If you have decided to take a keen interest in body fitness and hit the gym, then good on you! However, you may have seen some active gym members use elbow compression sleeves and wondered what they are all about.
They may even seem foreign or unnecessary to you. That said, the history of elbow sleeves actually goes back decades. They have both medical and physical benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at elbow compression sleeves and why you may need them when going to the gym.
Understanding Elbow Compression Sleeves
This is clothing that you wear on your arm with the aim of covering your elbow. These sleeves provide compression for the elbows which helps to improve circulation.
Furthermore, they help warm the ligaments and tendons in the elbow, allowing them to stretch more easily and therefore reducing damage during weightlifting or exercise.
Initially, elbow compression sleeves were used to treat blood flow related disorders. Some of the medical reasons for their use include preventing blood pooling and lowering blood lactate levels.
Main Benefits of Elbow Compression Sleeves During Exercise
- Protecting The Skin
Depending on the exercise, it is possible for the skin on the elbows to take a beating. This is especially true when you are exercising at home. You want to increase muscle mass, but not at the expense of damaged skin. Wearing a compression sleeve, therefore, will help protect the skin on your elbows.
- Regulating Temperature
Think of wearing socks when you are outside. You are better able to deal with the cold through temperature regulation.
The same principle applies to a compression sleeve. It helps you maintain body temperature when you are exercising outside the house under cold weather conditions. In other words, it makes it easier for your body to keep warm.
- Improving Circulation
Injury to the elbows might cause poor blood circulation to the region. As a result, you may experience inflammation and swelling when exercising.
By providing compression to the elbow region, the compression sleeve helps improve blood circulation and provides better recovery after exercise.
- Helping To Prevent Muscle Soreness
Another major benefit of these sleeves during exercise is that they prevent soreness and tightness of muscles. Because of this, they are able to facilitate weight lifting and high bursts of activity.
This allows you to make the most of your workout and supercharge your fitness goals as opposed to failing to complete the exercise because of muscle soreness.
- Aiding Faster Recovery
Thanks to the fact that the compression sleeves allow for better blood circulation, nutrients are taken to the damaged muscle tissues much faster. As a result, the muscles will also heal quicker.
Are There Any Cons of Using A Compression Sleeve?
Just like everything else, elbow compression sleeves also come with disadvantages. The most common of these is the effect on overall blood flow. While using a compression sleeve will stimulate blood circulation during exercise, wearing it for an extended period of time can actually inhibit blood circulation. Therefore, it is recommended to use the elbow sleeve only for the required duration.
Ultimately, Do I Need To Wear An Elbow Sleeve?
Yes, it is important to always wear elbow compression sleeves when you are placing your elbows under strain. For instance, when you are doing bench press with heavy weights, there will be a lot of tension in the elbows and the elbow sleeve will provide additional support.
Note, however, that the elbow sleeve should not compromise your form or technique. It is important that when you finally take off the elbow sleeve that you are still able to perform your exercise properly.
In case you experience elbow damage or injury, discontinue the exercise immediately and focus on treating the elbow. Crucial steps to take include:
- Place an ice compress on the elbow for 15 minutes to help deal with the swelling and pain
- Use a compression bandage to prevent the swelling
- Keep your arm in an elevated position, as this will also help reduce the swelling
- Take the required time off from exercising until you are fit enough to continue
- Visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment
Elbow sleeves have been around for a long time and were primarily used for medical purposes, such as improving blood flow to the region. Now they have gained popularity in the fitness world as a way to reduce pressure on the elbows while lifting heavy weights, as well as helping to improve recovery. It is important to use elbow compression sleeves if you plan on doing any strenuous exercise that can exert tremendous pressure on the elbows.