Do Compression Tops Increase Lung Strength?

Have been experimenting with compression tops while exercising recently and for me the jury is out.

Already sold on the benefits of the tights particularly after exercise (100 miles on 3 consecutive days on a bike; recovery definitely aided...)

On the top front it does feel harder to breath deeply - makes sense as the expansion of my chest is being resisted by the top.  Am wondering if I train with this on then race without whether breathing will suddenly feel easier...




  • What part of your chest gets knackered out cycling ? I've never noticed it ? Legs - yes - but chest ?

    I really cant see it being any more than in your mind - but if that works for you - then go for it.

    (some people race IN compression tops - you'd have thought they'd be at a disadvantage if it did indeed resist your breathing ?)
  • Sorry... Appear to have been ambiguous.

    Having done much more cycling than running over the last couple of years I'm now back into the running.  Interest in compression tops is around chest expansion / resistance whilst running.

    That a compression top makes your lungs work harder would seem to be inarguable (particularly if deep breathing) but wanted to see what others had experienced.


  • Aah I see you were talking of tights after cycling - sorry.

    Your lungs are deep in the chest. Is it actually your lungs getting the work out or the muscles of the chest working against the lycra ?

    And unless you have a breathing problem - I don't think lung fitness is the limiting factor in running.

    I've had a couple of nike compression tops bought for me - and nice to run in, but I don't think there's much benefit with the compression technology.

    But people get benefit from the placebo effect of those balance wristbands, so all you need to do is believe that it helps you - and it will.
  • I'm with Cougie on this. I've been running in compression tops for about 3 months now, and to be honest, i have not notice any benefit with regard to my breathing.
    I never bought the top(Skinz a400)for that purpose anyway, but more because someone told me that compression tops were great for stopping nipple chafing. and they have absolutely done that for me, not a single chaf for the past 3 months, and I've been doing anything up to about 24 miles in it.
    Slightly of the point, but hope that helps.
  • No, compression tops do not increase lung strength.
  • Ah Skins...

    The compression garment of choice of mass murdering Norvegian nutters...


    (Must wonder how the marketing people groan whenever this is published!)

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    If you want to restrict your breathing for a given running pace, shove a pair of socks in your gob.  Much cheaper than compression gear.
  • Thanks, Phil.

    The socks don't stop my moobs wobbling though...
  • Sounds a bit daft to try and enhance lung strength by wearing something that's too tight...

    How about trying Powerbreathe or the cheaper equivalent Ultrabreathe?

  • "And unless you have a breathing problem - I don't think lung fitness is the limiting factor in running" 

     Don't a lot of the top runners use those powerbreathe plastic thingys to specifically improve lung strength?

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    @Noanie - Powerbreathe is a known placebo..... It doesnt actually help you if you have "normal" peak flow/breathing conditions. I asked my asthma nurse and she said it was the biggest red herring out there. It will only work if you've got a serious breathing issue (e.g. pneumonia) to assist in building up the muscles.

  • Really? Wow, I'd never heard that before. Granted, I hadn't actually spent any time looking into it either. image
  • Results from the Powerbreathe's are very minimal. People say they improve their times by 15-30 seconds in a 10k race, yes its seconds off but surely better training couldn't go a miss rather than shoving a piece of plastic in your mouth.
  • Anyway powerbreathe is meant to strengthen the diaphragm by impeding airflow. Compression garments would do nothing to impede airflow to strengthen that, they might only impede the ribcage lifting, which is not the limiting factor, as Cougie says.
  • So are they any help at all?

    I've found them good post exercise, holding muscles in after boxing.. Things kept warm.

    During a run, no jiggers nipple is a plus.. Any aid to your posture, core, general tiredness ..l Or another placebo?

    All these guys with Adidas power web football tops too... £40 for a normal shirt, £100 plus for the fancy version. Mad.
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