Association of Lower Limb Compression Garments During High-Intensity Exercise with Performance and Physiological Responses: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Although compression garments are used to improve sports performance, methodological approaches and the direction of evidence regarding garments for use in high-intensity exercise settings are diverse.
Our primary aim was to summarize the association between lower-limb compression garments (LLCGs) and changes in sports performance during high-intensity exercise. We also aimed to summarize evidence about the following physiological parameters related to sports performance: vertical jump height (VJ), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), submaximal oxygen uptake (VO2submax), blood lactate concentrations ([La]), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE, 6–20 Borg scale).
We searched electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov) and reference lists for previous reviews. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials with athletes or physically active subjects (≥ 18 years) using any type of LLCG during high-intensity exercise. The results were described as weighted mean difference (WMD) with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI).
The 23 included studies showed low statistical heterogeneity for the pooled outcomes. We found that LLCGs yielded similar running performance to controls (50–400 m: WMD 0.06 s [95% CI − 1.99 to 2.11]; 800–3000 m: WMD 6.10 s [95% CI − 7.23 to 19.43]; > 5000 m: WMD 1.01 s [95% CI − 84.80 to 86.82]). Likewise, we found no evidence that LLCGs were superior in secondary outcomes (VJ: WMD 2.25 cm [95% CI − 2.51 to 7.02]; VO2max: WMD 0.24 mL.kg−1.min−1 [95% CI − 1.48 to 1.95]; VO2submax: WMD − 0.26 mL.kg−1.min−1 [95% CI − 2.66 to 2.14]; [La]: WMD 0.19 mmol/L [95% CI − 0.22 to 0.60]; RPE: WMD − 0.20 points [95% CI − 0.48 to 0.08]).
LLCGs were not associated with improved performance in VJ, VO2max, VO2submax, [La], or RPE during high-intensity exercise. Such evidence should be taken into account when considering using LLCGs to enhance running performance.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was supported by the Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa e Eventos from the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (FIPE/HCPA). Ricardo Stein and Daniel Umpierre receive research productivity funding from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Lucas Helal receives PhD funding support from the CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) Foundation.
Conflict of interest
César Augusto da Silva, Lucas Helal, Roberto Pacheco da Silva, Karlyse Claudino Belli, Daniel Umpierre, and Ricardo Stein declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.
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