The Effects of Compression-Garment Pressure on Recovery After Strenuous Exercise

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Jessica Hill
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Glyn Howatson
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Ken van Someren
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David Gaze
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Hayley Legg
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Jack Lineham
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Charles Pedlar
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Compression garments are frequently used to facilitate recovery from strenuous exercise.

Purpose:

To identify the effects of 2 different grades of compression garment on recovery indices after strenuous exercise.

Methods:

Forty-five recreationally active participants (n = 26 male and n = 19 female) completed an eccentric-exercise protocol consisting of 100 drop jumps, after which they were matched for body mass and randomly but equally assigned to a high-compression pressure (HI) group, a low-compression pressure (LOW) group, or a sham ultrasound group (SHAM). Participants in the HI and LOW groups wore the garments for 72 h postexercise; participants in the SHAM group received a single treatment of 10-min sham ultrasound. Measures of perceived muscle soreness, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), countermovement-jump height (CMJ), creatine kinase (CK), C-reactive protein (CRP), and myoglobin (Mb) were assessed before the exercise protocol and again at 1, 24, 48, and 72 h postexercise. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results:

Recovery of MVC and CMJ was significantly improved with the HI compression garment (P < .05). A significant time-by-treatment interaction was also observed for jump height at 24 h postexercise (P < .05). No significant differences were observed for parameters of soreness and plasma CK, CRP, and Mb.

Conclusions:

The pressures exerted by a compression garment affect recovery after exercise-induced muscle damage, with higher pressure improving recovery of muscle function.

Hill, Legg, Lineham, and Pedlar are with the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK. Howatson is with the Dept of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. van Someren is with the GSK Human Performance Laboratory, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, Brentford, UK. Gaze is with Chemical Pathology, Clinical Blood Sciences, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK.

Hill (jessica.hill@stmarys.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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