The evidence is accumulating!

The evidence is accumulating!

Under Pressure — The Answer/Debate

Increased performance - the jury is still out!  Despite widespread use of compression clothing by competitive and everyday athletes, studies supporting their performance enhancing abilities are inconclusive at this point. Some studies appear to show significantly inproved performance when wearing compression garmets but most of these are relatively small studies and not strictly controlled for a placebo effect. Since there is no real downside or harmful effect, even if improvement is from a placebo effect, that may alone be worth giving them a try. Plus - they just feel good!  

Improved recovery - most likely true! In contrast to direct improvement in athletic performance, evidence showing these garments improve workout recovery is significantly more substantial. Compression clothing can enhance overall circulation, helping speed muscle recovery time post-exercise. Worn after exercise, that extra squeeze has also been shown to reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness. And in one study, wearing a whole body compression suit for 24-hours following a workout showed enhanced recovery compared with a non-compressive control (in both men and women) although I may pass on that! 

Here is a list of studies if you are interested.

  1. Compression stockings reduce occupational leg swelling. Partsch, H., Winiger, J., Lun, B. Department of Dermatology, University of Vienna, Austria. Dermatologic Surgery, 2004 May;30(5):737-43; discussion 743. [?]
  2. Compression stockings for the initial treatment of varicose veins in patients without venous ulceration. Shingler, S., Robertson, L., Boghossian, S., et al. Public Health Sciences, The Medical School, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews, 2011 Nov 9;(11):CD008819. [?]
  3. Pressure prediction model for compression garment design. Leung, W.Y., Yuen, D.W., Ng, S.P., et al. Department of Mechanical Engineering and †Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 2010 Sep-Oct;31(5):716-27. [?]
  4. Wearing a sports compression garment on the performance of visuomotor tracking following eccentric exercise: a pilot study. Pearce, A.J., Kidgell, D.J., Grikepelis, L.A., et al. Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport, Victoria University, Australia. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2009 Jul;12(4):500-2. [?]
  5. Compression garments and exercise: garment considerations, physiology and performance. MacRae, B.A., Cotter, J.D., Laing, R.M. Clothing and Textile Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Sports Medicine, 2011 Oct 1;41(10):815-43. [?]
  6. Compression garments and exercise: garment considerations, physiology and performance. MacRae, B.A., Cotter, J.D., Laing, R.M. Clothing and Textile Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Sports Medicine, 2011 Oct 1;41(10):815-43. [?]
  7. Compression garments and exercise: garment considerations, physiology and performance. MacRae, B.A., Cotter, J.D., Laing, R.M. Clothing and Textile Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Sports Medicine, 2011 Oct 1;41(10):815-43. [?]
  8. Effects of compression textiles on performance enhancement and recovery. Sperlich, B., Born, D.P., Haegele, M., et al. Fachgebiet Sportwissenschaft, Bergische Universität Wuppertal. Sportverletz Sportschaden, 2011 Dec;25(4):227-34. [?]
  9. The effects of wearing undersized lower-body compression garments on endurance running performance. Dascombe, B.J., Hoare, T.K., Sear, J.A., et al. Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, NSW, Australia. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2011 Jun;6(2):160-73. [?]
  10. Aerobic energy cost and sensation responses during submaximal running exercise–positive effects of wearing compression tights. Bringard, A., Perrey, S., Belluye, N. EA 2991 Efficience et Déficience Motrices, Montpellier, France. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006 May;27(5):373-8. [?]
  11. Different types of compression clothing do not increase sub-maximal and maximal endurance performance in well-trained athletes. Sperlich, B., Haegele, M., Achtzehn, S., et al. Institute of Training Science and Sport Informatics, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2010 Apr;28(6):609-14. [?]
  12. Aerobic energy cost and sensation responses during submaximal running exercise–positive effects of wearing compression tights. Bringard, A., Perrey, S., Belluye, N. EA 2991 Efficience et Déficience Motrices, Montpellier, France. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006 May;27(5):373-8. [?]
  13. Compression sleeves increase tissue oxygen saturation but not running performance. Ménétrier, A., Mourot, L., Bouhaddi, M., et al. EA 3920 Physiopathologie Cardiovasculaire et Prévention, IFR 133, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 2011 Nov;32(11):864-8. [?]
  14. Wearing a sports compression garment on the performance of visuomotor tracking following eccentric exercise: a pilot study. Pearce, A.J., Kidgell, D.J., Grikepelis, L.A., et al. Centre for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport, Victoria University, Australia. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2009 Jul;12(4):500-2. [?]
  15. The effects of compression garments on recovery. Davies, V., Thompson, K.G., Cooper, S.M. Sports Council for Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2009 Sep;23(6):1786-94. [?]
  16. Lower limb compression garment improves recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in young, active females. Jakeman, J.R., Byrne, C., Eston, R.G. School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, UK. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2010 Aug;109(6):1137-44. [?]
  17. Effects of a whole body compression garment on markers of recovery after a heavy resistance workout in men and women. Kraemer, W.J., Flanagan, S.D., Comstock, B.A., et al. Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2010 Mar;24(3):804-14. [?]
  18. Effects of compression textiles on performance enhancement and recovery. Sperlich, B., Born, D.P., Haegele, M., et al. Fachgebiet Sportwissenschaft, Bergische Universität Wuppertal. Sportverletz Sportschaden, 2011 Dec;25(4):227-34. [?]

 

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