by Tom Billups, C.S.C.S.
For a team to advance through single elimination play they must play two tough matches within a twenty-four hour period if they are to become champions. Experienced teams look for every recovery and regenerative tool available to assist their players to be physically able to compete on the second day. Teams and athletes gain degrees of physical recovery between matches from several sources including uninterrupted sleep, proper nutrition, hydration, and ice baths that help reduce soft tissue inflammation. Additionally, the use of compression garments for advanced recovery is relatively new and becoming commonly used by high performance athletes and rugby players the world over.
To promote venous blood flow, medical professionals have utilized compression stockings for over fifty years. Sport science research has shown that new generation compression garments have several positive ergogenic effects for athletes, including enhanced lactate removal, and reducing muscle oscillation, while having a positive psychological influence. Further positive results experienced by athletes include a decrease in soreness and improved recovery of force production. A study in 2004 found that wearing compression garments during recovery periods of intense exercise likely increased the recovery process both during and following intense exercise. Yet even more recent sports medicine findings point toward the importance of keeping muscles warm when recovering from a muscle strains. These findings and empirical evidence have made wearing compression garments popular among rugby players.
It bears mentioning that research has concluded that the amount of compression and where it is applied within the fabric of the garment is important. Too much compression and the garment become uncomfortable and therefore seldom worn, not enough compression and the results of wearing the garments are negligible.
One of the top manufacturers of compression garments is Australian company Skins. Skins garments have gradient compression designed to supply the correct amount of surface pressure over the body areas covered and are my preference in compression gear.
When looking for strategies and equipment to aid in recovery during this critical time of the competitive season, consider investing in high performance compression wear to give your athletes and team it’s best chance at being ready for two matches in twenty-four hours.
Tom Billups began his rugby career in 1984 and has spent time as a player in New Zealand (Bay of Plenty), the U.S. (The Old Blues), England (London Harlequins), and Wales (Pontypridd) for domestic teams as well as representing the U.S.A. at international tournaments with the Eagles. After hanging up his boots, Billups got into coaching leading the Eagles and now with University of California – Berkeley. Read the entire bio of Tom Billups as well as Billups first column My Rugby Path and then check out what Billups is saying about the game of rugby in The Billups Column on Rugby Rugby.
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