Compression clothing doesn’t speed recovery

Bench-press shirts help increase our lifts and take our strength to the next level. And post-surgical compression is thought to help speed recovery. So what if we combined using compression with clothing to heal – and thus grow – muscle? This thought spawned the compression shirts you see on the market that promise faster recovery. But do they actually help you heal faster?

Researchers had eleven people each do two workouts, separated by seven days. One group was given lower-body compression garments to wear during the recovery period, and the other group was not given these garments. The researchers found that although the subjects given the compression garments reported lower levels of perceived muscle soreness, the actual effects on performance and recovery were minimal.


Just because something sounds like a good idea in theory doesn’t mean that it actually works. There really are people out there marketing these products and promising that you’ll grow muscle from their use. Don’t believe it. While bench-press shirts really do work and compression on wounds really does help recovery, this study suggests that compression shirts or pants have little or no effect on muscle recovery.


Duffield R, Cannon J, King M. The effects of compression garments on recovery of muscle performance following high-intensity sprint and plyometric exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Jan;13(1):136-40. Epub 2009 Jan 7.

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