Evaluation of a Lower-Body Compression Garment
Computing, Health and Science
Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
The aims of this study were to determine how custom-fit compression shorts affect athletic performance and to examine the mechanical properties of the shorts. Ten male and 10 female track athletes on a university's nationally competitive track team, specializing in sprint or jump events, participated in the study. Testing utilized the compression shorts with loose-fitting gym shorts as the control garment. Several significant effects were revealed for the custom-fit compressive garment. Although 60 m sprint time was not affected, hip flexion angle was reduced. Skin temperature increased more and at a faster rate during a warm-up protocol. Muscle oscillation was decreased during vertical jump landing. Countermovement vertical jump height increased when the participants were wearing the custom-fit compression garment. In materials testing, the elasticity of the compressive garment provides increased flexion and extension torque at the end range of extension and flexion, respectively, and may assist the hamstrings in controlling the leg at the end of the swing phase in sprinting. The compressive garment significantly reduced impact force by 27 % compared with American football pants alone. Through various mechanisms, these findings may translate into an effect on athletic performance and a reduction in injuries.