You wouldn’t put your boots on without having proper studs, so why would you take to the field now making use of compression clothing? Or so goes the belief of the team at SKINS who see their products as giving rugby players (amongst other sports people) a legal competitive advantage.
The problem many have, particularly in rugby circles, is that we’ve always done things a certain way so why bother changing? The reality however is that our sport is changing quite dramatically, even in the amateur ranks. You now see younger players coming off the pitch and first reaching for a protein shake rather than a pint of beer.
This ethos has also transferred itself into the equipment players are making use of. Whilst many clubs stalwarts are still wearing the same pair of torn up heavy cotton shorts they started training in twenty years ago, younger players coming through are taking advantage of new products coming onto the market.
This is where SKINS comes in. They offer compression clothing that they claim not only boosts natural performance, but can also aid recovery. The hurdle they face however is that new products like this are written off as modern marketing nonsense by those who still use mounds of mud instead of modern kicking tees.
Now I’ve been using ‘compression’ shorts of one sort or another for a few years now, although mainly as a barrier to stop my thighs rubbing together all game rather than because they seemed to provide any additional sporting benefit.
When a parcel from SKINS arrived however I was a little shocked to say the least. In all honestly I thought they’d send me the kids versions given how small the products look, but being used to doing stupid s**t in the name of rugby I put them on anyway. Low and behold they fit!
It was a weird sensation at first as the compression wear I had used previously was more just like wearing comfy pants. The SKINS gear however actually felt like it was doing something. In all honestly it took a little getting used to given how snug the fit was, particularly around the thighs, but I soldiered on.
During the first few runs at training that night it definitely felt like the shorts in particular were giving me just a little more snap as I raised my legs during ‘sprints’ (or a front rowers equivalent of running as fast as possible). As training went on I became so accustomed to the fit that I didn’t even notice I was wearing anything different, however it felt like I was moving just that little bit faster
The real bonus came the next morning when I work up and found that there was no muscle soreness, whereas normally I would feel at least a little sluggish as I got out of bed. This is because the SKINS engineered gradient compression increases blood flow and oxygen supply to your muscles to improve your performance while you are active. After your workout you’ll feel the benefits of reduced muscle soreness.
Although I’ve yet to wear SKINS during a game, they have definitely become my go to compression layer of choice for all training. I just hope that sooner or later they opt to produce a variety of colours as at present, the vast majority of their stock is in black.