Many athletes usually train and compete on consecutive days, recurring to different post-exercise strategies to fasten recovery, such as cryotherapy, low-intensity sessions or tissue compression, among others.
The soreness after intense exercise, is a sign for the body to learn how to endure an overload. The aim of most training plans is ultimately to get better, or faster, in the case of runners.
Compression garments (CG) are form-fitted elastic garments that mechanically compress a body area for stability or support of the underlying tissue. They are usually socks, shorts, or short- and long-sleeve tops, used during and, more often, after exercise.
Supposedly compression garments work differently depending on when are used.
- Increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the tissues, so exercise is less tiring and more efficient.
- Increasing proprioception, and therefore improving posture and movement.
- Acting like a massage on muscles to minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Raising the temperature of skin and tissues to increase blood flow and induce healing.
A recent meta-analysis has tried to elucidate if wearing CGs during or after physical exercise facilitate the recovery of muscular strength outcomes. Thus, 19 studies complied with the inclusion criteria and were used in the meta-analysis.
- Contrary to expectations, wearing a CG during or after exercise training did not seem to facilitate muscle strength recovery, independently of the type of exercise or the body area and timing of CG application.
- Athletes, coaches, and therapists should reconsider the use of CG and look for alternative methods to reduce the adverse effects of physical exercise on muscle strength.
Although somehow surprising we would like to know your thoughts and experience in using compression garments.
Can Compression Garments Reduce the Deleterious Effects of Physical Exercise on Muscle Strength? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Négyesi, J., Hortobágyi, T., Hill, J. et al. Sports Med (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-022-01681-4