Clothing and Accessory Reviews – TriSports University The place to learn about triathlon. Mon, 31 Aug 2020 23:14:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Clothing and Accessory Reviews – TriSports University 32 32 Theragun Pro Review Mon, 31 Aug 2020 17:39:14 +0000 I used to think electric toothbrushes were a waste.  “I can brush my teeth just fine! Why do I need an electric toothbrush?” I would think to myself.  And then my wife bought me one.  After just a few brushes, I could tell a difference in the clean feeling. What does an electric toothbrush have […]]]>

I used to think electric toothbrushes were a waste. 

“I can brush my teeth just fine! Why do I need an electric toothbrush?” I would think to myself. 

And then my wife bought me one.  After just a few brushes, I could tell a difference in the clean feeling.

What does an electric toothbrush have to do with a review for a massage gun? For starters, I had the same impression of massage guns as electric toothbrushes. I had my foam roller, what did I need a fancy motor-powered massage device for? After one full session with the Theragun Pro, I was hooked!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning. 

What Is The Theragun?

To start off, Therabody was founded by Dr. Jason Wersland to meet his own need for pain mediation after a debilitating motorcycle accident. The first Theragun was a makeshift tool designed to help ease his own pain. After multiple variations and a decade of innovation, the Theragun is now in its fourth generation, with a line of 4 different massage guns and a range of other products to help athletes, physical therapists, and everyday people feel better and recover faster. 

The Theragun is a “percussive therapy massage device.” In simple terms, it is a motorized device that rotates a ball or other attachment back and forth on a piston at high speed to massage the muscles. 

The most basic use is to turn the device on and run it over any muscle group that feels sore or tense. The Prime, Elite and Pro models also support Bluetooth and interface with the Therabody app which controls the speed of the unit and guides the user through a range of full treatment sessions.

Unboxing And First Use

One of the first things I noticed when unboxing the Theragun Pro was that the quality is top notch! The experience was like unboxing a new Apple product. The presentation was awesome and the device inside did not disappoint.

The Pro model comes in a large, zippered carrying case with two batteries. In the box underneath the case is a pouch with 5 additional attachments for various uses (more on that later). There was also the charging dock for the batteries, but if you have the wireless charging cradle like I do, you won’t use the dock. I just leave the Theragun in the cradle and pick up the fully charged unit when I’m ready to use it.

Turning on the device for the first time can be a little intimidating. It starts oscillating at 1750 PPM (percussions per minute), the slowest speed, and you aren’t really sure if you want to press that against your body. The attachment that comes on the device ready to go is the “dampener” which is a middle-softness closed-cell foam that I would describe as slightly squishy but not as much as a tennis ball would be. 


At the core of the full-sized Theragun devices is a triangle shaped handle. I first thought that was a little silly, but once I really got into using them I realized that the handle is a great feature. The ability to use different grips for hard to reach places or at times I wanted more leverage was awesome!

On the device itself there is the on/off button as well as a 4-way selector. The up/down adjust the speed and the left/right cycles through preset sessions which can be changed from the app. There are 5 pre-set speeds on the device ranging from 1750ppm to 2400ppm, with the option to customize your speed range on the Therabody app. I expected the slower speeds to be softer and easier on the body but I realized with use that the higher speed actually was a softer, smoother experience.

As I mentioned, the Pro model came with 6 different attachments. They are the standard ball, the dampener (mentioned earlier), the super soft which is an open-cell foam, the cone, the thumb which is a rounded version of the cone, and the wedge which is shaped like a mini Axe to get under the shoulder blades. The dampener is the default attachment and I found myself using it 90% of the time. My wife, however, never could quite get used to the hardness even of the dampener and would only use the Super Soft. If you are a person that doesn’t like hard massages then that will probably be your go-to as well, but for those deep knots or larger muscles the standard ball is the way to go!

The last feature I noticed that really came in handy was the “force meter” on the display of the unit. It sensed the amount of force you are placing through the unit and displayed that in a series of lines. This is handy in knowing if you are pressing too hard and in danger of causing injury instead of helping your muscles recover.

App Integration

All three of the full-sized Theragun models feature Bluetooth capability and connect to the Therabody app. Once connected, the app can control the speed of the unit and will walk you through set routines for treating certain ailments, body parts, or for sport or purpose specific treatments. 

The home screen shows some recommended routines, but all the others can be accessed through the menu. Once you select a routine you see which areas are treated and for how long. You also can see where to pass your device over the muscle. You can simply play the routine or save it for quick access later.

I will use routines for my sport specific recovery (running and cycling), but my favorite routine is the “sleep” routine. It is a 6 minute routine that works your neck, forearms, back, quads, shins, and feet. I would never have thought of massaging my shins or forearms, but the process it follows really relaxes and helps release tension for better sleep. 

Everyday, Practical Use

In everyday use I found myself more than anything just picking up the device and running it across my neck and shoulders. After a long day or first thing in the morning that’s what I needed to loosen up my neck and get rolling again. 

After long runs or rides, I found the app-lead routines helped keep me on track and moving through the muscles to loosen up and recover a little faster. I can’t say for certain that it did in fact help me recover faster, but I certainly felt better for the rest of the day after a tough workout than I normally would have. And I already mentioned using the “sleep routine” in the evening before bed.

The Theragun really shone after a long weekend of packing, cleaning, and moving into a new house! Carrying couches and appliances left me sore and stiff, but the Theragun’s work on my lower back kept me on my feet!

Theragun Mini

I also had the chance to try out the mini version of the Theragun. Unlike the 3 fill-sized units, the Mini is a smaller, more portable version of the massager. It has a solid triangle handle and comes in a small, padded zipper pouch. It’s quieter than the Pro model (though I assume not as quiet at the “Elite” model, the quietest in the lineup). It only comes with the standard ball so I would recommend purchasing the dampener attachment separately. It also doesn’t have Bluetooth but you are still able to follow along with routines on the app, you just have to control the device manually with its single button.


So let’s wrap this up for the people who skipped down to the summary!

Like your plain old toothbrush, your foam roller is just fine right? Not so fast!

The Theragun devices are one of those things you just have to try out to see the difference. Even in the last 1200 words I couldn’t explain how much nicer you feel after running through a treatment routine on Theragun. In less time, with less effort, you can get to those stiff, sore muscles and get them ready for another day or another workout. The app and the library of educational resources on the Therabody website are nothing to turn your nose up at either!

So if you are in the market for a recovery device, check out Therabody! There are devices across multiple price-points starting with the $199 Mini, and each one is an investment in your health and recovery that will last for years to come!

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Swimskins – Worth It? Thu, 29 Jun 2017 20:39:07 +0000 The swimskin is one of the newest pieces of apparel in triathlon. As a thinner and smaller replacement for a wetsuit, swimskins are growing in popularity for warm-water triathlons. For triathletes who compete in swimming environments where wetsuits are not allowed, the swimskin is the perfect piece of gear to reduce friction in the water […]]]>

The swimskin is one of the newest pieces of apparel in triathlon. As a thinner and smaller replacement for a wetsuit, swimskins are growing in popularity for warm-water triathlons. For triathletes who compete in swimming environments where wetsuits are not allowed, the swimskin is the perfect piece of gear to reduce friction in the water and shave valuable time off your swim.

When should I consider a swim skin?
While a wetsuit is still the best in terms of offering buoyancy, warmth and speed, the swimskin is a great alternative when racing in non-wetsuit legal races to provide an advantage over traditional triathlon racing suits. You will want to consider buying a swimskin if you are racing in areas with mild temperatures. For WTC events, wetsuits are not allowed in water temperatures above 76.1 °F. The USA Triathlon rules state that wetsuits are not allowed in water temperatures above 78 °F. A swimskin is an excellent option if you will be swimming in small bodies of water or areas where the temperatures get high.

What is a swimskin in the first place?
If you have never heard of a swimskin, they are a skin-tight “speedsuit” that goes over your tri suit or race kit and extends from the knees to the shoulders. They do not offer buoyancy or warmth, but the compression allows you to maintain speed and hydrodynamics while swimming through the water. The suit is meant to smooth out the contours of your body and race kit so you can glide through the water and exert less effort. By making your body smoother and smaller, these skins enhance your speed by reducing friction that typical race kits produce against the water.

Originally, swimskins came out with no sleeves; however, more brands are now offering sleeved versions as more triathletes use sleeved tri suits. In past years, you could not wear a race kit that had sleeves under your swimskin. This meant that you had to roll up your sleeves or roll down your race kit to your waist underneath the swimskin. In 2016, the WTC changed the rules that allow sleeves above the elbow to be worn under your swimskin.

How should a swimskin fit?
The swimskin should fit your body very tightly. In most cases, they require a friend to help you zip it up. If they fit too loosely and the suit is flapping against your body, then the features that reduce drag will actually do the opposite. This is a piece of compression equipment, so it should feel tight. Keep in mind that it will feel much different once you get in the water than it will outside of it. Although each person has a different preference, you must choose the swimskin that is most comfortable to you.

What are the performance benefits?
While swimskins are fairly new, there have been some studies done on their performance. In a pool test by the U.S. Olympic swim team, swimskims saved an average of just over 2 seconds per 100 yards when compared to a typical training suit. In comparison, the wetsuit shaved off 6 seconds per 100 yards against the training suit.

There are several major races that are typically borderline non-wetsuit races. Those include the Ironman World Championships, 70.3 World Championships, Ironman Texas, Ironman Chattanooga, Ironman Louisville, Honu 70.3, Eagleman 70.3, Buffalo Springs 70.3, Muncie 70.3, Racine 70.3, Ohio 70.3, Boulder 70.3, Maine 70.3, Atlantic City 70.3, Augusta 70.3, New Orleans 70.3 and any local race that occurs in the summertime.

What are the key features?
If you think a swimskin would be beneficial to you, there are many brands to choose from. While each one has been tested and designed to enhance speed, there are differences in fit and feel. Some of the most popular brands include Blueseventy, TYR, and Zone3. Here are some features of each swimskin.

BlueSeventy PZ4TX

Differentiator: Advanced ultrasonic welded seams
Building on ten years of swimskin development, the PZ4TX swimskin features advanced ultrasonic welded seams for reduced drag, which means that the seams are welded together using radio frequency and heat to melt the edges together for a stronger seam. With a breathable material on the back of the suit, it helps regulate your temperature while in the warm water. This suit actually does not have a lanyard attached to the zipper to reduce friction the lanyard may cause in the water. The zipper locks in place when pointed down and unzips easily when pointed up.

Zone3 Swimskin

Differentiator: Revolutionary fabric, elite athlete feedback
Zone3’s latest suit is built upon seven years of testing, elite athlete feedback, and thousands of customer demos. Based on the extensive testing, Zone3 chose the revolutionary X2R woven fabric with glued and heat bonded seams for less drag and ultimate speed. The fabric is one of the lightest hydrophobic materials available. The legs have a fabric called Energy-D, which offers more compression so that your legs glide effortlessly through the water. There is a lanyard attached to the zipper to allow for easier transitions.

TYR Torque Swimskin Series

Differentiator: Double-layer technology
The Torque Swimskin Series is the latest of TYRs offerings. This swimskin is constructed with two layers, a hydrophilic outer layer that works with the water and a hydrophobic inner layer that repels water to keep you dry. The fabric is a composite knit fabric that allows your body to move freely. Each suit has a coil zipper for a quick transition and a beaded grip on the legs so that the suit will attach to your body and not move around in the water.

At the end of the day, each brand offers countless benefits and the features have been tested extensively. Many of these suits offer similar race times, so it really comes down to the feel of each suit. Whichever brand swimskin suits your fancy, the data is in and swimskins deliver that little extra advantage when it matters most.

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About the Author: Alyssa is a writer and the wife of an Ironman and TriSports Ambassador. Not much of an athlete herself, she has learned the sport of triathlon from her husband over his years of competition. Now she wants to share what she has learned as a spectator with other triathlete supporters. 
















Product Review: Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet Fri, 07 Oct 2016 18:21:45 +0000 Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete Giro has been at the forefront of aerodynamic helmet design since creating the Giro Advantage in 1985. Between snow sports and cycling, they specialize in helmet, glasses, and apparel technology. Over the last three decades, they have been perfecting their trade; based on current wind tunnel testing, the […]]]>

Written by Greg Billington, USA Olympic Triathlete

Greg Billington on the left, testing the Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet

Giro has been at the forefront of aerodynamic helmet design since creating the Giro Advantage in 1985. Between snow sports and cycling, they specialize in helmet, glasses, and apparel technology. Over the last three decades, they have been perfecting their trade; based on current wind tunnel testing, the new Aerohead series represents the pinnacle of their research, shaving 15 watts off their current Advantage series.

As I was preparing for the Rio Olympics and the ITU World Championships, my coach Paulo Sousa and I were looking for ways to save precious time. I invested in ceramic bearings, the nicest tires – when he saw the data on the new Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet, we decided that we needed to try the product to see if it could be beneficial.

I ran it through the paces to see if it could be useful, even during a draft legal triathlon. There aren’t many opportunities for gains from an aero helmet during peloton racing, but when it does play a role, it is critical.

“If you don’t look fast, you aren’t doing it right!” -Greg Billington

The helmet is one of the fastest on the market. I wasn’t going to a wind tunnel, so with that as a given, my primary concerns were with transition time and cooling, although I also took into account comfort, safety, and looks as well. If you don’t look fast, you aren’t doing it right!


This helmet was designed with triathletes in mind. The visor can be stored in a flipped up position, which makes the helmet easier to put on. I practiced my transition a number of times, but had no issues with this stage of transition. The helmet buckle is slightly small, but with practice this is fine for T1. It takes practice to perfect putting the visor on with one hand while cycling; as with many things, the effort is worthwhile. In Cozumel, the race was so hot that I opted to race without the visor and use glasses instead. The vented holes in the Aerohead MIPS Helmet were perfect for inserting my glasses into, so I could put these on during the race and not waste time in T1.

At the Cozumel Elite World Championships, I had the fastest ride and made the swim/bike breakaway with seven other athletes. The helmet was critical during the first three minutes and in maintaining and increasing our advantage to 90 seconds over the 40k course. I was about 12th out of the water and needed to make up about 10 seconds before the breakaway was established. The helmet cannot be discounted as I was the last athlete to make the breakaway, ahead of four athletes who exited the water before me.

Photo: Viviane Sloniewicz
Photo: Viviane Sloniewicz Greg looks fast, so he must be doing it right!

I was impressed with the amount of ventilation this helmet offered. The four vents deliver a powerful flow of air while cycling. Both the Rio Olympics and the Cozumel World Championships were very warm races; Cozumel was 80-90% humidity and 80+ degrees during the bike ride. I opted to remove the visor to maximize cooling, but during training I felt good both with and without the visor. The brow pad is made out of a hydrophilic material, in order to efficiently wick away sweat and enhance cooling. It is, however, 14% warmer than the Giro’s Air Attack Shield, so take that into consideration if you are easily affected by the heat.

There is a significant amount of extra visibility when using visor instead of glasses. When wearing glasses, I have sweat build up on the lens about 45 minutes into most rides, which obscures my vision. Obviously, that was not an issue with the visor. It also provided more shielding so I was not constantly bothered by the usual cycling wind noise.

The visor is also cleverly designed so that it can be stored or placed in transition in the flipped up position. Among other benefits, this helps protect it and save space during travel.

Visor flipped up
Visor flipped up

The Aerohead MIPS Helmet is made with cutting edge technology. MIPS, multi-directional impact protection system, refers to the plastic insert designed to distribute force during side on impacts. This version is constructed with a polycarbonate shell and strong magnets so that the visor is always safely attached.

For Star Wars aficionados, this helmet is a dream come true. While I was leading the Cozumel World championships during the ride, my coach’s tweet gained in popularity:

Follow Paulo Sousa on Twitter @pstriathlon

Multi-purpose helmet, can be used on the bike and on the job

Even still, compared to other helmets of similar aerodynamic quality, I prefer this design. It eschews an extended tail or excessively rounded shape. If this design had initiated its category of aerodynamic advancement, perhaps we triathletes would not be ridiculed for this aspect of our obsession with speed, however, the shaven legs would probably still be an issue.

This is the best helmet I have used, maybe in a class of its own. In aerodynamic testing, it significantly improves over almost all aero helmets. In transition it is fast and, with a bit of practice, has the potential to be very fast. The venting, while minimal, is effective and well designed; I felt good competing in the sweat box that was the Cozumel World Championships. The $250 price tag is competitive and if you are trying to save watts while staying cool, there is every reason to invest in the Giro Aerohead MIPS Helmet.

38872-medium_gregbillington1About the Author: Greg Billington is a 2016 triathlon Olympian. Billington began swimming, at age 8. He discovered track and cross country in high school, where he ran at Wake Forest University. Billington’s first international triathlon competition was in 2006 racing for the U.S. in the ITU Elite Junior Worlds. He is part of the USA Triathlon Project 2016 Squad and coached by the one and only, the USA Triathlon Certified Coach, Paulo Sousa.

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What’s the Point of Compression Clothing Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:39:54 +0000 Written by Nate Deck, TriSports Champion Team Athlete Knee high socks on a hot day? Compression tights? Those look uncomfortable. Those look goofy. That’s just one of those trends that will pass sooner or later. Maybe you have heard, thought, or even said some of these things. Let’s dive in and cut through the myths […]]]>

Written by Nate Deck, TriSports Champion Team Athlete

Knee high socks on a hot day? Compression tights? Those look uncomfortable. Those look goofy. That’s just one of those trends that will pass sooner or later. Maybe you have heard, thought, or even said some of these things. Let’s dive in and cut through the myths and misconceptions around compression apparel.

What Is Compression Clothing?
The first thing to know is that compression socks (or other clothing) are not just tight socks. Compression clothing has graded compression. The compression is tighter towards the extremities and gets looser as it gets closer to the core. That means compression socks will be tighter at the feet and ankles than they are at the calf and knee. This helps aid in blood flow from the extremities back to the heart.

The idea behind this comes from the medical field where compression clothing has been prescribed for patients at risk of blood clots for various reasons, such as sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, and so on. My brother was even prescribed compression socks because he was in such good shape aerobically, that after sitting for a long period of time he would pass out when he stood up due to blood pooling in his feet. Athletes took this concept of increased blood flow and realized that it would lead to more oxygen being available to the working muscles.


Does It Even Work?
The next question is obvious…do they even work? The answer is not as clear cut as some manufacturers would have you believe. While there are multiple studies on the topic, none of them are 100% conclusive. Some even conflict one another. On the one hand, many of the studies have been done in a lab setting, testing athletes in simulations of various activities of shorter duration and high intensity, such as 5K runs and even rugby. None of these showed a definite increase in performance, but some of them did show a quicker recovery with the use of compression socks or tights.

The most applicable test was performed at the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon in South Africa. What sets this test apart from the others was that it was performed in a real world scenario, as well as being the only test for a long distance event. The results showed the runners wearing compression socks averaged 12 minutes faster than those without them, and their muscles showed fewer signs of damage than the other runners. The runners were also tested 24 and 48 hours after the race. Those wearing compression gear were further along in their recovery than those without compression gear.

Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross pulls on compression sleeves before a 400-meter race at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Istanbul in 2012.
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross pulls on compression sleeves.

The scientist running the test, Elmarie Terblanche, indicated that the results are probably due to multiple things. First of all, during the race, the socks supported the muscles and reduced the amount of wear and tear throughout the event. Second, the recovery was also aided by this support allowing the muscles to heal in a pseudo soft cast. The final aspect was the increased blood flow, which, in turn, increased the speed of the natural healing functions in the muscles.

The take-away from this is that while compression gear may not give an immediate boost in performance, it may delay fatigue and prevent unnecessary muscle damage in longer events. It also helps speed up the recovery process, especially within the first 24 hours and when used in conjunction with other tried and true recovery methods like foam rolling, ice baths, and elevation.

Calf Sleeves
Compression Calf Sleeves

Should I Wear Them?
Ah, yes. The final question. Should I wear compression gear? Assuming you read the sections above, I would guess you can probably answer that for yourself. While I wouldn’t put them on for the first time on race day and expect a PR (aside from the whole “nothing new on race day” concept), I would say that using compression during and immediately after your long run is a safe bet for increased performance. Recovery is just as important as training. The ability to recover after a hard workout and hit the next one just as hard will definitely increase your performance if done consistently over time. Adding compression garments to your recovery arsenal is a good move if you get some quality gear and use it consistently.

About the Author: Nate is a husband, father, and teacher. When he’s not hanging out with teenagers he can be found swimming, biking, and running around central North Carolina or on twitter @n8deck.

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Choosing a Wetsuit: Buoyancy is not everything! Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:39:47 +0000 Written by Eric Levario, Age-Group Triathlete and Customer Service Specialist There is a lot of angst and a lot of questions that come up when looking for a wetsuit for triathlons. I emphasize “for triathlon” because these suits fit tight and allow minimal amounts of water in your suit. The term wetsuit implies that water […]]]>

Written by Eric Levario, Age-Group Triathlete and Customer Service Specialist


There is a lot of angst and a lot of questions that come up when looking for a wetsuit for triathlons. I emphasize “for triathlon” because these suits fit tight and allow minimal amounts of water in your suit. The term wetsuit implies that water will enter your suit and that is to be expected. Your body will warm this water and it will act as the insulating barrier when swimming in chilly water. If your suit lets in too much water, this will diminish the buoyancy your suit provides and may indicate your suit is too large.

Now how do you pick the right wetsuit for you? It seems easy to look at the sizing charts provided by Blueseventy or HUUB and see where you fit in their sizing charts. I caution you though; one person’s perfect fitting suit may feel too tight to another person. This has to do with general comfort levels and the experience of the triathlete in a triathlon wetsuit. It’s important to remember that these suits are going to feel tight. It may feel a little uncomfortable because it’s squeezing your chest and may give you the feeling of claustrophobia. The best advice I can give you is to do your best to get comfortable with a little discomfort. Walk around your living room with the wetsuit on, take a shower in it, and get it wet. What you’ll find is the suit will loosen a bit. When you feel comfortable, go for a swim. You’ll find that a suit that you thought did not fit you may actually be the perfect one for you. Here are some tips to consider when looking for a wetsuit.111

Buoyancy is not everything
Most triathlon wetsuits are made the same way. They have thin neoprene through the shoulders and neck, and thick neoprene on the low torso and legs. While this distribution of thicknesses seems perfect for those of us who drag our feet, it is not ideal for everyone. This distribution is made to correct a less than ideal swimming position by bringing the legs up, like a pool buoy. If you come from a swimming background or lead your masters swim practice, you may find that a traditional wetsuit lifts your hips too high. This gives the feeling that you’re swimming downhill. Contrary to the belief that this should be faster, it is slower and requires adjusting swimming form. If you already have a good hydrodynamic position, you do not need the additional flotation in your legs and hips. What you need is a uniform, buoyancy suit that offers balance. You may have worked hard to perfect your position. A balanced suit will provide the needed improvement in buoyancy in an effort to stay balanced in the water. You should not have to learn to swim in an unbalanced suit if you don’t need the help. You may have come across suits that are built different, like the new 2XU Ghost or the HUUB Archimedes 4:4. These suits have one thing in common; they don’t follow the usual construction of traditional triathlon wetsuits. These suits are designed for already strong swimmers who don’t need that extra lift.


Comfort is king 
I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a suit that fits properly. When selecting a suit based off a size chart, keep in mind that there was a model the suit was made after. This means the suit was made to fit a certain body that was likely not yours. When looking at a sizing chart, base your size guess from the weight chart, rather than the height. This will give you a better chance of finding a suit that will likely fit. It’s ok if you wear a size large wetsuit but usually wear a medium trisuit. If you’re comfortable, you’re usually faster. That’s all that matters in triathlon.

Don’t just go for the cheapest wetsuit
Wetsuit fit and comfort is a personal thing. You may look at a high-end wetsuit and think “That’s crazy! No suit is worth that much!” The difference between an entry-level wetsuit and a high-end suit is much more than just price. Entry-level suits are generally made with low-priced neoprene (a.k.a. rubber). This neoprene is very durable, but flexibility is limited. The majority of triathlon wetsuits are constructed with a certain type of neoprene called Yamamoto. They are generally constructed with one of three different grades. The three grades are Yamamoto 38, 39, and 40.

Yamamoto 38 is what the majority of entry-level suits are made with. It is durable, and the least expensive of Yamamoto rubber. This grade also has the least flexibility of the three. This rubber is used in the TYR Category C1 and C3. This will give you a very desirable price for an entry-level wetsuit. When getting into the sport of triathlon, it is a cost-effective way to get a suit without breaking the bank.


Yamamoto 39 is the mid to high level grade of rubber. This is used mostly in middle to high level wetsuits like the TYR Hurricane C5. One of the best “bang for your buck” materials, as it provides greater flexibility and gives up little in durability over Yamamoto 38. The rubber is more supple and will give you improved comfort through your swim.

Yamamoto 40 is a high-level grade of rubber. This rubber is very pricey and usually is only found in high dollar suits. These are the TYR Freak of Nature, Blueseventy Helix, Zone3 Victory D, and other top of the line suits that have a bit of sticker shock with them. This rubber has the most flexibility, is light in weight, and will feel the softest to touch. When a suit is made with this neoprene, the whole point of it is comfort and flexibility. With the flexibility, however, the suit is less durable and is more susceptible to damage from fingernail holes and tearing because of its supple material.

With these grades in mind, you may want to think about what is most important when deciding on a suit. For the majority of people, Yamamoto 38 and 39 are the best value for the money. When in doubt, try them on. You will not know how a suit really fits until you go for a swim with it.


Don’t just go for the most expensive wetsuit either
We know the attitude that the more money you spend the better quality product you’re going to get. In the case of wetsuits, some people feel that the highest dollar option will give them the best time-savings. This is not the case with wetsuits. While marketers can talk all day long about the features that their wetsuit has that will make you faster, more comfortable, and give more flexibility, the fit of your suit is much more important than how much you spend on it. A well-fitting, entry-level suit will ultimately be faster for you than an ill-fitting top of the line suit. This means that if you find comfort in a lower dollar wetsuit, you are not giving up much time to a high-end suit. We’re talking seconds for a full IRONMAN swim.

There are many wetsuits out there which can make these decisions difficult. Now you are better and more informed to make the right decision for you. Knowing how wetsuits are made and with what materials will help you weigh your options on which suit is the best bang for your buck. For some, that will be high-quality neoprene in the shoulders and neck. Others will look at the makeup of the suit to aid their swimming form. Whatever is most important, you will be able to make an educated decision on what these new wetsuits have to offer and what will give you the greatest benefits.

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2XU Compression: The “Cankle” Killer… Tue, 16 Aug 2011 23:49:37 +0000 Does compression really work? The studies are published. Everybody is wearing it. We challenge 2XU to prove it – and grow some ugly “cankles” doing it.]]>

By Tom Demerly.

Compression is a strong trend in multisport- but what does it really do? We do a street level test to see the benefits.

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Compression garments: Do they “work”? What does “work” really mean? Is it a triathlon fashion fad?

I love equipment but I’m a cynic. I need proof that something like tight-fitting clothes provides a significant performance/recovery benefit. I’ve seen the studies and sat through the tech clinics. I wanted to experience the benefits of compression first hand- if they are real.

The brands that sell technical compression garments provide university medical studies that “prove” compression speeds recovery, improves circulation, reduces fatigue and improves proprioception (your sense of where your body is in space). What I set out to discover was: Does compression provide me- personally- the guy on the street, with any tangible benefit?

“Does compression provide me- personally- the guy on the street, with any benefit?”

2XU or “Two Times You” was founded in the sports mad city of Melbourne, Australia. The company and its name reflect their mission to advance human performance through their equipment- to literally give you “Two Times You(r)” capabilities.

2XU compression socks are tuned for activity, activity/recovery and for recovery using different graduated levels of compression.

Last year Chris Sinkovich and Richard Verney of 2XU sensed my cynicism about compression. I dismissed the compression category as a great money maker, but a fad. The two bristled. An exchange of e-mails, visits and phone calls took place over the next few months until I finally told the guys from 2XU: “Guys, it’s a nicely made product- but I would need to experience any benefits for myself. “ I was finally off the hook. I thought.

Two days later a box and an e-mail showed up. Sinkovich and Verney of 2XU challenged me to disprove the university findings about the benefit of compression. It was on.

The claims about compression benefits are lofty:

  • Increased circulation.
  • Faster Recovery.
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased muscle compression reducing unwanted muscle oscillation
  • Improved Proprioception.
  • Temperature and moisture management.

For the 2012 season 2XU has introduced three levels of compression performance:

  1. 2XU PERFORM: The active/movement line. Compression for exercise to control muscle damage and provide full range of motion and proprioception in action/endurance sports and manage moisture and heat.
  1. 2XU XFORM: For active recovery. These garments use graduated compression to further enhance recovery while retaining the benefits of the Perform line.
  1. 2XU REFRESH: For recovery. Powerful and graduated compression to reduce inflammation and facilitate recovery through fluid return.

For my test I used the 2XU Men’s Recovery Compression Tights, the 2XU Compression Recovery Sock, the 2XU Swim Recovery Compression Top and the 2XU Compression Race Sock.

Testing physiological response to recovery garments is a slippery slope that delves into constants and trials, protocols and other rigmarole. That’s in the university studies published on 2XU’s website. My test would be a trial to see if I could find/feel/see a benefit. It’s not science, it’s anecdotal.

“I wanted to see if wearing compression made me feel any better”

In the short term I wanted to see if wearing compression made me feel any better and if there was a tangible difference using compression. The recovery claims were of particular interest. I decided to take two weeks off running after a hard two months, then resume running and use the compression to manage the residual soreness.

It’s hot in Tucson. A requirement of exercising here is constant hydration. I drink at least 3-4 liters of water per day, much more on days with a bike commute and a longer run. The water produces edema, or inflammation of the lower extremities. I’ve had this in deserts around the world, from the Sahara to the Wadi Rum in Jordan. Edema is a function of acclimating to exercise in the heat. It is a particular concern for athletes travelling to a race in a different climate, especially after a long flight. Here in Tucson it wasn’t difficult for me to induce some wicked edema and grow some epic cankles.

“…it wasn’t difficult to induce some wicked edema and grow some epic cankles.”

For my first run I banged out 5.5 miles on the River Trail behind my house, a perfect desert proving ground. Temperature was high 90’s with the monsoon season humidity building. That night, my legs ached. Experience told me in the morning they would be worse. I put one 2XU Compression Recovery Sock on my right foot. I put my normal shoes and boots on my left foot. The following afternoon this is what I got:

Edema from training in heat after time off. I wore a 2XU compression sock on the right foot, and regular running socks on the left foot.

There was substantial inflammation in my left lower leg. The leg was larger in circumference and felt inflamed and “heavy”: The right leg below the knee, where the 2XU Compression Recovery Sock was, had less inflammation and was visibly smaller. I’ve had surgeries on both legs going back decades ago. The 2XU Compression Recovery Sock on the right leg prevented the edema and inflammation I had on the left leg.

“Nearly all of the inflammation from my left leg had gone down overnight while wearing the 2XU recovery tights.”

I found the sizing charts on the 2XU product to be very precise.

Next step was to use recovery while sleeping. I wore the 2XU Men’s Recovery Compression Tights while sleeping after verifying my fit on the packaging size chart. I found the 2XU size charts on their packaging to be accurate. Nearly all of the inflammation from my left leg had gone down overnight. My legs were sore, but it was more joint pain than muscle pain. The level of muscle discomfort compared to using no compression and coming back to running was lower.

2XU recovery tights allow active recovery even- and especially- while sleeping, speeding recovery for your next workout.

Finally, the following morning I got up, drank a liter of cold water, changed into the 2XU Compression Race Sock and did my long commute to work; 19.5 miles around Davis-Monthan AFB. I. I rode hard in rising temperatures already above 85 degrees. At work I racked my bike, took my shoes off, shot one photo in the 2XU Compression Race Sock, pulled the socks off, and stepped in front of the camera again. Less than 24 hours after the “cankle” photo this is how my legs looked:

Before and after. Not only is the edema from the left leg completely gone (right), it is easy to see that both legs appear leaner and retain less fluid. My legs felt lighter and more comfortable after wearing 2XU compression.

“…compression does provide a reduction of soreness and inflammation for me.”

My take-away is that compression does provide a tangible benefit in reduction of soreness and inflammation for me. The results feel more significant than any other recovery product I’ve used, including anti-inflammatories, aspirin and (unfortunately) even massage.

2XU compression sleeves for racing help reduce vibration, especially during the bike to run transition.

In retrospect I think Verney and Sinkovich knew they were shooting fish in a barrel with this project. I was an easy target because compression has easily verifiable benefits. In my role as a product review editor I see a lot of products that promise but don’t deliver. Three (other products) are in my cubicle right now. You never read about those because we don’t buy them, don’t publish the review. Verney and Sinkovich proved to me that 2XU Compression does provide a verifiable benefit to me, or perhaps I proved it to myself. In both cases my paradigm about compression as being trendy and fashionable among last-decade triathletes has been aptly shifted. For me, 2XU Compression provides tangible benefits

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