I've never been convincd by the science behind the concept of compression gear for recovery, though I admit my knowledge on the subject is limited, but I have always been keen to give it a try unfortunately the cost of compression gear always seemed to high to be justifiable for what I perceived as minimal gains. So I was given a compression top by a friend who it didn't fit and decided to give it a shot. I believe the idea is that it increases blood flow therefore reducing inflammation and soreness allowing for quicker recovery.
The short answer is yes it works...depending on what you want it for. The friday I tested it went something like this...
I had already a sore upper body from a workout earlier in the week and from swimming on thursday, I then swam 2k of various drills on friday morning, I was sore and struggled to maintain a smooth motion but it was a good swim nonetheless - I had a coached session planned for the evening so used the top straight after the session for the morning.
First of all, it is tight, very tight but not uncomfortable in normal wearing - I tend to feel quite bloated after hard swimming so having it tight on the stomach is not ideal, but after 45 minutes or so I was fine. I wore it under work clothes and it was actually really comfortable, I like the feeling of tight clothing after a hard workout so felt better straight away - this being more of a placebo effect than any actual recovery I would imagine. I wore it until lunchtime, when I was getting too hot to keep wearing two layers.
I then wore it up to the pool for 8 o'clock and afterwards - I really noticed how much better I felt swimming, there was no arm soreness or tiredness and I felt a lot fresher than I had in the morning. As of Saturday morning I had lost all the DOMS from the earlier session in the week as well.
So yes I think it does work and I would reccomend it if you have the spare cash (though a quick ebay scan shows lots of cheap no-brand compression gear) as with anything triathlon - the cost/benefit needs to be analysed otherwise you could spend a fortune!
The only caveats to this is that the early morning swim on friday may have refreshed by arms therefore leaving me feeling better for the evening, the evening session was also a lower intensity so felt easier anyway!
I used a Canterbury Ionx long sleeve top and I think I will get some of the tights too, they were that good!
Hope this helps...