Purpose: Existing studies have failed to provide evidence of a positive effect on exercise performance by wearing compression short tights covering only both thighs. This could be due to an inadequate pressure intensity that otherwise has a significant effect if applied on the crucial point in the thigh. This study aimed to examine the effect of pressure intensity of elastic compression short-tights on the metabolic state of thigh muscles during submaximal running.
Methods: Two groups of 11 male subjects performed treadmill running at 12 km·h−1 in three conditions in each of experiment 1 (short-tights with a compression intensity at the thigh of 8 mm Hg (LOW) and 15 mm Hg (MID) and noncompression shorts as control (CON1)) and experiment 2 (short-tights with 20 mm Hg (MID-HIGH) and 25 mm Hg (HIGH) and CON2). Before and immediately after the running exercises, T2-weighted magnetic resonance images of the right thigh were obtained without testing garments. From the images, skeletal muscle proton transverse relaxation time (T2) of each muscle in the thigh was calculated.
Results: T2 was significantly increased after the treadmill running in all conditions in the hamstring and adductor muscles. In experiment 1, after the running, T2 elevation was significantly smaller in MID than that in CON1 for the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, adductor longus, and adductor magnus muscles. In experiment 2, after the running, T2 elevation was significantly lower in MID-HIGH than that in CON2 and HIGH for the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and adductor longus.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that wearing compression short tights with a pressure intensity of 15–20 mm Hg at the thigh can reduce development of fatigue of exercising muscles during submaximal running exercise in healthy adult males.