Recovery in Sport: Testing 2XU compression leggings

On the weekend, I tested the 2XU recovery leggings after my first 90 minutes of football. My legs were painful around the knees and lateral quadriceps, on my left side more than my right, after the match. I ate, showered and then put on the compression leggings.

Instantly my legs felt more comfortable. I am not sure why? I can imagine the compression of the leggings support the soft tissues and, therefore, could reduce tension on nociceptors (pain nerve endings) in the myofacial system. The effect of compression on swelling would most likely have effects after a period of time wearing the leggings. The sizing chart on the 2XU website, achieved the perfect fit for my body.

I wore the leggings all day and that night. The next day (lunchtime) I took them off. The legs remained less painful. Even though there was some heaviness still in the legs, I felt they were beneficial to wear.

I compare the feeling I have in my legs the next day, when I play football, and I would normally wake up sore, stiff and very heavy in the legs. I will now test if the morning after effect of the leggings is consistent.

Three days after playing football I did interval training in the gym. The legs were tired and heavy, but I see this as a normal adaption to training. Despite the Physiological effects of the leggings, I know I felt significantly more comfortable with them on after playing football.

I am about to test the 2XU MCS performance leggings in training. If they are as comfortable as the recovery leggings I will be very excited….

I decided to use the 2XU MCS performance leggings in my interval training session in the gym this week.

The leggings had spiral shaped patterns in the material in approximate alignment with muscle groups of the legs. They did feel tighter to wear compared to the recovery leggings. I instantly liked wearing them for comfort.

I jogged to the gym and my legs felt light and ready for action. I did a 10minute run for a warm up and then a circuit of different anaerobic movements. The leggings did not impede my motion and were cool to wear.

I did not feel any pain in my legs during the workout. This was 3 days after my football match. I took the leggings off after the interval training session. In the morning my legs felt slightly heavy from the workout. I wonder what would have happened had I worn the recovery leggings (I will do this next time).

I will test the leggings in a football training session. I want to know if the muscle pain I got in my first 90 minute match will be less or abolished.

Recovery in Sport: From Compression clothing to ice baths

Recovery is the 4th discipline in Triathlon, and it is the secret to building muscle mass. Knowledge about Recovery is growing in amateur sport. There is readily available information in Endurance Sport magazines and websites.

I am changing my Sport participation from Ironman training to playing Football, Tennis and Cycling all in a weekend. These sports are explosive, and power based, rather than pure endurance training.

I know my body will go through a period of readjustment to these sports. Avoiding injury will be important. My goal is to use my knowledge and experience of recovery to enable me to compete in three sports over one weekend, on a regular basis. I want to have enough energy to play each sport, but also get stronger and prevent injury.

Recovery is a key to this plan. I want to recover faster, be stronger and perform at my best. I want to avoid cramp and muscle injuries.

I have divided Recovery in areas; 1. Compression clothing 2. Rehydration 3. Recovery nutrition 4. Ice baths 5. Cool Down

  1. Compression Clothing

My interest in Recovery has started with Compression clothing. I used these in Ironman training and found them very beneficial. I wore them overnight and when I woke up in the morning my legs felt “fresher” and less painful.

I did an online search of compression clothing. There is a large range of brands to consider. I decided to look at the original compression garment Skins and, a brand I used in Ironman, 2XU. Website reviews of compression garments showed these two brands rated highly.


Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus |
Best Compression Gear Review – Triathlon Plus | TriRadar…

We test some of the best compression gear on the market in our best compression gear review – 25/10/2012

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Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear
Product Review: 2XU Compression Gear

The world of compression gear has become filled with numerous brands, but 2XU stands out as a quality brand that actually makes a difference in performance and re…

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2XU Compression Tights review |

2XU Compression Tights review | – the website for pedal powered people. Road cycling news, Bike reviews, Commuting, Leisure riding, Sportives and more

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2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar
2XU Elite compression tights review – BikeRadar

There’s a common edict in cycling: don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lie down, and if you lie down put your legs up

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The 2XU brand of compression leggings had been researched by the Australian Institute of Sport.

I decided to test 2XU. 2XU had several models to choose from; performance (MCS), recovery and hybrid models. Each model differed by the compression quality of the material each used. The performance leggings were designed to reduce muscle vibration and damage.

I decided to test the performance and recovery leggings.

  1. Rehydration

The body requires electrolytes for normal body function. Read below for facts on recovery by Australian Institute of Sport on Nutrition

The key electrolyte is Sodium

Other important electrolytes are Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

When we sweat we lose these electrolytes in our body. Sweat cools our body down. When we lose Sodium we retain less water and lose our feeling of thirst. Hence, dehydration is a serious problem. Drinking water is not enough.

It appears that some electrolyte products do not contain enough Sodium. Coconut water is currently trending as a natural electrolyte replacement. However, It appears commercially sold coconut water is too low in Sodium to be used as an electrolyte replacement drink.

I searched online for the best electrolyte replacement drink for my needs. I came across Nuun (pronounced Noon). Nuun has excellent concentrations of Sodium, K, Mg, and Ca. It also contained Sodium Bicarbonate. Sodium Bicarbonate can, apparently, neutralise some of the effects of Lactic acid. It is low calorie and contains only electrolytes (allowing me to choose my own source of carbohydrate). There are no artificial additives and has natural flavouring.

Another electrolyte product I discovered in my local bike shop (Wild Bikes) was OTE (original owners of SIS nutritional products). OTE also has no artificial flavours and is low in calories, but does not have the Sodium Bicarbonate content, when compared to Nuun.

  1. Recovery Nutrition

Interms of recovery drink I have used SIS recovery drink in the past. Current versions have 50% more protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes. I compared this product to Sun Warrior protein powder (Vegan). Sun Warrior has significant amounts of protein and very small amounts of carbohydrates. I can see this as a great source of protein I could use after gym training, but not a recovery drink.

My nutritional needs in recovery are 75-105g carbohydrate 15-25g protein

I can see SIS repid recovery drink does not have enough protein. I will therefore look to supplement this drink with a carbohydrate bar/ shot and eat wholefoods at a later date.

4. Ice Baths

There seems to be a debate about the benefits of ice baths. I have seen ice baths used at Wimbledon, professional football and in the Tour De France

There was an interesting article in cyclenews – “cold baths key to Etixx-QuickStep’s Tour de France success”

The bath temperature used by cyclists was 10-12 degrees. They could sit comfortably in them and even fell asleep. Other benefits listed included pain relief, improved lymphatic drainage and cooling of the body.

Andy Murray (professional tennis player) described his routine after his Wimbledon matches. He rehydrated, ate whole foods, got a massage and then had an ice bath.

  1. Cool down

The other elements of recovery would be active recovery (cooling down with exercise), and stretching. I do light general stretches post match and do more serious stretching 2-3 days after performance. Ballistic stretches before a match is best. I cool down with gradual reduction in activity in the sport I am playing. I could do a light run or cycle.

GIFT: week 36 Measurement of the foot, Rhomboids, Improving breathing, Pelvic translation and rotation, assessing and treating the shoulder  

This week we looked at measurement of the foot. If we want to be objective we can assess the angulation, verticality and horizontal measurements of various joints to assess the motion at the foot e.g. measuring the knee position with a single knee bend. The GIFT institute using a 3D testing system but it is no longer on sale. Making your own and using goniometers etc will be required.

The Rhomboids are a muscle we don’ t often think about as we cannot separate its function from other scapulothoracic and humeral muscles. We want to know what will load these muscles and we can consider translations and rotations e.g. lateral and inferior translation and rotations of superior, internal rotation will lengthen them. It is ideal to look at the TZ and see what ecconcentric activity is happening with the Rhomboids.

Here are some secret strategies when improving breathing……….

  1. Load with breathing in to explode or exhale
  2. Improve mostablity of the Thoracic Spine, rib cage, pelvis, hips and rest of CRB
  3. Do the CRB allow normal relative motion between the Thorax and pelvis. Can the rib cage and diaphragm move normally with the Thoracic spine insync when inhaling and out of sync when inhaling
  4. Look at bottom up and top down strategies
  5. Assess ecconcentric and integrated isolation techniques

Gary highlighted pelvic translation and rotation this week. It is important to remember that roation and translation will occur on different planes. I can use these in rehabilitation strategies with FMR.

The shoulder can be a difficult joint to assess. DT discussed important assessment strategies. Here is my summary…..

  1. Remember to look at full body motion with assessment and you can get the shoulder to move in one plane or more than one plane
  2. To assess the influence of the legs on the shoulder you can use a sinle leg stand and toe touch. This will also look at mostability
  3. Use your hands on the body to feel Scapulothoracic and scapulohumeral motion. Use FMR to influence this motion
  4. You can assess humerus on scapula and scapula on thorax motion if you place the hand on a wall and move the pelvis or thorax. This is, in theory, proximal acceleration. If this is easier for the client to perform, compared to open chain hand motion, then this could indicate GHJ instability
  5. If there is winging and, when I hold it down with my hand, the winging stops, this could inidicate a weakness issue. If the winging persists, this could indicate GHJ stiffness
  6. Assess good arm before bad arm
  7. You can take the feet out by kneeling and hips out by sitting
  8. Add load and reps to see more dysfunction

DT highlighted that impingement is often a result of poor CRB. In other words increased GHJ excursion due to poor load to explode of friends of motion. Quick tips to treating impingement are…

  1. Correct the feet, hips and Thoracic Spine. Preposition these joints out of restriction to get quick successful shoulder motion. Then use FMR to get the restricted motion back in these areas.
  2. First goal is to get some painfree motion rather than increase in motion, therefore, reduce gravity by placing hand on the wall or moving the shoulder in supine.
  3. When fixing the hand on a wall there can still be pain as the scapula is not moving correctly and allowing impingement. you can use FMR to help control normal CRB at the scapulo-thoracic and scapulo- humeral joints. If the GHJ is stiff then you can move the scapula with the trunk and pelvis and slow down the humeral motion
  4. Look for successful strategy first and then build on that success
  5. Use Load to explode to regain motion. If I want to increase external rotation I could load into internal rotation first and then as speed increases explode into external rotation. Remember be subtle.
  6. Work above or below 90degrees of shoulder flexion to reduce the effects of gravity

Finally being able to measure knee motion using the 3D analysis tenchnique and using a tape measure to measure chest Ap and lateral will enable clear objective indication of changes post treatment.

GIFT: Week 35 breathing, looked at lateral epicondylitis, motions of the lumbar spine and the Pecs

Breathing is an integral motion of the body, which can be influenced by stress. When we are stressed we have an increase in our rate of breathing (normal 10-12 breaths per minute) and CO2 production. The pH levels in our bodies will lower because there is more Co2 in the bloodstream. As a consequence our mediastinum pressure increases.

There are three chambers we want to balance when our breathing patterns are correct. These are the cranium, mediastinum, and abdominal. If we lose pressure in these our exoskeleton (muscle and bone) would collapse. We want to have appropriate pressure in each chamber. Too much or too little in one or more chambers will influence the body negatively.

There are three bones related to each of these chambers; the Sphenoid, Sternum and Sacrum. Each bone must be balanced in all three planes.

It was interesting to learn mouth breathing alters the length tension relationships around the neck and will create more upper chest breathing. Nose breathing is best.

The movement of the rib cage and the position of the scapula, with associated muscle attachments, will influence the body’s ability to breathe. There will be other friends of rib cage motion and we want to be sure they are all supporting good breathing patterns.

Epicondylitis of the elbow is a common injury in raquet sports, golf and repetitive overload. In the Thrower there can be a restriction through the Chain Reaction Biomechanics which leads to an overload of the elbow structures. If the medial ligament is repetitively injured, this could lead to an increase in laxity of the joint and early joint damage. A key to treating Epcondylitis is to look at the offending Transformational Zone and determine what drivers you can use to create successful Chain Reaction Biomechanics.

The Lumbar Spine will be influenced by motion of joints above and below. When there are areas of the body not contributing to normal Chain Reaction Biomechanics there is an overload to the Lumbar Spine and pain. When we just treat the Lumbar Spine we are missing a huge piece of the puzzle, to prevent long-term pain and fast recovery.

The Pectorals are a powerful muscle group which can be loaded in three planes of motion to function optimally. They can be loaded with extension, flexion, horizontal abduction, and external rotation. They will explode in the opposite direction. Remember the effect of proximal acceleration in increasing this loading mechanism. The Pecs will need it’s friends the feet, hips, thoracic spine, rib cage , scapula and neck working to fully load it.

GIFT: week 34 Serratus Anterior, Breathing, the Throwers Elbow and Assessment strategies

This is an excellent week covering a variety of subjects from the loading phase of the Serratus Anterior to Respiratory function to assessing the Thoracic Spine.

To understand how to load the Serratus Anterior you must know the 3D function of the scapula, and what the SA will do to the scapula. To load the SA you then place the scapula in the position to lengthen the SA, and use the Thoracic Spine and Pelvis as Drivers to create the load. Sounds complex but the beauty of this strategy is it is backed by sound principles of biomechanics and muscle function. It is knowing the Chain Reaction Biomechanics of the body.

In throwing, the elbow can be overloaded in a valgus stress and injure soft tissues, bone and/ or neural tissue. What are the probable suspects of this type of injury. Consider the same side overpronation, reduced 3D motion in the same side hip and Thoracic Spine, and reduced proximal deceleration. Again, the Chain Reaction Biomechanics are key knowing what would increase the valgus extension stress to the elbow.

Breathing is more complex than we realize. Transdiaphragmatic breathing is understanding that the pressure of the diaphragm on the right will compress the liver, send transverse pressure across the viscera, and create and upwards force on the ribcage, thus assisting in expansion of the left lung. The right diaphragm is larger due to the size of the Liver. The Diaphragm is influenced by the fascial trains of the body, along with the position of the spine. Remember there is an appropriate amount of Diaphragmatic motion for each person. We want to avoid over or under inflating the lungs.

In training we can isolate the load on specific muscles by prepositioning joints to shorten or lengthen their friends. This is also called Integrated Isolation. This is a great strategy for training a muscle for sport specific function. Overload it to create a buffer of muscle function i.e the muscle can take extreme muscle loading.

Other topics covered this week included Mostability and taking away support in a subtle manner. Assessing the motion of the Thoracic Spine and Skun (Skip and run). These topics consolidated our knowledge, by drawing together several concepts into a full assessment strategy.

The weeks get better and better as we head towards GG3.

GIFT: week 33 Impingement of the hip, Quadratus Lumborum, breathing, nutrition, basketball and cricket

This week we were given fantastic techniques to help with Femoral Acetabular Impingement and how to moblise the hip joint. The techniques were based on the principles of rotation and translation of the hip joint. If the femur does not move smoothly under the pelvis and the pelvis does not move smoothly over the femur, in particular, in the planes of internal rotation, flexion and adduction, there is an increase risk of impingement. The techniques used bands to slow down motion of the distal segment to increase joint range of motion.

We also looked at the Quadratus Lumborum or the back abdominals. This muscle is enveloped by the thoracoumbar fascia and runs in an anterior to posterior direction, from the 12rib and T-processes of the lumbar spine to the iliac crest. This muscle is lengthened and shorted at the same time, with movement in different planes. This again is an example of econcentric contractions.

Breathing and nutrition has been introduced this week. The body is very asymmetrical but in the end balances itself out e.g. the liver under the right lung makes the diaphragm bigger on this side. The left side of the chest cavity has the heart. There are two lobes on the left lung and three on the right. We will look at how these asymmetries will influence breathing later in the series.

Nutrition is highly contentious and there is not one way which is right for everyone. There is a book called the Diabetes Diet and introduces the concept of controlled carbohydrate diets. It appears carbohydrates need to be controlled if we want to keep blood sugars level and maintain or lose weight. Interesting theories to test.

There were webcasts on basketball matrices and cricket biomechanics. It is getting interesting with a variety of sports now being discussed.

Another great week of information

GIFT: week 32 Hip, Running, Shoulder, FMR and Econcentrics

This week had a significant amount of new information mixed with relearning past information. The focus was on the Latissimus Dorsi accompanying webcasts on the hip, running, shoulder, FMR and econcentrics.

The Latissimus Dorsi is attached to the pelvis, trunk, scapula and humerus. The motion influencing all these areas has been termed peltrunkularus. Multiple attachments allows the Lat. to work econcentrically in the load and explode phases of motion. We assessed how foot, knee, pelvis and hand drivers can move or preposition the Lat to work econcetrically and where this was felt in the body. Remember the stretch can be felt in different places for everyone.

We were shown how to increase motion in the hip using SFT prepositions and functional motion with SFT. The assessment becomes the treatment so focusing on the Transformational Zone helps direct these strategies. Sometimes we need to move away from authentic motion to allow us to get muscle activation or motion at a joint before going authentic. Remember, proprioceptors need authentic motion for correct function.

This week we were shown running, runuffle and runeoka. These are forms or running we can use to assess in all three planes of motion. They can show up faults in the Chain reaction biomechanics. The runeoka is quite a challenge.

Secondary shoulder instability can come about because of hypomoblity in other parts of the chain reaction or a lack or mostability creating hypomobility. Remember to test mostability of joints in the chain reaction. If there is normal joint ROM but poor mostability in parts of the chain, this can create shoulder instability.

The FMR technique we learnt this week, allowed us to increase motion at a desired joint, whilst restricting motion at another. If the body has a habitual way of moving, we sometimes need to control the hypermobile segment, and promote motion where it should occur. We can do this my correcting the position of the hypomobile segment or limiting motion in the hypermobile segment or both.

This week has the most intensive LOP to date. It tested our knowledge of nomenclature and econcentric activation of the Latissimus Dosi. The knowledge is coming together but there is still a lot to learn.

Looking forward to another big week next week.

GIFT week 30 Runners, Proximal acceleration, PST

This week takes everything we have learnt in the past, and reinforces how we can take Principles and apply them in assessment and treatment.

There were very practical webcasts using FMR to locate and mobilise dysfunctional ares of the body during movement testing. We were shown how to sequence exercises to ease low back in gait. We were given the principles of load to explode and how to apply it to the total hip joint replacement.

The relative joint motion and real bone motion in runners was illustrated by Gary Gray. It is so important to remember joint and bone motion, and the concepts of authentic triplane motion with all movement analysis.

We were show triplane motion with walking, walkuffle and walkeoka. These are types of walking we can use in assessment and treatment.

There is so much to digest and integrate. We are in a phase of applying the principles. This is where the analysis skills will be honed.