The efficacy of and mechanisms behind the widespread use of lower-leg compression as an ergogenic aid to improve running performance are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine whether wearing graduated lower-leg compression sleeves during exercise evokes changes in running economy (RE), perhaps due to altered gait mechanics. Sixteen highly trained male distance runners completed 2 separate RE tests during a single laboratory session, including a randomized-treatment trial of graduated calf-compression sleeves (CS; 15–20 mm Hg) and a control trial (CON) without compression sleeves. RE was determined by measuring oxygen consumption at 3 constant submaximal speeds of 233, 268, and 300 m/min on a treadmill. Running mechanics were measured during the last 30 s of each 4-min stage of the RE test via wireless triaxial 10-g accelerometer devices attached to the top of each shoe. Ground-contact time, swing time, step frequency, and step length were determined from accelerometric output corresponding to foot-strike and toe-off events. Gait variability was calculated as the standard deviation of a given gait variable for an individual during the last 30 s of each stage. There were no differences in VO2 or kinematic variables between CON and CS trials at any of the speeds. Wearing lower-leg compression does not alter the energetics of running at submaximal speeds through changes in running mechanics or other means. However, it appears that the individual response to wearing lower-leg compression varies greatly and warrants further examination.
Abigail S.L. Stickford, Robert F. Chapman, Jeanne D. Johnston and Joel M. Stager
Jason R. Karp, Jeanne D. Johnston, Sandra Tecklenburg, Timothy D. Mickleborough, Alyce D. Fly and Joel M. Stager
Nine male, endurance-trained cyclists performed an interval workout followed by 4 h of recovery, and a subsequent endurance trial to exhaustion at 70% VO2max, on three separate days. Immediately following the first exercise bout and 2 h of recovery, subjects drank isovolumic amounts of chocolate milk, fluid replacement drink (FR), or carbohydrate replacement drink (CR), in a single-blind, randomized design. Carbohydrate content was equivalent for chocolate milk and CR. Time to exhaustion (TTE), average heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and total work (WT) for the endurance exercise were compared between trials. TTE and WT were significantly greater for chocolate milk and FR trials compared to CR trial. The results of this study suggest that chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid between two exhausting exercise bouts.