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Calf Compression Sleeves: Real benefits, or hype?

Friday, November 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Last night, wearing my new Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves for the first time.

Last night, wearing my new Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves for the first time.

A couple of local roadies I know (and whose opinions I respect) told me that calf compression sleeves do wonders for speeding up recovery time after a hard ride. I did a little research on compression sleeves, and some people (mainly cyclists and runners) really swear by them. I decided to put aside my natural aversion to looking like a extra in Flashdance (thanks for pointing that out, by the way, Mike–I now have What a Feeling! stuck in my head and I hate you) and ordered a pair.

I settled on the Zensah Compression Sleeves which, based on my research, are very well-regarded. One thing that I learned while reading about these sleeves is that it’s best to order a size down, as they tend to stretch out after a few uses. I have pretty big calves, but I decided to order the Small/Medium size. I’m glad that I did: the Small/Medium is tight around my muscles, but not uncomfortably so. As you can see in the picture, the length is perfect (I’m 6′ tall).

I wore the compression sleeves overnight, and I found them extremely comfortable. In fact, I found the tightness and warmth around my calf muscles very satisfying.

I don’t know if these things will speed up the post-ride recovery process, but even if they don’t I will probably wear them anyway simply because they feel good on my tired muscles.

A fairly interesting discussion was sparked on Facebook last night when I posted the above picture, and quite a few people reported that they find benefit in compression sleeves. If you’ve used calf compression sleeves, I’d love to know what you think of them. Feel free to add your thoughts and comments below!

John Stone Fitness Comments

3 Responses to “Calf Compression Sleeves: Real benefits, or hype?”
  1. Working in a rehab setting, I can tell you that patients post-surgery use compression stockings for this exact purpose: to reduce swelling caused by inflammation. Theoretically this should help clear out some of the inflammation caused by microtrauma during exercise, so I’m not surprised that they have a big following among cyclists and runners. I’m curious, do they also come in styles that extend down to the feet? And is the compression graded? This is what we typically use in rehab.

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    • I learned today from a friend’s comment on Facebook that they do indeed make calf compression garments that extend all the way down onto the feet. In fact, the person who told me that also mentioned that he wears full-leg compression tights (not just calf) that also cover his feet. The guy who told me that is a local rider who is an absolute monster cyclist, so his opinion holds a lot of weight with me.

      Yep, the compression is graded: the most compression is at the ankles, and it decreases gradually further up the calf.

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