As a self-proclaimed weekend warrior athlete, I’m constantly looking for the next piece of equipment or gear to give me the upper edge when working out or competing with my friends. Compression gear isn’t new, but the technology hasn’t evolved much from the initial widespread use a few years ago. Spun Performance Apparel is trying to change that by introducing a technically superior garment that has high quality features other compression gear doesn’t have. For benefits of compression gear read this article.
I was able to get my paws on some free gear from Greg at Spun. He sent me a compression t-shirt, compression shorts and socks. I was used to “typical” compression gear from Under Armor, but the features on the Spun gear exceed even the top-of-the-line products from UA. For example, all Spun gear has silicone beading to prevent the edges from riding up during movement. I found this useful for any overhead activities where my shirt would normally slide up. The shirt also has built in mesh vents to help cool the user. These shirts also have a “loose neck” which helps when putting on or taking off the shirt. It leaves some room once the shirt is on, but I personally prefer the breathing room even if it looks a bit sloppy. My only gripe with the shirt was that it still smelled like silicone fresh out of the bag. After a few washes, the smell practically disappeared though.
For my lifting workout, I did general compound movement weight lifting.
First, clean and press. The compression felt good on direct muscle groups. The close contact definitely helps muscles warm up in the beginning. My core has some padding and it can only squeeze that pooch so much before jiggling while under effort. Deadlift felt similar. Very good support in the hamstrings and glutes. The shorts wick moisture and control your unmentionables quite well. The socks are thick enough to protect against the bar scraping your shins which is a nice plus. I didn’t notice any benefits when doing pullups. On bench press, the shirt felt very consistent and tightens the core which is useful for pushing a max effort. Tricep extension and other auxiliary exercises don’t see much benefit other than standard wicking properties. Armpit ventilation does make a difference in moisture wicking though.
I am also a competitive ultimate frisbee player. Frisbee is essentially short or long sprinting with jogging in between. I was really hoping to feel some benefits of the compression socks on these types of workouts. Typically, after an hour or two my calves and quads are burning. I’m always sore despite stretching post-workout. I wore the entire gear from head to toe to start. Again, I liked the closeness for warming up quickly, but in the Miami heat it wasn’t necessary. I eventually took off the top because it was extra weight that I didn’t need to run around with. I love the shorts for sprinting though. They also protect my hips and thighs if I slide in the grass. Unfortunately, the socks didn’t seem to help much with soreness or sprinting performance.
The final test for me would be long distance running. I run about 10-12 miles a week with long runs of about 6 miles. I wore the entire setup again and felt the usual performance benefits right away. The new benefit was in the socks. I think I finally found where they benefit me the most–long distance running. For me, the constant flexing and pushing off would work my calves as I climbed hills or hopped sideways on uneven terrain. Going up bridges and stairs would kill my calves if during the middle of a long run. With the compression socks, I didn’t feel the same instant soreness as before. I also competed in a 10k obstacle/mud race in Miami, FL. I had a lot of fun and ultimately placed 9th out of 77 competitors in my age group. I attribute all my speed on the long gravel straights to the socks!
My girlfriend also likes to run and is quite the half-marathoner. She has finished 3-4 in the past two years with no signs of stopping soon. She test fit the women’s compression shirt and long pants on multiple long distance runs. Her initial impression was very positive. She likes the material, heft and seams on the pieces. Once she got the shirt on, she also commented on the loose neck hole and how that made it easier for her to get into. The pants she says “aren’t the most flattering.” She found that they did reduce soreness in her legs both during and after her workouts. However, I think this speaks to their true purpose–performance, not looks. If you want to look pretty in tight pants, then get some Lululemon yoga pants. If you want a useful pant which helps long distance running then get compression gear. This particular pair has a fairly low rear vent which puts your underwear on display to the world. She typically runs in pants alone, but was unable to do so in this pair. If you can wear shorts over these, then it won’t be a problem.
All in all, I was very impressed with the Spun products. If you’re interested in picking up some gear from Spun, they’ve given us some coupon codes for our readers:
Coupon code gab20 – Receive 20% off your order.
Coupon code cs100 – Receive a free pair of compression socks for any order over $100.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
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