Compressing the areas of your body that are farthest from your chest can help your circulation by squeezing blood back to your heart. Fighter pilots provide the most dramatic example of this; without the use of compression in their lower extremities, pilots couldn’t withstand high G forces without blacking out. In sports the same principal holds true. By compressing the outer, fatty layers of tissue, blood is redirected from tiny capillaries into larger, more efficient blood vessels. That puts less load on your heart. But you can’t walk through any sporting goods department without being assaulted with various flavors of compression clothing.
Unfortunately, the bulk of products that use the word compression are mass marketed, ill-fitting, uncomfortable and virtually useless. Bodies vary in shape. If you buy a compression garment in small, medium or large, chances are it’s tight somewhere and loose in another. That turns it into little more than a tourniquet. EC3D’s top and bottom are specially fitted to avoid this problem. Danny and Gilbert Ayoub of EC3D started off in the medical industry making post surgical products. They say the “tightness” of clothing can be expressed in units of mercury (mmHg), and that typical bicycle shorts measure around 7mmHg. EC3D’s tights start off around 25 mmHg at the ankles and gradually decrease as they climb. The tights and the shirt have a number of panels to specifically target certain areas.
IN THE REAL WORLD
We took our measurements and ordered a set of EC3G’s tights and shirt to wear under our motocross gear, then headed to the track. Our set came out just as advertised: tight. It took some work just to squeeze into them. We recommend baby power to help with the task. The good news was that there were no uncomfortably constricted areas. The tights were just tight all over, but they had so much give and stretch, we got used to them almost immediately. The biggest surprise was that the gear wasn’t hot. On a 90-degree day, we never felt over-dressed. In fact, once the air was moving, we were probably cooler in the gear than we would have been otherwise. Most MX jerseys don’t hold moisture well, but the tights offer an evaporative cooler effect.
We were also concerned about arm pump. Tight cuffs are often blamed for making this issue worse, and we thought that the tight sleeves would be worse yet. It turned out not to be the case. We still got arm pump after a few hard laps, but no worse or better than normal. The concentrated constriction of tight cuffs is much more damaging than the uniform compression of the EC3D sleeves.
Okay, so the drawbacks are all slight to nil. What about benefits? This is very difficult to measure. All we can say is that that our legs didn’t get a dead feeling until we had ridden for a very long time. It wasn’t like taking an Underdog Super Energy Pill, but it was a distinct improvement–we think. To be sure, we wore the tights on a bicycle training ride. In that environment, there were fewer variables and distractions, and the benefits were less nebulous. We agree with the science and the studies and say that compression can give you an athletic edge–when it’s done the right way. And EC3G clearly doesn’t it the right way. The top sells for $150 and the bottom is $150. For more information, go so www.EC3d.ca or call (886)528-4655.