Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Skinny on CEP Compression Socks

It is not very often that I have had the chance to post about a specific product that I have tried or use that I would so highly recommend to other athletes. Last summer, I was walking around the expo at the Lifetime Fitness Chicago Triathlon, when I spotted the tent for CEP compression socks. After seeing so many of the pro triathletes at other races wearing them before, during, and after competition, I was intrigued and wanted to try a pair out for myself. Naturally, I settled for a pair of the neon pink compression socks.
My compression clad calves on the way to Hong Kong

I decided to sleep wearing my CEP compression socks the night before the race, hoping that they would help maximize my leg recovery so that they would be ready to go on race morning. I was pleasantly surprised when I got out onto the bike course with my legs feeling fresh. I ended up biking my fastest bike split ever over a 40km Olympic distance course, which was just shy of 38km/hr! I couldn't believe how much better my legs felt after wearing the compression socks the night before the race. After that race, those compression socks became an integral part of my training and racing regimen. I won't step foot on a plane to travel to a race without my compression socks. In fact, they were with me every step of the way on my trans-Atlantic flight to Hong Kong, where I had my first top ten finish in an ITU Continental Cup race. They also took it all in stride when I achieved a new PB in the NYC half-marathon by more than 3.5 minutes last month. Perhaps, you are wondering how, exactly, these CEP compression socks can improve performance. Well, here's the skinny on the socks:

First of all, the manufacturers of CEP compression socks have worked meticulously to ensure that their socks are made to the same standard of the medical grade compression socks, used by those afflicted with varicose veins or diabetes. So, what you'll notice when you put on a pair of CEP compression socks is that they are very tight around the feet and ankles, and that they gradually decrease in the amount of compression that you feel as they move up the calves toward the knee. From a physiological stand point, the compression socks are essentially mimicking the action of the muscle-venous pump in the lower legs to increase venous return to the heart. If a greater volume of blood is pumped to the heart, then the Frank-Starling law tells us that there will also be a corresponding increase in the volume of blood that is subsequently pumped to the lungs for oxygenation, and then back out into the systemic circulation, ie the rest of the body. By increasing the circulation in your body, more oxygen can be delivered to your muscles and tissues, while more metabolic wastes are carried away, at rest or during exercise to either facilitate recovery and repair, or to meet the increasing demands of work/performance, respectively. That, in a nut shell is some of the simple science explaining why CEP compression socks can help to improve an athlete's performance.

Check out http://www.entrixsports.com/ for more information about CEP compression socks and other CEP compression gear to come!


  1. I have been having trouble with calf cramping while running in barefoot shoes. Of the many ways to facilitate healing, I bought compression sleeves and socks. I found your blog while trying to find out if I can sleep in the socks. I appreciate your description of why they help in

    1. ...recovery. Thank you for this article.

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