The compression sleeve has been used by many players and athletes in different sports. One of the sports where compression sleeves are quite popular is baseball, as almost all players wear them along with batting gloves, catcher’s mitts, and other important pieces of baseball equipment. What exactly is a compression sleeve? And what are its advantages in baseball? We will find out as we dive into important details about compression sleeves and their benefits.
What is a Compression Sleeve?
A compression sleeve is a piece of clothing that fits tightly on the legs and the arms, although they are most commonly used for the arms. As its name suggests, the compression sleeve compresses the skin and muscles of the arms, which is a process that is said to have numerous benefits for the body.
Besides the compression arm sleeve, there are also different types of compression garments that are used by athletes. Some of the well-known sports where compression garments are used are speed skating, beach volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and cycling.
Most compression sleeves are made of spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane, which is a light synthetic fiber that is most popularly used in various sports to provide protection and prevent injuries while also feeling invincible to not add extra weight for the athletes.
However, compression garments are not just used for sports, as they are also worn for post surgeries to keep muscles intact and hasten the healing process of the affected body part. Patients that have undergone surgery are recommended to wear compression garments for one year, although they have the option to wear second-stage compression sleeves, shorts, or tights every day. Moreover, compression garments are also considered maternity wear, specifically the bellyband or abdominal binder that is worn around the stomach of a pregnant person and will provide proper balance and support for the body.
When Did Compression Garments Become Popular for Sports?
The use of compression garments for sports started in 1950, when Conrad Jobset, a German engineer, created the compression socks. The compression socks invented by Jobset are supposed to help him keep his varicose veins in check. The invention then evolved to create pressure on the muscles and bones to keep them intact and prevent the occurrence of vein thrombosis, which is an ailment that many athletes suffer from.
Although there are a few people that have used compression socks for running and other sports during the 1950s, the official use of them for sports was in the 1980s, when athletes would usually wear compression socks for faster muscle recovery. By the 1990s, compression socks became more and more popular among athletes, and companies have even started creating leg and calf sleeves to further increase the effectiveness of compression on the lower part of the body.
In the 2000s, legendary NBA player Allen Iverson became known for wearing a cut-off compression sleeve on his right arm, which is supposed to help prevent the worsening of his bursitis, an inflammation near the elbow. In addition to preventing bursitis, Iverson also wears a compression sleeve to enhance his shooting skills. As Iverson became more famous in the NBA, many players started following the trend of wearing compression sleeves on their arms.
From the late 2000s up to the present, baseball players in the MLB (Major League Baseball) have also started to wear compression sleeves on their arms and legs for support and protection.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Sleeves
There are many advantages to wearing compression sleeves for baseball, and most of these benefits are related to safety and support. Here is the list of major benefits of wearing compression sleeves as a baseball player.
Prevents the Soreness of the Muscles
Since it compresses your muscles, a compression sleeve is effective in preventing muscle soreness, which can often occur after rigorous training or after a hard-fought game. Without compression sleeves, your muscles will tend to expand due to soreness or overuse. So, with compression sleeves, you can prevent that from happening since they keep your muscles compressed so that they wouldn’t expand.
Helps in Proper Blood Circulation
The original purpose of compression sleeves is to promote or improve blood circulation since it prevents your veins from swelling. If you currently have varicose veins and other illnesses related to blood circulation, you should wear compression sleeves to prevent your ailment from worsening, especially if you are a frequent player of a specific sport.
Provides Protection to Prevent Wounds
When you are frequently sliding for bases and diving for the ball during baseball games, it is recommended that you wear compression sleeves on your arms and legs to prevent wounds that may occur when your skin produces friction with the ground. There are compression sleeves that are made with durable materials, which make them more suitable for baseball since they won’t wear out easily.
Protects Your Skin from the Sun
In addition to preventing wounds, compression sleeves are also beneficial in protecting your skin from the sun, which can cause sunburns. Some compression sleeves are built to have UPF 50+ protection that makes them perfect for athletes that are always under the sun while playing certain sports like baseball. Because baseball jerseys or uniforms don’t cover most of your arms, it is essential that you wear arm sleeves if you don’t want to get sunburns during the game.
During rainy or colder seasons, the compression sleeve is effective in giving warmth to your legs, arms, or other specific body parts that are exposed to the temperature outdoors. Since some baseball games are played under cold temperatures or light to moderate rain, it is essential to wear compression sleeves so that your body will remain at a stable temperature, which will help you be more focused without experiencing shakiness.
As evident in this article, compression sleeves have plenty of benefits that can help players to stay safer and more comfortable while playing baseball. Before you join a baseball team or play a baseball game as a pastime, you should wear compression sleeves so that your muscles won’t get sore and your skin will stay protected while exposed to the sunlight.