Clinical Evidence

Microcirculation under an Elastic Bandage during Rest and Exercise – Preliminary Experience with the Laser-Doppler Spectrophotometry System O2C.

Sommer, Björn; Berschin, Gereon; Sommer, Hans-Martin, Journal of Sports Science & Medicine 2013, Vol. 12 Issue 3, p414

Abstract: There is an abundace of studies on the influence of rest and exercise as well as external compression on cutaneous, subcutaneous and muscle tissue blood flow using different measurement techniques. As a novel approach, we simultaneously examined the influence of a custom-made elastic thigh bandage on cutaneous and subcutaneous venous blood oxygenation (SO2), post-capillary venous filling pressures (rHb) and blood flow (flow) using the non-invasive laser-Doppler spectrophotometry system "Oxygen-to-see(O2C)". Parameters were obtained in 20 healthy volunteers in 2 mm and 8 mm tissue depth during rest, 5 and 10 minutes of moderate bicycle exercise following a 10-minute recovery period. Without the bandage, results matched the known physiological changes indicating higher blood backflow from superficial and deep veins. Underneath the elastic bandage, we observed lower post-capillary filling pressures during exercise. However, after the bandage was removed in the post-exercise period, all obtained parameters of microcirculation remained increased, indicating a higher amount of local venous blood volume in this area. Our observations might be the result of external compression, thermoregulatory and exercise-dependent vascular mechanisms. With the O2C device, a promising new non-invasive technique of measuring local microcirculation in soft tissue exists. This study gives new insights in the field of non-invasive diagnostics with special regard to the influence of elastic bandages on local microcirculation.

Effects of a whole body compression garment on markers of recovery after a heavy resistance workout in men and women.

Kraemer WJ1, Flanagan SD, Comstock BA, Fragala MS, Earp JE, Dunn-Lewis C, Ho JY, Thomas GA, Solomon-Hill G, Penwell Z, Powell MD, Wolf MR, Volek JS, Denegar CR, Maresh CM.

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Mar;24(3):804-14. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d33025.


The primary purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the influence of a whole body compression garment on recovery from a typical heavy resistance training workout in resistance-trained men and women. Eleven men (mean +/- SD: age, 23.0 +/- 2.9 years) and 9 women (mean +/- SD: age 23.1 +/- 2.2 years) who were highly resistance trained gave informed consent to participate in the study. A within-group (each subject acted as their own control), balanced, and randomized treatment design was used. Nutritional intakes, activity, and behavioral patterns (e.g., no pain medications, ice, or long showers over the 24 hours) were replicated 2 days before each test separated by 72 hours. An 8-exercise whole body heavy resistance exercise protocol using barbells (3 sets of 8-10 repetition maximum, 2.0- to 2.5-minute rest) was performed after which the subject showered and put on a specific whole body compression garment one designed for women and one for men (CG) or just wore his/her normal noncompression clothing (CON). Subjects were then tested after 24 hours. Dependent measures included sleep quality, vitality rating, resting fatigue rating, muscle soreness, muscle swelling via ultrasound, reaction movement times, bench throw power, countermovement vertical jump power, and serum concentrations of creatine kinase (CK) measured from a blood sample obtained via venipuncture of an arm vein. We observed significant (p < or = 0.05) differences between CG and CON conditions in both men and women for vitality (CG > CON), resting fatigue ratings (CG < CON), muscle soreness (CG < CON), ultrasound measure swelling (CG < CON), bench press throw (CG > CON), and CK (CG < CON). A whole body compression garment worn during the 24-hour recovery period after an intense heavy resistance training workout enhances various psychological, physiological, and a few performance markers of recovery compared with noncompressive control garment conditions. The use of compression appears to help in the recovery process after an intense heavy resistance training workout in men and women.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e60923.

Published online Apr 17, 2013. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0060923

PMCID: PMC3629206

Squeezing the Muscle: Compression Clothing and Muscle Metabolism during Recovery from High Intensity Exercise

Billy Sperlich1,2,* Dennis-Peter Born,1 Kimmo Kaskinoro,3,4 Kari K. Kalliokoi,3 and Marko . Laaksonen5

Michael Müller, Editor1Department of Sport Science, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany

2Department of Sport Science, University AF Munich, Munich, Germany

3Turku PET Centre, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

4Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

5Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden

Wageningen University, The Netherlands

* E-mail:

Competing Interests: BS and DPB had travel costs to Turku, Finland, paid by SIGVARIS for data acquisition. BS has received consultancy fee by SIGVARIS on other previous projects other than the present one. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials. None of the other authors have any ownership of stocks, employment or board membership at SIGVARIS AG or other companies with competing interests with relation to data presented here, neither financial, professional, nor personal.

Conceived and designed the experiments: BS DPB KK KKK MSL. Performed the experiments: BS DPB KK KKK MSL. Analyzed the data: BS DPB KK KKK MSL. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: BS DPB KK KKK MSL. Wrote the paper: BS DPB KK KKK MSL.

Received October 31, 2012; Accepted March 4, 2013.

Copyright notice

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The purpose of this experiment was to investigate skeletal muscle blood flow and glucose uptake in m. biceps (BF) and m. quadriceps femoris (QF) 1) during recovery from high intensity cycle exercise, and 2) while wearing a compression short applying ∼37 mmHg to the thigh muscles. Blood flow and glucose uptake were measured in the compressed and non-compressed leg of 6 healthy men by using positron emission tomography. At baseline blood flow in QF (P = 0.79) and BF (P = 0.90) did not differ between the compressed and the non-compressed leg. During recovery muscle blood flow was higher compared to baseline in both compressed (P<0.01) and non-compressed QF (P<0.001) but not in compressed (P = 0.41) and non-compressed BF (P = 0.05; effect size = 2.74). During recovery blood flow was lower in compressed QF (P<0.01) but not in BF (P = 0.26) compared to the non-compressed muscles. During baseline and recovery no differences in blood flow were detected between the superficial and deep parts of QF in both, compressed (baseline P = 0.79; recovery P = 0.68) and non-compressed leg (baseline P = 0.64; recovery P = 0.06). During recovery glucose uptake was higher in QF compared to BF in both conditions (P<0.01) with no difference between the compressed and non-compressed thigh. Glucose uptake was higher in the deep compared to the superficial parts of QF (compression leg P = 0.02). These results demonstrate that wearing compression shorts with ∼37 mmHg of external pressure reduces blood flow both in the deep and superficial regions of muscle tissue during recovery from high intensity exercise but does not affect glucose uptake in BF and QF.

EFFECT OF LOWER-LIMB COMPRESSION CLOTHING ON 400-M SPRINT PERFORMANCE.FAULKNER, JAMES A.; GLEADON, DAVID; MCLAREN, JASON; JAKEMAN, JOHN R., Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) Mar2013, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p669

Abstract: The article describes a study of 400-meter race sprinting performance in athletes wearing various types of lower-limb compression garments. Variables such as lap time, split time, heart rate, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were evaluated. Other factors such as blood lactate, soreness, and comfort were measured before and after the race. The results indicated lower RPEs in sprinters wearing hip-to-ankle length compression garments, but no improvements in overall sprint performance.

Recovery From Repeated On-Court Tennis Sessions: Combining Cold-Water Immersion, Compression, and Sleep Interventions. Duffield, Rob; Murphy, Alistair; Kellett, Aaron; Reid, Machar, International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance 2014, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p273

Abstract: To investigate the effects of combining cold-water immersion (CWI), full-body compression garments (CG), and sleep-hygiene recommendations on physical, physiological, and perceptual recovery after 2-a-day on-court training and match-play sessions. Methods: In a crossover design, 8 highly trained tennis players completed 2 sessions of on-court tennis-drill training and match play, followed by a recovery or control condition. Recovery interventions included a mixture of 15 min CWI, 3 h of wearing full-body CG, and following sleep-hygiene recommendations that night, while the control condition involved postsession stretching and no regulation of sleeping patterns. Technical performance (stroke and error rates), physical performance (accelerometry, countermovement jump [CMJ]), physiological (heart rate, blood lactate), and perceptual (mood, exertion, and soreness) measures were recorded from each on-court session, along with sleep quantity each night. Results: While stroke and error rates did not differ in the drill session (P > .05, d < 0.20), large effects were evident for increased time in play and stroke rate in match play after the recovery interventions (P > .05, d > 0.90). Although accelerometry values did not differ between conditions (P > .05, d < 0.20), CMJ tended to be improved before match play with recovery (P > .05, d = 0.90). Furthermore, CWI and CG resulted in faster postsession reductions in heart rate and lactate and reduced perceived soreness (P > .05, d > 1.00). In addition, sleep-hygiene recommendations increased sleep quantity (P > .05, d > 2.00) and maintained lower perceived soreness and fatigue (P < .05, d > 2.00). Conclusions: Mixed-method recovery interventions (CWI and CG) used after tennis sessions increased ensuing time in play and lower-body power and reduced perceived soreness. Furthermore, sleep-hygiene recommendations helped reduce perceived soreness.

Compression garments and exercise: garment considerations, physiology and performance. MacRae BA1, Cotter JD, Laing RM. Sports Med. 2011 Oct 1;41(10):815-43. doi: 10.2165/11591420-000000000-00000.

Abstract: Compression garments (CGs) provide a means of applying mechanical pressure at the body surface, thereby compressing and perhaps stabilizing/supporting underlying tissue. The body segments compressed and applied pressures ostensibly reflect the purpose of the garment, which is to mitigate exercise-induced discomfort or aid aspects of current or subsequent exercise performance. Potential benefits may be mediated via physical, physiological or psychological effects, although underlying mechanisms are typically not well elucidated. Despite widespread acceptance of CGs by competitive and recreational athletes, convincing scientific evidence supporting ergogenic effects remains somewhat elusive. The literature is fragmented due to great heterogeneity among studies, with variability including the type, duration and intensity of exercise, the measures used as indicators of exercise or recovery performance/physiological function, training status of participants, when the garments were worn and for what duration, the type of garment/body area covered and the applied pressures. Little is known about the adequacy of current sizing systems, pressure variability within and among individuals, maintenance of applied pressures during one wear session or over the life of the garment and, perhaps most importantly, whether any of these actually influence potential compression-associated benefits. During exercise, relatively few ergogenic effects have been demonstrated when wearing CGs. While CGs appear to aid aspects of jump performance in some situations, only limited data are available to indicate positive effects on performance for other forms of exercise. There is some indication for physical and physiological effects, including attenuation of muscle oscillation, improved joint awareness, perfusion augmentation and altered oxygen usage at sub-maximal intensities, but such findings are relatively isolated.

Sub-maximal (at matched work loads) and maximal heart rate appears unaffected by CGs. Positive influences on perceptual responses during exercise are limited. During recovery, CGs have had mixed effects on recovery kinetics or subsequent performance. Various power and torque measurements have, on occasions, benefitted from the use of CGs in recovery, but subsequent sprint and agility performance appears no better. Results are inconsistent for post-exercise swelling of limb segments and for clearance of myocellular proteins and metabolites, while effects on plasma concentrations are difficult to interpret. However, there is some evidence for local blood flow augmentation with compression. Ratings of post-exercise muscle soreness are commonly more favourable when CGs are worn, although this is not always so. In general, the effects of CGs on indicators of recovery performance remain inconclusive. More work is needed to form a consensus or mechanistically-insightful interpretation of any demonstrated effects of CGs during exercise, recovery or - perhaps most importantly - fitness development. Limited practical recommendations for athletes can be drawn from the literature at present, although this review may help focus future research towards a position where such recommendations can be made.

Is recovery driven by central or peripheral factors? A role for the brain in recovery following intermittent-sprint exercise. Geoffrey M. Minett and Rob Duffield Front Physiol. 2014; 5: 24.

Published online Feb 3, 2014. Prepublished online Nov 7, 2013. doi:  10.3389/fphys.2014.00024


Prolonged intermittent-sprint exercise (i.e., team sports) induce disturbances in skeletal muscle structure and function that are associated with reduced contractile function, a cascade of inflammatory responses, perceptual soreness, and a delayed return to optimal physical performance. In this context, recovery from exercise-induced fatigue is traditionally treated from a peripheral viewpoint, with the regeneration of muscle physiology and other peripheral factors the target of recovery strategies. The direction of this research narrative on post-exercise recovery differs to the increasing emphasis on the complex interaction between both central and peripheral factors regulating exercise intensity during exercise performance. Given the role of the central nervous system (CNS) in motor-unit recruitment during exercise, it too may have an integral role in post-exercise recovery. Indeed, this hypothesis is indirectly supported by an apparent disconnect in time-course changes in physiological and biochemical markers resultant from exercise and the ensuing recovery of exercise performance. Equally, improvements in perceptual recovery, even withstanding the physiological state of recovery, may interact with both feed-forward/feed-back mechanisms to influence subsequent efforts. Considering the research interest afforded to recovery methodologies designed to hasten the return of homeostasis within the muscle, the limited focus on contributors to post-exercise recovery from CNS origins is somewhat surprising. Based on this context, the current review aims to outline the potential contributions of the brain to performance recovery after strenuous exercise.