The effects of compression garments on performance of prolonged manual-labour exercise and recovery

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2015, 41 (2), pp. 125 - 132
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© 2016, National Research Council of Canada. All rights reserved. This study investigated the effects of wearing compression garments during and 24 h following a 4-h exercise protocol simulating manual-labour tasks. Ten physically trained male participants, familiar with labouring activities, undertook 4 h of work tasks characteristic of industrial workplaces. Participants completed 2 testing sessions, separated by at least 1 week. In the experimental condition, participants wore a full-length compression top and compression shorts during the exercise protocol and overnight recovery, with normal work clothes worn in the control condition. Testing for serum creatine kinase and C-reactive protein, handgrip strength, knee flexion and extension torque, muscle stiffness, perceived muscle soreness and fatigue as well as heart rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses to 4-min cycling were performed before, following, and 24 h after exercise. Creatine kinase, muscle soreness, and rating of perceived fatigue increased following the exercise protocol (p < 0.05) as did RPE to a standardised cycling warm-up bout. Conversely, no postexercise changes were observed in C-reactive protein, handgrip strength, peak knee flexion torque, or stiffness measures (p > 0.05). Knee extension torque was significantly higher in the control condition at 24 h postexercise (3.1% ± 5.4% change; compression: 2.2% ± 11.1% change), although no other variables were different between conditions at any time. However, compression demonstrated a moderate-large effect (d > 0.60) to reduce perceived muscle soreness, fatigue, and RPE from standardised warm-up at 24 h postexercise. The current findings suggest that compression may assist in perceptual recovery from manual-labour exercise with implications for the ability to perform subsequent work bouts.
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