Evaluating the effect of sports compression tights on balance, sprinting, jumping and change of direction tasks

This study delves into the efficacy of compression garments (CGs) during athletic endeavors, particularly exploring their influence on balance, sprinting, jumping, and change of direction performance. Employing a sample of 24 recreationally active participants, the research compares the effects of wearing compression tights (COMP) versus regular exercise tights (CON) across various tasks. Results highlight noteworthy improvements in certain aspects of performance, such as sprinting and change of direction tasks, when participants wore compression tights. However, the study also underscores the minimal practical significance of these enhancements, suggesting they may fall within the typical error of measurement for the tests conducted. This prompts considerations regarding the specificity of tasks evaluated and potential mechanisms underlying observed improvements. Moreover, the study acknowledges limitations, including participant characteristics and task specificity, which warrant careful interpretation of the findings.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Effectiveness of Compression Garments: The study investigates the impact of compression garments (CGs) on various athletic tasks, including balance, sprinting, jumping, and change of direction performance.
  • Improvements in Specific Tasks: While wearing compression tights (COMP), participants showed significant improvements in 10 m sprint time and change of direction time compared to regular exercise tights (CON). Additionally, small improvements were observed in balance and postural stability during a single-leg balance task.
  • Minimal Practical Relevance: Despite these improvements, the differences were minimal and likely within the typical error of measurement for the tests used. This suggests that the practical relevance of these improvements may be limited.
  • Consideration of Task Specificity: The study highlights the importance of considering task specificity when assessing the effects of compression garments. While improvements were observed in certain tasks, such as short sprints and change of direction, no significant differences were found for jumping tasks.
  • Potential Mechanisms and Future Research: Further research could explore kinematic analysis of postural stability and sprinting to understand the underlying mechanisms of observed improvements. Additionally, future studies could focus on agility tasks rather than controlled change-of-direction tasks to better reflect real-world athletic performance.
  • Consideration of Participant Characteristics: The study’s findings are based on recreationally trained individuals, and caution should be exercised when extrapolating to higher-level athletes. Participant beliefs regarding compression garments and their effectiveness could also influence performance outcomes.
  • Limitations and Considerations: Limitations of the study include assessing task performance in a non-fatigued state and potential variability in garment fit. These factors should be considered when interpreting the results.

Overall, while compression tights may offer small benefits to performance in certain tasks, their practical relevance may be limited. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying these effects and to explore performance in tasks more representative of real-world athletic performance.