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Effect of Lower-Limb Compression Clothing on 400-m Sprint Performance

Faulkner, James A.1; Gleadon, David1; McLaren, Jason2,3; Jakeman, John R.4

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 669–676
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2f50
Original Research

Abstract: Faulkner, JA, Gleadon, D, McLaren, J, and Jakeman, JR. Effect of lower-limb compression clothing on 400-m sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res 27(3): 669–676, 2013—This study investigated the effects of wearing a variety of lower-limb compression garments on 400-m sprint performance. Eleven 400-m male runners (23.7 ± 5.7 years, 1.78 ± 0.08 m, and 75.3 ± 10.0 kg) completed six, 400-m running tests on an outdoor, all-weather running track on separate occasions. The participants completed 2 runs with long-length lower-limb compression garments (LG; hip-to-ankle), a combination of short-length lower-limb compression garments (SG; hip-to-knee) with calf compression sleeves (ankle-to-knee), or without compression garments (CON; shorts), in a randomized, counterbalanced order. Overall lap time and 100-m split times, heart rate, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were measured during the 400-m run. Blood lactate concentration, visual analogue scales for perceived soreness, feeling and arousal, and scales for perceived comfort and tightness when wearing compression garments, were assessed before (preexercise, post–warm-up) and after 400-m performance (post, 4 minutes postexercise, after a warm-down). Statistical analysis revealed no differences between conditions in overall 400-m performance, 100-m split times, or blood lactate concentration (p > 0.05), although there was a trend for an increased rate of blood lactate clearance when wearing compression garments. A significantly lower RPE (p > 0.05) was however observed during LG (13.8 ± 0.9) and SG (13.4 ± 1.1) when compared with CON (14.0 ± 1.0). This study has demonstrated that lower-limb compression garments may lower the effort perception associated with 400-m performance, despite there being no differences in overall athletic performance.

1School of Sport and Exercise, College of Sciences, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

2iSPORT Biomechanics, Sydney, Australia

3Skins Compression Garments, Sydney, Australia

4Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Dr. James A. Faulkner, j.faulkner@massey.ac.nz.

© 2013 National Strength and Conditioning Association