see your point about blood return from the appendages though.

What do you wear over a full body suit? Or do people at your work just know?


Just read a study that compared three different brands (major brands) of recovery clothing and it said no significant difference in the markers of recovery between brands. So, its pretty much a style and fashion option when you are shopping for these things but, they all work.

I was wearing my recharge shirt while training clients yesterday and one of the meatheads at the gym yelled, "Nice shirt, Appollo Ono." I was too busy laughing my ass off to be mad at him.


I was looking for something that compared brands like that. I decided to go ahead and order a cheaper pair off ebay and test them out. If that study was right I hopefully saved myself some money! Have you ever wore it during travel on the way to a meet? When your sitting in a car for 3 or more hours if wearing something like this limited stiffness after the drive thatd be pretty awesome.


I buy a lot of under-armour it's about the only brand of clothing that I actually like. They are awesome for out-door workouts that last for over 1 hour, like for biking or sledge-hammering in the sun, or the cold-gear is epic for outdoor activities like running in the snow, etc.

That being said I have always thought of their "compression recovery" was a gimmick. However I bought a pair of tactical compression cold-gear pants for running this winter (they are fairly tight based on the compression and the fit needed to run without them falling off)

and I have to say that when I put these on with bad delayed onset muscle soreness (I mean really significant doms too) it massively improved the sensation and I seemed to "recover" from the delayed onset sore-ness faster.

I suspect this is largely a subjective feeling and does not actually improve physical recovery times. In the same way that some arthritis patients report improvement of symptoms on placebo, but it doesn't extend to their actual* joint health.

I haven't bought any of their recovery gear yet, but if the tight compression reduces the feeling of doms, than maybe their recovery gear is alright. I wonder if the compression works some-thing like a massage and maybe helps remove neutrophils and macrophages?

I haven't seen any compelling scientific evidence or even a half-coherent explanation for what mechanisms come into play to boost recovery. So I'm skeptical despite personal experiences.


yeah, maybe go try them on one day when you got DOMS and see how you find them.
buy them and return them if you don't like them, even lol.
maybe wear underwear as a common courtesy.

i wear the long tights after leg day. any kind of long pants or even thick tights cover them.
don't need a compression top after leg day lol.

i think they do help promote bloodflow from the periphery to the torso. i find i don't get an upper body pump if i wear upper body compression on upper body days. i get a bit self conscious of upper body pumps sometimes... anyway. not sure other people find this.


Very interesting. Will have to try this gear.


I agree with Alexus that short sleeve compression clothing is a bit silly.

Ive tried Skins the leggings, and also the calves sock things. And I did not find they make any difference. Alot os people who try them say they are great and that it keeps them warm. Errrrr, they are not designed to keep you warm, but are designed for graduated compression, which is why short sleeve tops and shorts make no sense.

Do people think that an article of clothing can impose enough compression on the body to make a difference to muscle physiology. Who are the skins modelled on. Lot of us T-Nation men have bigger legs than normal, so does the compression gradient still apply to our dimensions. I suspect the dimensions are based on mere mortals that can fit into normal jeans aswell.

Scam scam scam.



"In conclusion, according to the literature, compression garments may offer several ergogenic benefits for athletes across a multitude of sporting backgrounds. In particular, some studies have reported that compression garments can improve muscular power, strength, enhance recovery following intense exercise and improve proprioception. However, caution should be taken when choosing the correct compression garment for your sport and ensuring the garment provides enough pressure to promote venous return."

Wallace, L, Slattery, K & Coutts , A. (2008) Sports Coach, 28(4)

References cited in above paper

Berry, MJ, Bailey, SP et al. 1990, ?The effects of elastic tights on the post-exercise response?, Canadian Journal of Sports Science, 15, pp. 244?8.

Berry, MJ and McMurray, RG 1987, ?Effects of graduated compression stockings on blood lactate following an exhaustive bout of exercise?, American Journal of Physical Medicine, 66(3), pp. 121?32.

Chatard, JC, Atlaoui, D. et al. 2004, ?Elastic stockings, performance and leg pain recovery in 63-year-old sportsmen?, European Journal of Applied Physiology, 93(3), pp. 347?52.

Doan, BK, Kwon, YH et al. 2003, ?Evaluation of a lower-body compression garment?, Journal of Sports Science, 21(8), pp. 601?10.
Gandhi, DB, Palmar, JR et al. 1984, ?Clinical comparison of elastic supports for venous diseases of the lower limb?, Postgraduate Medical Journal, 60(703), pp. 349?52.

Kraemer, WJ, Bush, JA et al. 1996, ?Influence of compression garments on vertical jump performance in NCAA division 1 volleyball players?, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 10(3), pp. 108?83.

Kraemer, WJ, Bush, JA et al. 1998, ?Influence of compression garment on repetitive power output production before and after different types of muscle fatigue?, Sports Medicine, Training and Rehabilitation, 8, pp. 163?84.

Kraemer, WJ, Bush, JA et al. 2001, ?Influence of compression therapy on symptoms following soft tissue injury from maximal eccentric exercise?, The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 31(6), pp. 282?90.

Kraemer, WJ, Newton, RU et al. 1997, ?Influence of a compressive on muscle function and soreness after maximal eccentric exercise?, abstract, 1997 NSCA Conference.

Lawrence, D and Kakkar, VV 1980, ?Graduated, static, external compression of the lower limb: a physiological assessment?, The British Journal of Surgery, 67(2), pp. 119?21.

O?Donnell Jr, TF, Rosenthal, DA et al. 1979, ?Effect of elastic compression on venous hemodynamics in postphlebitic limbs?, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 242(25), pp. 2766?8.

Some more research for those wishing to read (ncbi ones are abstracts only)



Isn't being a nerd fucking awesome?

Most of the studies agree that DOMS is greatly reduced or completely eliminated with compression clothing. DOMS is not neciseerily a marker for a decrease in performance but it sure does make it easier to go workout when you don't feel like shit. I would love to see a study about whether or not they help maintain mobility that has been worked on for an extanded period of time. Thats the biggest improvement I have noticed.