Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Compression Garments Reduce Muscle Movement and Activation during Submaximal Running

Broatch, James R.1,2; Brophy-Williams, Ned2,3; Phillips, Elissa J.2; O’Bryan, Steven J.4; Halson, Shona L.2,5; Barnes, Shannon1; Bishop, David J.1,6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 4, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002182
Original Investigation: PDF Only

PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of sports compression tights in reducing muscle movement and activation during running.

METHODS A total of 27 recreationally-active males were recruited across two separate studies. For study one, 13 participants (mean ± SD; 84.1 ± 9.4 kg, 22 ± 3 y) completed two 4-min treadmill running bouts (2 min at 12 km.h-1 and 15 km.h-1) under two conditions; a no-compression control (CON1) and compression (COMP). For study two, 14 participants (77.8 ± 8.4 kg, 27 ± 5 y) completed four 9-min treadmill running bouts (3 min at 8 km.h-1, 10 km.h-1, and 12 km.h-1) under four conditions; a no-compression control (CON2) and three different commercially-available compression tights (2XU; Nike; Under Armor, UA). Using Vicon 3D motion capture technology, lower-limb muscle displacement was investigated in both study one (thigh and calf) and two (vastus lateralis + medialis, VAS; lateral + medial gastrocnemius, GAS). In addition, study two investigated the effects of compression on soft-tissue vibrations (root mean square of resultant acceleration, RMS Ar), muscle activation (iEMG), and running economy (oxygen consumption, V[Combining Dot Above]O2) during treadmill running.

RESULTS Wearing compression during treadmill running reduced thigh and calf muscle displacement as compared with no compression (both studies), which was evident across all running speeds. Compression also reduced RMS Ar and iEMG during treadmill running, but had no effect on running economy (study two).


Lower-limb compression garments are effective in reducing muscle displacement, soft-tissue vibrations, and muscle activation associated with the impact forces experienced during running.

1Institute for Health and Sport (iHeS), Victoria University, VIC, Australia

2Australia Institute of Sport, ACT, Australia

3Physiology Department, New South Wales Institute of Sport, NSW, Australia

4First Year College, Victoria University, VIC, Australia

5School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, VIC, Australia

6School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, WA, Australia

Corresponding Author: James R Broatch, Institute for Health and Sport (iHeS), Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne VIC 8001, Australia.

The authors acknowledge the participants for their generous involvement in this study, and the compression garment manufacturer 2XU (Australia) for providing research funding.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND SOURCE OF FUNDING: JRB, NB-W, EJP, SLH, and DJB received a research grant from compression garment manufacturer 2XU (Australia). For the remaining authors none were declared. The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by ACSM. The results of the study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.

Accepted for Publication: 17 September 2019

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine