Athletes, exercise enthusiasts, trainers, and coaches have long supported the use of compression garments (compression workout clothes) during exercise, feeling that it helps recovery after the exercise. Stores market and sell such garments, and exercise bloggers promote their use.
Compression garments are form-fitted elastic garments that compress the body and muscles. However, their use has been "controversial" , with most studies not finding a beneficial effect on "immediate or performance recovery, or on delayed onset of muscle soreness".
A recent Japanese review and analysis of studies (published in Sports Medicine) had a similar finding: "Compression garments during or after training does not seem to facilitate the recovery of muscle strength following physical exercise. Practitioners, athletes, coaches, and trainers should reconsider the use of compression garments as a tool to reduce the effects of physical exercise on muscle strength."
From Science Daily: Do compression garments facilitate muscle recovery after exercise?
Compression garments are an elastic cloth fitting that people wear on their arms, legs, or hips during or after physical exercise. Their use has gained popularity over the last few decades because they are thought to enhance muscle recovery following exercise.
An international research team, led by assistant professor János Négyesi from Tohoku University's Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, performed a systematic review with meta-analysis to assess whether compression garments assist with muscle recovery.
Contrary to results found in individual research, the meta-analytical evidence suggests that wearing a compression garment during or after training does not facilitate muscle recovery.
"Even data from our previous study supported the idea that such garments have the potential to reduce strength loss after a strenuous workout," said Dr. Négyesi. "However, when we synthesized the data of all relevant studies, we found no effect of compression garments on strength recovery -- even when factoring in exercise type and when and where the compression garment is applied."
Overall, practitioners, athletes, coaches, and therapists should reconsider compression garments as a means of reducing the harmful effects of physical exercise on muscle strength and seek alternative methods.