Hamlin, M. J., & de Glanville, K. M. (2009). Positive effect of compression garments on subsequent 40-km time-trial performance. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, Presentation Number 735.

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Sports compression garments are used increasingly by athletes of all abilities and disciplines in the perceived view that these garments give them an advantage in training and competition. However, the effect of compression garments worn either during or after exercise on performance is equivocal. This study investigated if wearing compression garments during recovery improved subsequent 40-km time-trial performance. Well-trained multi-sport athletes (M = 15; F = 3) were given a graduated full-leg-length compressive garment (76% Meryl Elastane, 24% Lycra) or a similar-looking non-compressive control garment (92% Polyester, 8% Spandex) to wear continuously for 24 hours after performing an initial 40-km time-trial. After 24 hours, a second time-trial was completed to gauge the effect of each garment on subsequent endurance performance. One week later the groups were reversed and testing procedures repeated.

When compared to the non-compressive control garment, the compressive garment increased average power output over the subsequent 40-km time-trial by ~2.2%. The mean time to complete the 40 km decreased by ~29 seconds in the compressive compared to the non-compressive manipulation.

Implication. Wearing a graduated compressive garment during recovery is likely to be beneficial and very unlikely to be harmful for well-trained endurance athletes.

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