A new study from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has found that compression tights don’t help runners go farther or faster.
In a presentation at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting, co-author Ajit Chaudhari explained how their findings didn’t support traditional beliefs about their benefits.
"When your muscle vibrates, it induces a contraction that uses energy, so the theory was that less muscle vibration would translate to less fatigue," Chaudhari said.
"However, the reduced vibration was not associated with any reduction in fatigue at all. In our study, runners performed the same with and without compression tights."
Motion capture technology tracked the study’s participants as they jogged on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 80 per cent exertion, one day with compression tights and one day without them. The runners were also tested on their leg strength and jump height before and after each session.
Two studies out of Indiana University in 2010 also found no influence on performance when experienced distance runners wore lower-leg compression “sleeves” and no impact on jumping ability when participants wore upper-leg garments.
However, Chaudhari says there may be other benefits to the popular active wear despite the results showing that compression tights did not reduce fatigue.
"There is nothing in this study that shows it's bad to wear compression tights," he said. "Every little bit of perception counts when running long distances, so they may help runners in ways we aren't able to measure."
They say that further research will look at whether compression tights help workout recovery.