What you wear to and from training isn’t a fashion statement – it’s all about letting your body maintain a comfortably warm temperature so that it performs and recovers to the best of its ability. When the weather’s cold, you need all the help you can get from clothing that traps your body heat, while still ‘breathing’ enough to let sweat vapour escape. It should also be thin, light and flexible enough to allow plenty of movement for warming up, cool down drills and stretching.


The warm up starts before you get your body into action – here’s how your choice of clothes helps.

  • Clothes that insulate your body prior to warm-up help promotes thinner synovial fluid in the joints so that they can hit a better range of motion faster, which lowers your risk of injury.
  • Compression clothing that covers the most important muscle groups for your activity will improve your awareness of the biofeedback going to your muscles and connective tissue. That means your coordination, agility and sure footedness clicks into place quicker, and you have greater awareness of posture and body positioning. 2XU's Elite MCS Compression has extra compression mapped to the key muscles for your sport, which will give you even greater biofeedback to the muscles during warm-up. If you don’t want to keep it on during your session or event, check out the sleeve-style Force Compression Arm Guards and Light Speed Compression Calf Guards, which can both be whipped off in a jiffy without the need to remove any other clothes.
  • In many sports and races, the real challenge comes in staying warm in the gap between your warm-up and launching into your sport or event. In high power events lasting five minutes or less (or sports that have “bursts” of activity), increased muscle temperature can improve power output. One study reported a 4 per cent increase in vertical jump power for every degree increase in muscle temperature, while in cycling, peak power output improved up to 10per cent for every degree increase. The research showed demonstrated how important “passive heating” (e.g. with warm clothes) is between warm-up and activity or between bouts of activity when it comes to hitting – and maintaining – peak performance. Even for long endurance events, rugging up after warm-up will help you get a powerful start to give you better positioning in the group.

How Warming Up Helps Prepare Your Body

Now that you know what to wear for a good warm-up and some of the benefits of keeping your muscles warm before doing your exercise routine, let’s dive a little deeper into exactly how warming up helps prepare your body for a workout or training session.

Most simply put, warming up is a way to both physically and mentally prepare your body for the physical activity you are about to perform. It may seem excessive to warm up if you are only going on a light jog or short bike ride but never doubt the importance of proper body and mind preparation for even minor workouts. 

When you warm up, which can include cardio, static stretching, or any other type of light movement, your heart rate and blood flow will increase in response to that movement. Because oxygen travels to your muscles via your bloodstream, this will also help promote oxygen circulation and ensure your working muscles have the supply they need to function properly. 

Taking part in any form of static or dynamic stretching is also a great way to improve your range of motion and limit the risk of injury from potential overextension. Warm-ups will also signal to your brain that it is time to get moving, forming a connection between your nerves and muscles so your body is prepared to take on your real workout. 

Wearing warmer layers or compression gear, as discussed above, will help support blood flow even more, making sure you are as ready to move as possible. 

Warm-Up Exercise Tips

One of the great things about warm-ups is that they don’t require any equipment. You can easily prepare your body thoroughly for a workout by performing stationary or equipment-less exercises in any location. 

If you are struggling to find ideas of what to do to warm up, here are a few suggestions to get you started: 

  • Light stretching exercises of both general muscles and the muscles you are planning to use (lower and upper body)
  • Walking or jogging in place or around the block
  • Any mild exercises such as lunges, squats, or arm circles
  • Jumping rope
  • Mild-intensity cardio exercises

If you are training with a group or working with any kind of coach or personal trainer, feel free to ask what they recommend for warm-up exercises as well. But in general, a well-balanced brief session of some cardio and some stretching will usually provide you with a solid base for your workout. 


Let your body cool down gently, and use compression as ‘passive recovery’.

  • Post-exercise “shivers”, muscle spasms, stiffness – cooling down too rapidly after training can be a big contributor to all these. Here’s how it works. When you stop exercising, your heat loss is going to be greater than your heat production. That’s fine at first, because if your core body temperature drops too much or too quickly, your blood vessels can begin to constrict, restricting blood flow to and from the muscles. This over-rapid cooling is worse in people with bodies that have a relatively high surface area, such as tall, lean people, and most women.
  • Wearing compression clothing after exercise can prevent excessive soreness and muscle damage from hard training sessions, according to several studies, including Massey University research on compression socks and running performance. A report published by Ausport explained that this happens due to a reduction in post-exercise swelling in muscles and joints, and better clearance of the biochemical indicators of muscle fatigue and muscle damage.
  • Compression is also part of the classic RICE recovery method. This includes Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation and is proven to help soothe discomfort, swelling, and muscle soreness. Applying all four concepts also has the potential to support healing injuries such as sprains or pulled muscles and can even maintain your flexibility. 
  • 2XU has specific Recovery Compression in a range of styles to suit your taste and comfort, but it all comes in a thicker, stronger gradient compression than other 2XU ranges of compression, designed to promote increased blood flow for faster recovery when you’re not moving as much.

Read on to discover more about our unique recovery compression gear. 

2XU Recovery Compression 

At 2XU, we recognize the value of the athlete’s recovery process and aim to support your post-workout needs with our range of recovery compression. These garments are designed to help your body maintain enough blood flow to begin its recovery process, along with managing the build-up of fluids such as lactic acid to soothe soreness and discomfort as much as possible. 

Our range of recovery compression is sure to help provide you with the best post-workout feel you’ve had yet. It can also support recovery so you can get back to work as quickly as possible. 

Power Recovery Compression Tights

Options include the all-intensive Power Recovery Compression Tights, which are made with elements of Muscle Containment Stamping technology to provide targeted muscle relief and support. An over-the-foot stirrup will also help ensure blood flow is supported from your furthest extremities back up into your heart. 

Refresh Recovery Compression Tights

Try our Refresh Recovery Compression Tights for a more moderate but still extremely effective leg recovery option. The graduated level of compression is geared to support circulation and manage any unwanted lactic acid in your muscles. 

Recovery Flex Leg Sleeves

If you want an easy on-and-off option that still provides targeted support to your leg muscles, check out the Recovery Flex Leg Sleeves. These will work great under any workout shorts or pants and help your body recover. 

Compression Socks for Recovery

If you’re hoping to find feet, ankle, and lower leg relief either from a tough workout or simply from a long day of standing, our Compression Socks for Recovery will help ease your tired feet while supporting healthy blood flow. They are also designed to be comfortable, with a seamlessly linked toe cage and padded zones. 

Cool Down Exercise Tips 

It can be easy to be so exhausted from the workout that you want to skip a proper cool-down and just go home instead. But remember, how you choose to handle your post-workout recovery process will greatly impact your level of comfort between this training session and the next. 

Cool-downs can be as simple as dynamic warm-ups, with both stationary and equipment-free options for all athletes. To begin your cool-down, you can simply perform your current exercise at a less intense level. For example, runners might gradually switch from running to jogging to brisk walking. Cyclists might simply slow their pedaling speed and allow more time for gliding. 

No matter your sport, there is value to be found in stretching out both the specific and general muscles you use after you’ve finished your workout. Stretching can also help signal to your brain that it is time to resume a resting state, ensuring both your body and mind are aligned. 

In general, cool-downs will help slowly lower your heart rate back to its resting rate without the jarring, abrupt halt that a lack of a cool-down would enact upon you. The gradual process of going from an active state to a resting one gives your body time to adjust to new activity levels and will help you be better prepared for your next workout. 


Keep your body primed for action then stay warm once you’re done and dusted with this great gear from 2XU.

  • Get a full range of motion and hold body heat with the highly breathable Commute Full Zip Hoodie or the Commute Crew. Need a little more? Try the Commute Track Pants, which uses 2XU's outstanding moisture-wicking fleece or extra warmth.
  • If you’re out in the elements, the Light Speed WP Jacket will keep you dry and block the wind chill, but it’s still lightweight enough to give you plenty of freedom to move.
  • For temperatures down to zero or less, the Utility Insulation Vest will retain heat in your trunk and neck, while the Utility Insulation Jacket is armed with the insulating power of is a slim fit jacket with a featherless filling, a detachable hood, and fleece-lined pockets to keep your hands toasty.

Faulkner, S. and others (2013) Reducing muscle temperature drop after warm-up improves sprint cycling performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45(2): 359-365. Ali, A.; Creasy, R. H.; Edge, J. A., The effect of graduated compression stockings on running performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (5), 1385-1392. Calder, Angela, Australian Sports Commission; Compressive clothing and recovery, Applied Sports Knowledge, Vol.8, No. 2.


Warm-up and cool-down | NHS inform.