Compression garments reduce muscle movement and activation during sub-maximal running

Posted on January 15, 2020 by

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of three different commercially-available lower-limb sports compression garments in reducing muscle displacement, soft-tissue vibrations, and muscle activation during running.

At a glance:

  • Compression tights reduce muscle displacement during submaximal treadmill running
  • Wearing compression garments may increase damping of soft-tissue vibrations during running
  • Reductions in muscle vibrations and activation had no effect on markers of running economy

 

Full reference and abstract:

Broatch, J. R., Brophy-Williams, N., Phillips, E. J., O’Bryan, S. J., Halson, S. L., Barnes, S. & Bishop, D. J. (2019). Compression garments reduce muscle movement and activation during submaximal running. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Epub ahead of print.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of sports compression tights in reducing muscle movement and activation during running.

METHODS: A total of 27 recreationally-active males were recruited across two separate studies. For study one, 13 participants (mean ± SD; 84.1 ± 9.4 kg, 22 ± 3 y) completed two 4-min treadmill running bouts (2 min at 12 km.h-1 and 15 km.h-1) under two conditions; a no-compression control (CON1) and compression (COMP). For study two, 14 participants (77.8 ± 8.4 kg, 27 ± 5 y) completed four 9-min treadmill running bouts (3 min at 8 km.h-1, 10 km.h-1, and 12 km.h-1) under four conditions; a no-compression control (CON2) and three different commercially-available compression tights (2XU; Nike; Under Armor, UA). Using Vicon 3D motion capture technology, lower-limb muscle displacement was investigated in both study one (thigh and calf) and two (vastus lateralis + medialis, VAS; lateral + medial gastrocnemius, GAS). In addition, study two investigated the effects of compression on soft-tissue vibrations (root mean square of resultant acceleration, RMS Ar), muscle activation (iEMG), and running economy (oxygen consumption, V̇O2) during treadmill running.

RESULTS: Wearing compression during treadmill running reduced thigh and calf muscle displacement as compared with no compression (both studies), which was evident across all running speeds. Compression also reduced RMS Ar and iEMG during treadmill running, but had no effect on running economy (study two).

CONCLUSION: Lower-limb compression garments are effective in reducing muscle displacement, soft-tissue vibrations, and muscle activation associated with the impact forces experienced during running.

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