Compression garments are worn for the purpose of improving circulation. They are often used post-surgery, but athletes wear them to speed up post-workout recovery (better blood flow = faster nutrient delivery to the muscles = faster muscle repair).
Most compression garments are used during and in the hours immediately following the workout. However, one study examined what happened when wearing a compression garment overnight — specifically, whether or not a compression garment could speed up muscle fatigue recovery after high-intensity exercise.
Seventeen male college students were gathered for the study and were divided into two groups: those who wore compression garments and those who didn’t. Before going to sleep, the students performed ten sets of ten reps of eccentric and concentric knee extensors. For up to 24 hours after this workout, the maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) force in their knee extensor muscles was monitored.
When the scientists examined the data, they found that the group that wore compression garments recovered more quickly than those who didn’t. MVIC at the 24-hour mark after the workout was 10% higher in the compression garment group, indicating that localized muscle recovery was improved as a result of wearing the compression garments overnight.
On the flip side, the electromyographical (EMG) variables didn’t change significantly, regardless of whether the students were wearing the compression garments or not. The compression garment had no significant influence on the neurological factors involved in post-workout recovery.
It can enhance localized recovery in the area specific to the muscle beneath the garment.
If you’re looking for ways to speed up your recovery from an intense workout, wearing a compression garment overnight may be a good option. It can enhance localized recovery in the area specific to the muscle beneath the garment. However, it’s not a solution for speeding up whole-body recovery — only in the specific area where you wear the garment.
1. Shimokochi, et al. “Effects of wearing a compression garment during night sleep on recovery from high-intensity eccentric-concentric quadriceps muscle fatigue.” Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: July 03, 2017 | doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002116