The effect of medical grade compression garments on the repeated-bout effect in non-resistance trained men

Freddy Brown, Mathew Hill, Derek Renshaw, Charles Pedlar, Jessica A. Hill, Ken van Someren, Glyn Howatson, Jason Tallis

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Whilst compression garments (CG) may enhance recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), many recovery strategies can attenuate adaptative responses. Therefore, the effects of CG on recovery from EIMD, and the rapid protective adaptations known as the repeated bout effect (RBE) were investigated. Thirty-four non-resistance trained males (18–45 y) randomly received class II medical-grade CG or placebo for 72 h following eccentrically-focused lower-body exercise, in a double-blind, randomised controlled trial. Indices of EIMD were assessed at baseline, 0, 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise, before exercise and testing were repeated after 14 d. Results were analysed using a three-way (time x condition x bout) linear mixed-effects model. Exercise impaired isometric and isokinetic strength, with soreness and thigh circumference elevated for 72 h (p < 0.001). Compression did not enhance recovery (p > 0.05), despite small to moderate effect sizes (ES, reported alongside 90% confidence intervals) for isokinetic strength (ES from 0.2 [-0.41, 0.82] to 0.65 [0.03, 1.28]). All variables recovered faster after the repeated bout (p < 0.005). However, RBE for peak isokinetic force was impaired in CG at 60 ⁰.s-1 (group x bout interaction: χ2 = 4.24, p = 0.0395; ES = -0.56 [-1.18, 0.07]) and completely absent at 120 ⁰.s-1 (χ2 =16.2, p < 0.001, ES = -0.96 [-1.61, -0.32]) and 180 ⁰.s-1 (χ2 =10.4, p = 0.001, ES = -0.72 [-1.35, -0.09]). Compression blunted RBE at higher isokinetic velocities without improving recovery in non-resistance trained males, potentially contraindicating their use following unaccustomed exercise in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1499
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number12
Early online date28 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Experimental Physiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Physiological Society.

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 work is properly cited.


  • Adaptation
  • Recovery
  • Compression
  • Performance
  • Strength
  • Muscle damage


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