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J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Oct;25(10):2902-10. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820f5049.

Effects of gradual-elastic compression stockings on running economy, kinematics, and performance in runners.

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Exercise Physiology Laboratory, European University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


We investigated the effect of gradual-elastic compression stockings (GCSs) on running economy (RE), kinematics, and performance in endurance runners. Sixteen endurance trained athletes (age: 34.73 ± 6.27 years; VO2max: 62.83 ± 9.03 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1); 38 minutes in 10 km; 1 hour 24 minutes in half marathon) performed in random order 4 bouts of 6 minutes at a recent half-marathon pace on a treadmill to evaluate RE with or without GCSs. Subsequently, 12 athletes were divided into 2 equal groups matched by their VO2max, and they performed a time limit test (T(lim)) on a treadmill at 105% of a recent 10-km pace with or without GCSs for evaluation of physiological responses and running kinematics. There were no significant differences in the RE test in all of the variables analyzed for the conditions, but a moderate reproducibility for some physiological responses was detected in the condition with GCSs. In the T(lim), the group that wore GCSs reached a lower % of maximum heart rate (HRmax) compared with the control group (96.00 ± 2.94 vs. 99.83 ± 0.40) (p = 0.01). Kinematics did not differ between conditions during the T(lim) (p > 0.05). There were improvement trends for time to fatigue (337 vs. 387 seconds; d = 0.32) and a lower VO2peak (≈53 vs. 62 ml·kg(-1)·min(-1); d = 1.19) that were detected with GCSs during the T(lim). These results indicate that GCSs reduce the % of HRmax reached during a test at competition pace. The lower reproducibility of the condition with GCSs perhaps suggests that athletes may possibly need an accommodation period for systematically experiencing the benefits of this garment, but this hypothesis should be further investigated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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