Functional Training Apparel
Sports are forever evolving, and football is no exception, especially with the huge amounts of money involved. Up until now, much of the functional training apparel has been limited to either providing ventilation or heat insulation, thereby helping deal with outdoor conditions, and other items like braces or kin tape help keep your body moving in a healthy manner.
Of course, we can’t talk about functional apparel without bringing up cleats. Cleats, and footwear in any sport, are highly studies subjects. Many universities and private labs are constantly testing the biomechanics of athletes with various shoes or cleats. Whether it’s finding the optimal balance for traction (grip version injury risk), how the cleats affect the transfer of energy from the foot to the ball, or how the overall design affects torque about various joints higher up in the body, these are extensively studied.
One relatively new item that has become quite popular with runners, as well as many other athletes, are compression socks.
Compression socks vary in length, but for training purposes, they typically go up to the knee. You can find lots of different styles, including more formal socks for other professions like those in the medical field, for example, doctors and nurses who are on their feet all day or night. In fact, many nurses own numerous pairs, so they can be a good resource for finding good compression socks. Additionally, sites like www.nightlynurse.com provide a great overview of the different types available.
But why can compression socks be good for football training? First, we should declare that the jury is out on whether or not they actually improve performance while being worn. The compression is supposed to increase circulation by providing gradual compression, where it’s strongest near the foot and ankles, and gradually loosens further up the leg, helping your veins work against gravity and return blood to the heart and lungs for further oxygenation and pumping.
Where they are well-known to be very helpful is during recovery. After a solid training sessions, especially one involving lots of running, compression socks can help increase circulation, which eliminates the build-up of lactic acid more quickly, and ultimately leads to less soreness in the days after and an overall faster and better recovery. While most of the proven benefits are apparent in the recovery stage, we should note that
While most of the proven benefits are apparent in the recovery stage, we should note that there isn’t any research saying that compression socks hinder performance. Many players actually really like wearing them during training and under shin pads when possible, simply for the feel, and who knows, for some players they may actually provide a little boost!
We’re not saying compression socks are absolutely necessary for you or your team, but they can certainly be helpful if you are involved in heavy training sessions that involve a lot of running. Maybe try out a pair and see if you notice a difference, and if so, get the rest of the team on board as well!