Millan, I. S., Gonzalex-Haro, C., Bing, K., Brill, C., & Hill, J. C. (2013). Randomized controlled feasibility trial of micro-mobile compression versus passive recovery on performance and lactate clearance in competitive cyclists. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 614.

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This study compared the effects of micro-mobile compression to passive recovery on post-exercise lactate clearance and time to exhaustion during subsequent bouts of high-intensity exercise in competitive male cyclists (N = 16). Ss were randomized to micro-mobile compression (Active, N = 8) or passive recovery (Control, N = 8) following high-intensity exercise. Micro-mobile compression is a technology incorporated into a comfortable shoe that provides pulsatile compression to the arch of the foot, compressing the venous plexus, and increasing venous return. The micro-mobile compression device is automatically activated during nonweight-bearing and deactivated when standing or walking. On day 1, Ss performed a maximal graded exercise test on an electrically braked cycle ergometer. Following the test, Ss recovered while sitting for 1 hour with the Active group using micro-mobile compression. Blood lactate levels were measured every 10 minutes to asses lactate clearance capacity. Following the recovery period and upon returning home, Ss were instructed to remain sedentary for 3 hours with the Active group wearing micro-mobile compression during this period. On days 2 and 3, a time-to-exhaustion test was performed on the cycle ergometer at 85% peak power output established from day 1. Post-exercise recovery methods were identical to those during day 1.

Compliance with micro-mobile compression was 100% and no complications or discomfort was reported. Area under the lactate curve was 12%, 5%, and 12% smaller on days 1, 2, and 3, respectively, comparing the active to inactive controls. Lactate at 60 minutes post-exercise ranged from 16% to 22% lower across study days with Active vs. Control. Median time to exhaustion was 11% higher (17.0 vs. 15.1 min) on day 2 and 14% higher (14.2 vs. 12.2 min) on day 3 in the micro-mobile compression group. Standardized effect sizes for micro-mobile compression across all testing sessions were 0.5 for lactate clearance and 0.5 for time to exhaustion, both representative of a medium clinical effect compared to passive recovery.

Implication. Postexercise recovery with micro-mobile compression results in faster lactate clearance after intense exercise and meaningful improvements in performance during subsequent high-intensity exercise bouts when compared to no-treatment passive recovery. [It is not possible to differentiate the effects of micro-mobile compression and active recovery for contributing to the effects. To evaluate micro-mobile compression the control group needed to perform an identical active recovery but without the micro-mobile compression.]

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