In a world dictated by demand and supply, the proliferation of product options is only increasing. While this does mean that you have plenty of choices when it comes to compression clothing and bodybuilding clothing, the jury’s still out whether it is as efficient as brands want you to believe. According to a renowned medical review from 2013, it turns out that compression gear helps during explosive movements, but a lot of it comes down to the placebo effect and comfort. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with that; quite the contrary.

Likely to improve oxygenation

The idea behind compression gear is to improve performance across several fields. These fields are power, force, contraction efficiency and, most importantly for this particular topic, oxygen availability. You might be familiar with that excruciating frustration when your brain tells your muscles to move, yet the body cannot perform. The key question is whether compression gear can ameliorate this issue? Well, if you need to double down on your calf workout, you might be in luck.

A study about the effects of compression gear on gastrocnemius medialis has shown that the average short-term TOI (tissue oxygen index) should be 24% higher with the quality compression leg sleeves donned when compared to the results of study participants that did not wear any. This is great news for all bodybuilders that are looking for every conceivable boost on their workout trajectory.

A sore matter

A lot of (subjective) testimonials of gym-dwellers over the years have placed compression garments into the category of accessories that reduce muscle soreness after the session. People who had switched from regular ‘loose’ gym wear to compression sleeves tend to point this out with particular conviction, so there must be something to it, right?

It begins with an inflammatory response due to a hard workout. White blood cells rush to the muscle area and it fills with fluid, which leads to noticeable swelling and pressure on the surrounding nerves. If overworked, the soreness can turn into a nagging pain.

When you consider these biomechanics, it becomes apparent how compression garments help. They constrain your muscles and impede the fluid buildup in the potentially inflamed area. The decrease in swelling and pressure leads to less soreness.

This has also led many people to believe, not without merit, that compression gear also protects against strains. While they cannot be prevented completely, the compression does play its part to reduce swelling. However, this is only a partial solution - it will not stop the swelling or pain 100%.

That being said, the previous statements about oxygenation and increased blood flow, lead to the conclusion that the benefits of compression garments for bodybuilders might not be groundbreaking, but they can accrue to provide a better ‘quality of life’ during the strenuous workout regime.

The question of appearances

When it comes to ‘quality of life’, you should also never underestimate a significant factor for all zealous bodybuilders - and that is the factor of comfort. Constant creasing of low-quality garments against the skin is not only distracting but also highly unpleasant. It can lead to rashes that can turn nasty unless you treat them immediately.

Modern compression garments and sleeves are designed with such annoyances in mind, looking to eliminate them and create the quality of life changes around every corner. This also goes for style.

The entire compression outfits are typically designed to complement the contours of the body in the best way possible, and if you’ve become chiseled enough to feel comfortable in such clothes, it can serve as wonderful feedback and affirmation for your efforts.

In the case of injury

When you are on a schedule to achieve clear bodybuilding results, you have to make sure that injuries affect your performance as little as possible. In this regard, compression gear is actually quite helpful - it will keep your muscles in place and provide better circulation. The recovery will be faster if you spare the injured muscle and wrap it in a sleeve as you work on the other group.


The question of product efficiency is always trapped between market demands and corporate expectations. Unless it’s about some ironclad scientific findings in the realm of pharmaceuticals, the rest is up to you and your preferences. While it is fair to point out that compression gear does have its benefits for bodybuilders, the ultimate bottom line is that beliefs are the most potent performance enhancers.