MCS – the Next Gen Compression
Australian National Champion Powerlifter, in consultation with Troy Flanagan, Ph.D. , High Performance Director, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).
It’s time to power up to the next generation of compression
First there was sports compression. Then 2XU improved on it by using the highest grade Invista Lycra® in a 360° circular knit to produce graduated compression for increased blood circulation. Next, 2XU developed Elite Compression exclusively for recovery, and compression with Muscle Containment Stamping (MCS). Now 2XU introduces compression that is specific to the type of activity you do.
You know it just makes sense
Many brands make sports compression. It feels tight, it feels comfortable, it feels like a nice warm hug. But we all know that a warm hug before a game or a race won’t help you slip out of that tackle from the forward who’s got 15kg on you. It won’t help you pick up your screaming, sore legs in the final straight, and it sure as hell won’t make a lick of difference when it’s time to pull out that extra rep or interval in training that keeps you improving. 2XU’s MCS sport-specific range is the real deal – it has you covered to help you perform at your best, avoid injury and reduce fatigue.
Think about sports shoes
They all have a sole, an inner sole and an upper. Apart from these features, there are countless variations that make a shoe for one activity different to a shoe for another activity. Even just in running and field/court sports, shoes will vary based on the duration and speed of the activity, whether you jump a lot or frequently change direction, or whether there’s a lot of impact or resistance against forces such as opposing players. 2XU is the first company to consider the demands of different sports actions and apply these variations to develop sport-specific compression, with a range now including MCS compression for running, football, basketball and cross training. Run, jump, sprint, swerve, brace for impact, power through a weight – each movement creates a different stress on your muscles and requires different muscle recruitment patterns. Now your compression can provide a precisely placed and specific type of support to your muscle groups, fascia and joints that is targeted to your activity.
The Muscle Containment Stamping advantage
2XU MCS compression is based on the brand’s Elite Compression system, which uses different weights (strengths) of compression in panels that cover targeted muscle groups so you get a combination of flexibility and support where you need it most. MCS takes this one step further. Breaking it down, Muscle Containment Stamping (or “mapping”) is a patterned elastic-style material that lines the underside of the compression fabric in order to provide an extra, targeted area of compression without any excessive bulk. Because the stamping is its own layer – that is, it’s additional to the fabric, not within it – it can be applied precisely where needed to support muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia groups for specific actions. More compression more accurately shaped to your anatomy means extra support to key muscle areas and a greater reduction in muscle oscillation (vibration) to reduce muscle fatigue, energy wastage and muscle soreness.
Get all the support you need
When it came to sport-specific MCS, the team at the 2XU tech lab considered a number of factors that make sports and their training activities different. They looked at the speed of muscle recruitment required and the level of fatigue that can be expected in the muscle, and whether repeat bouts of exertion were a feature. They considered the range of motion required through the muscles and joints, and the directional movement required.
They examined where support was necessary for the stability of joints and muscles, and where increased compression could assist in the repeat production of power or reactive forces. Through all this, nothing from the high standard of 2XU compression was sacrificed. All the sport-specific MCS compression still provides unmatched protection against muscle trauma and greater protection against blood pooling post-activity for a better recovery. Like all 2XU compression, MCS compression helps regulate body temperature, wicks sweat away from the skin, improves blood flow to the heart, and provides antibacterial and SPF 50+ UV protection. Now let’s look at the MCS sports range.
The MCS Run Compression Tights and shorts are targeted at endurance running, with the Muscle Containment Stamping set in a way to support key muscles against fatigue and strain while also reducing the stress of repetitive impact. These enhancements over thousands of steps can help turn an OK run into a perfect run.
Here’s what every runner wants to hear – MCS Run Compression helps protect your knees. Thigh/quadricep mapping is positioned to help dissipate the load transfer on the knee every time your foot strikes the ground, which helps reduce knee joint wear and tear. The increase in blood flow from the compression also heightens proprioception and other biofeedback to the connective tissue around the knee joint, so your body reacts and adjusts to your pace, impact forces and the lay of the ground (uphill, downhill, uneven) to protect your knees.
Mapping over the calf/gastrocnemius reduces the risk of strains by supporting the muscle, especially through the toe-off (or propulsion) phase, plus it reduces the fatigue that builds up through muscle oscillation (vibration) that occurs as ground reaction forces go up through the lower leg.
The unusually dynamic nature of basketball sees players jump, land and make obscene changes of direction, all interspersed with explosive bursts of sprinting that often screech to a dead halt. MCS Basketball Compression Tights help players out with targeted support to protect against strain and injury for greater power that can be sustained for longer. The hamstring mapping has been designed to reduce impact during the acceleration and deceleration phases of running, and this works in conjunction with the mapping at the glutes to both support and help produce power through the hips for jumping and shooting. The placement and pattern of mapping through the calves takes into account the support needed for balance and speed to move fast in any direction, and the constant contraction of the calves this requires when combined with constant running, weaving and jumping.
Football – and that’s any of the four codes – brings some unique challenges when it comes to developing sport-specific compression. A prime example is the stress placed on the achilles tendon from forward-leaning positions – picking up a ball while running, contact with other players, scrums or rucks – which is why the calf mapping on the MCS Football Compression Tights extends over a portion of the achilles. The Muscle Containment Stamping on both the tights and the shorts goes over the adductor muscles to help reduce the incidence of inner thigh, groin and hip strain triggered by the sudden contraction of muscles during explosive or weighted sprints – like when you have the added resistance of an opponent hanging onto you – rapid changes of direction and jumping. For accurate, powerful kicking all game long, you want your compression to provide stability to the muscles so you can line up the kick, and reduce fatigue and strain in the muscles. MCS Football pumps up the support at the quad to facilitate a powerful knee lift for the kick, while mapping at the glutes on the shorts extends from hamstrings to glutes and out over the hip to support the lower back and hips.
MCS Cross Training
MCS Cross Training has more stamping than any other product in the MCS range, which reflects its emphasis on supporting key muscles under impact from dynamic movements, high intensity interval training and heavy lifting. The tights spread the mapping over four target areas – the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. At the glutes, the mapping is shaped to encourage activation of the glute muscles and postural awareness to help stabilise your lower back and keep your hips steady and aligned. The mapping at the hamstrings helps reduce muscle strain from lifting and squatting movements so you can turn up for your next session without feeling overly stiff and sore. At the quads, the mapping is positioned to reduce the effects of impact forces from running, jumping and other lower body power movements, while at the calves the mapping helps prevent post-training soreness or injury that can come from frequent bouts of acceleration and deceleration while running.
The tops target the trapezius to protect against strain in and around the rotator cuff (shoulder) that can come from pressing motions with resistance and overhead lifts. Mapping over the chest also helps brace the shoulder via the additional compression occurring either side of the shoulder, to limit tension on the rotator cuff. A third area of mapping is positioned along the lattisimus dorsi (“lats”) to encourage you to hold good posture during resistance training and help reduce muscle strain through the lower back from lifting weights.
Reduce injury and hold off fatigue by choosing MCS compression to generate strength, power, agility and speed specific to your sport.