Keep it Tight: The Benefits of Compression
With its proven performance enhancing ability, compression plays an integral role in the fit and functionality of all of our apparel. By itself, the role of compression is considered in every garment in order to improve comfort and longevity while riding but perhaps most apparent is the amount and necessity of compression found in Velocio bibs, shorts, leggings and tights. Here are key aspects as to why compression is so crucial:
And while you're strolling on the Instagram or the Twitter keep an eye out for those pro cyclists you follow. Check out their stories and take a look at what they are wearing when they aren't "pushing a product"…I think you'll be surprised to see the Velocio logo popping up more than you would expect, and what better endorsement than when an endorsed athlete spends money out of their own pocket :)
1. The Chamois
The foundation of any cycling short, bib short or tight is the chamois. However, a high quality chamois will not provide the best comfort if it is not positioned properly or doesn’t move with the rider - positioning and contact are critical to comfort on the bike. Without adequate compression, a chamois will move, creating chafing and hot spots on and around the saddle area. With compression, a chamois is held in place against the body, providing a improved connection and comfort between the rider by eliminating chafing.
Overall, I am a huge believer in compression on whether it’s during competition or recovery. Compression on long rides helps keep your quads and muscles tight and firing for the ride. I have always been a fan of no extra material in my bibs so when Velocio introduced the Concept bib I fell in love with the way they fit and how they felt over the course of long hard rides.
2. Muscle support
By providing compressive support to the largest muscle groups in the body - those used primarily for pedaling - muscles remain fresher longer.
Compression, in context of athletic garments and athlete use, is any piece of equipment that is going to compress the muscles tightly (but not to the point of constriction) with the goal of promoting or increasing your body’s natural circulation of blood and inflammation as well as helping muscles keep their integrity.
What I mean by the latter is this: your muscles are already encapsulated by a tight sac of material called fascia; when you exercise, inflammation can cause muscles to swell, and that fascia allows the muscle expand, but only so much. This is that “full” or “tight” feeling you get in the legs when you stop to refuel at the gas station on a long ride as you start riding again.
Having some compression in your cycling clothing, especially around the primary muscle groups (quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings) will help keep the inflammation low while you’re moving and serve as a secondary “fascia” to help keep your muscles happy, or where they should be
Recovery is aided by compression through enhanced blood circulation - aiding in the metabolism of lactic acid and treating inflammation in fatigued muscles.
Not all tight shorts are the same, and though Velocio bibs might feel tighter than others, its is not because you have necessarily built those legs muscles up over the winter at the gym (you might have)…but more likely because the way the bibs are designed and constructed are done so specifically to take advantage of what compression has to offer cyclists in motion.
The First Impression
We always recommend that you wash your new apparel before wearing. The garment will relax and break in over the first few wearings and washes - not a profound amount - but enough to be noticeable and more comfortable. In part this is due to the production process of fabrics and garments, where washing will tend to release, relax and soften fabrics and finishes.
Getting them on
(Wait, you’re telling me how to put on pants? Yes...yes we are.) A common question for us, this is a legitimate process… We highly recommend when pulling your bibs/shorts on, you start at the bottom - pull them up to the knees, then align the leg gripper on your thighs. From there, work the legs of the shorts up your thighs until you can position the chamois, then pull up around the waist. This preserves the shorts and chamois any extraneous stretching and pulling and simultaneously positions the short correctly. For example, you should always avoid pulling from the front/back at or above the chamois as this can damage the fabrics where the chamois is attached to the lycra.
Caring for your garments properly is the best way to ensure that they last. There are several things that should be considered to ensure that you get the most out of your gear.
Carefully follow care instructions for washing your garments. In general, use mild detergent on a cool/cold cycle and always hang dry. Using heat/tumble dry will reduce the longevity of the garment significantly, since each garment contains a high level of elastane (Lycra) which will become fatigued and brittle with heat, reducing their ability to be compressive and eventually breaking the fibers. Drying your garments in direct sunlight is also not advised, since UV rays can fade and break down fabrics as well.
While we test each fabric we use for durability and only use fabrics that meet a high level of durability, technical compression and light weight fabrics are inherently more fragile and do require some care when wearing.
• Ensure that there are no abrasive areas on or around your saddle. Often times velcro on saddle bags, or edges of saddles/seat posts can, over time, cause issues with wear, leading to abrasion and even holes.
• Be mindful during breaks: find a smooth surface to sit on - pavement or splintered wood can act like sandpaper to your shorts.