Compression tights 'don't help runners go faster'

05 June 2017

Compression tights don't reduce muscle fatigue when compared to running without the gear.

Compression tights don't help runners go farther or faster, new research asserts.

In a study conducted by academics from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, it was found that the activewear item does greatly reduce muscle vibration.

However, compression tights don't reduce muscle fatigue when compared to running without the gear.

"When your muscle vibrates, it induces a contraction that uses energy, so the theory was that less muscle vibration would translate to less fatigue," said lead researcher Dr Ajit Chaudhari.

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"However, the reduced vibration was not associated with any reduction in fatigue at all. In our study, runners performed the same with and without compression tights."

For the study, participants ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 80 percent of their maximum speed on two different days, once with compression tights and once without them. Motion capture technology tracked each runner's body position within a fraction of a millimetre, while participants' leg strength and jump height were tested before and after each run.

Although the results showed that the compression tights did not reduce fatigue in runners, Dr Chaudhari says there may be other benefits.

And if runners feel better while wearing compression tights, that's enough reason to keep wearing them.

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"There is nothing in this study that shows it's bad to wear compression tights," he said. "Every little bit of perception counts when running long distances, so they may help runners in ways we aren't able to measure."

Additional research will focus on other aspects of compression tights and the possible benefits to runners in regards to performance and workout recovery.

The study, which was supported by a research grant from American sportswear giant Nike, was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) annual meeting.

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