21st Mar2012

Can Your Clothing Increase Military Fitness

by A.J.
Compression top for military fitness

Can Clothing Really Increase Performance?

Compression Clothes To Increase Military Fitness

As tactical athletes we definitely put the time in at the gym, for the most part we keep an eye on nutrition, we could do more with our supplements, but we wear clothes made by the lowest bidder. I get pretty upset when I go to a fitness convention or professional sports team for work and notice that as a group we tend to be like 5 years behind the power curve. I think compression tops and compression bottoms are an area that we will see much more in the future, but until then it is up to us to educate ourselves.

Fact or Fad?

The benefit you will notice first when you wear a compression top or shorts is they have a tendency to keep the muscles warm in cool environments and cool in warm environments. The garments achieve this by wicking away moisture and providing a convection effect that decreases the time it takes for muscles to warm up.Doen et al. found a scientifically significant improvement in not only athletic performance but also injury resistance when the athletes utilized compression wear on the lower body and specifically increasing extension and flexion torque in exercise.

Aside from the increase in power during exercise Kraemer et al. found a significant decrease in perceived soreness as well as increased recovery in athletes who utilized compression therapy to decrease tissue damage brought on by exertion. compression tops and bottoms have been attributed with increased removal of lactic acid during exercise because of increased blood flow and that should also significantly improve performance.

 How does this benefit a Tactical Athlete?

Military Fitness and CompressionI have compiled a listing of researched attributes of compression clothing and have decided to include them as they relate to the tactical athlete.

  • Enhanced Blood Circulation to peripheral limbs to delay fatigue
  • Reduced Blood lactate so the athlete can exert maximally for longer
  • Enhanced warm up to increase training time for increased fitness gain
  • Increased vertical height
  • Increased repetitive jump power
  • Reduced muscular oscillation which can help protect athlete from injury and focus power output
  • Reducing muscle soreness so you can train more often
  • enhanced recover so that you get the most from you training sessions

How You Should Use Compression Wear

Typically there are specific compression garments that are designed for a particular sport so they can provide the correct application of compression to specific body parts as it relates to your sport. Unfortunately there is no manufacturer that has specifically looked at applying the use of this technology to the Tactical Athlete  so I have done some research and come up with my top choices which I will include later. Compression undergarments should only be used during training due to the fact that there is no provider of flame resistant compression garments and the risk by far outweighs the benefit in combat. Be sure to get the right size garment so it is not overly constraining or overly loose (which defeats the purpose). Do not attempt to wear compression garments on hot days, under ACU, BDU, or Cami uniforms for long periods of high exertion. Ideally 90 minutes in a moderate environment is best, you can wear these on hot days with high exertion but remain vigilant about hydration status and temperature status. Some clothing provides a better package for training and others will give better results for recovery.

My Picks

Note: Below are my suggestions if you are interested in buying some compression garments, of course there is absolutely no obligation I just want to provide a service I wish someone had given to me 10 years ago. These are affiliate links and if you purchase something a portion of the proceeds go to great charities like the wounded warrior foundation and the green beret foundation but, at absolutely no extra cost to you. I appreciate you checking these out and supporting TacticalAthleticPerformance.com.

Pictured at the top and below is the AIM compression top available in both long and short sleeve. This top is designed for the MMA multisport athlete and it most closely meets the criteria required to push the military athletes performance to the next level.

AIM Short Sleeve Compression Top AIM Short Sleeve Compression TopAIM Short Sleeve Compression Top

which are a thin compression short that provides a lighter compression in a more comfortable package. The third compression garment I have found to be an absolute revolution in sportswear technology is the Men’s Juggler Knickers:

Men's Juggler Knickers Men’s Juggler KnickersMen’s Juggler Knickers

These high performance shorts provide great compression ability combined with pockets that are used to place ice over muscles, after training to increase the recovery effect with ice therapy that has been proven to provide a huge advantage over no treatment or even contrast bath therapy to speed recovery and improve performance. The Juggler knickers also provide knee support which can dramatically decrease damage and injury. I like these so much I am going to give away a set to one person who subscribes to the blog (one the right side) and gives me the most compelling story about how they would use them and how owning these Compression Knickers would help improve their training performance in the comment section ( 50 comments to the drawing). Thank you guys for supporting us and I hope this article has provided you all some value.

6 Responses to “Can Your Clothing Increase Military Fitness”

  • ASH

    How much does climate make a difference with this? Will this type of gear improve heat retention and improve mobility in cold weather for example? Wondering if it is a big factor to consider?

    • Generally if training outdoors there should be a significant increase in heat retention on cooler days. On hot days outdoors the material should wick the water and increase the surface area for better moisture evaporation and cooling. Personally out in colorado in the winter I don’t train outdoors unless I am wearing a compression layer because it dramatically helps the warmup and retention.

  • Mike

    What do you think of underarmour?

    • I like to use underarmour as a rash guard under my Gi for MMA and its light weight material is great for hotter days, one thing I don’t like is they don’t seem to last very long and it doesn’t all have 4 way stretch like the transformer or the juggler pants so it cant provide the same movement improvements.

  • Justin HIll

    These knickers might just be what i’ve been looking for. As a firefighter I always try to train hard, but i’ve found that on the job, lots of stepping up, and down, plus carrying heavy loads up and down stairs, my knees have taken a beating, Althought most of the time I work thru the pain sometimes it keeps me out. I’ve been on the lookout for something that may provide support in the knee as well as the rest of my lower body, whilout going to a full brace. Thanks for the info, and thanks for your service to our country!

    Proud Vet
    Proud American,
    Proud Firefighter
    Woodlands, texas

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