Purpose: To investigate the effects of uniquely processed titanium-permeated garments (Aquatitan) on the performance of and recovery from a high-intensity intermittent exercise.
Methods: In a crossover, 14 nationally and regionally competing male soccer/hockey players performed two 5-d trials composed of a Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test on day 1, followed by 4 d of recovery assessment wearing randomly allocated Aquatitan- and placebo-treated clothing that covered their torso, limbs, and feet continuously throughout the study. Repeated sprint time was measured during the shuttle test, and muscle damage, joint range of motion, isometric strength, and running performance were measured during recovery.
Results: The increase in sprint performance during the shuttle test (0.7%, 90% confidence interval = ±0.9%) was likely trivial. During recovery, wearing of Aquatitan had a possible harmful effect on peak run velocity on day 3 (−1.1% ± 1.6%) but a likely small benefit on day 5 (2.0% ± 1.6%); combined (0.4% ± 1.3%) and standardized outcomes suggest an overall trivial benefit. Aquatitan increased range of motion. For example, voluntary leg extension increased by 2.6% (±4.0%), hip flexion increased by 1.8% (±1.2%), plantarflexion increased by 4.8% (±2.8%), and shoulder extension and flexion increased by 4.2% (±3.0%) and 1.3% (±0.6%), respectively; forced voluntary differences at the hip and shoulder were trivial. Running efficiency was possibly increased on days 3 and 5. The effects on isometric strength were largely trivial, but a slight enhancement of the psychological state was observed. In a separate perception experiment, participants perceived tactile differences that were influenced by the knowledge of treatment.
Conclusions: For competitive subelite male soccer/hockey players, performance gains in response to wearing Aquatitan-treated garments are likely of trivial consequence. However, improved joint range of motion during recovery indicates that the garments reduced muscle-tendon stiffness, suggesting enhanced compliance, which warrants further investigation. Garment feel may also explain the outcomes.