This study investigated the effects of custom-fitted compression garments (CG) worn during recovery over a multi-day training camp in elite judo players (judoka). A single blind, placebo-controlled study was carried out in 11 elite judoka, using a two-way crossover design. Two three-day training camps were completed in CG and placebo conditions in a random order. Changes in performance and physiological markers were compared between conditions. Judoka were assessed before training for (maximal) isometric knee extension and grip strength, countermovement jump performance and bench-press velocity, alongside soreness, limb circumferences, plasma creatine kinase activity (CK) and perceived bruising. Measurements were repeated after 12, 36 and 43 h of training, whereupon judoka rated the effectiveness of each intervention. Knee extension and bench-press performance demonstrated significant familiarization (p < 0.001), and were excluded from subsequent analysis. Jump performance was unaffected by training (p > 0.05). Grip strength declined throughout training (p < 0.001), with peak decrements of −9.7% indicating mild muscle damage. Increases in bruising, CK and soreness demonstrated highly variable, if significant (p < 0.001) responses. Although CG were perceived as significantly more effective than placebo for recovery (p = 0.046), no effects were observed for any other outcome (p > 0.05). Compression conferred no statistically significant impact upon recovery markers in elite judoka throughout training. Muscle damage responses were inconsistent in this population. Individual athletes would be advised to monitor habitually-used performance measures while using CG to ascertain whether perceptual benefits translate into enhanced recovery. Highlights Compression garments were perceived as more effective for recovery than placebo by elite judoka. However, no measures of performance or muscle damage were enhanced by CG. Randori was associated with inconsistent muscle damage responses in elite judoka, while lower-body performance was not impaired. Individual athletes would be advised to monitor habitually-used performance measures while using CG to ascertain whether perceptual benefits translate into enhanced recovery.
- exercise-induced muscle damage
- grip strength
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine