A study at The Ohio State University has shown compression tights don’t make you run faster or further, and puts into question their usefulness in preventing injury.
The study saw 17 participants running on a treadmill for 30 minutes at 80% capacity wearing heart monitors, on consecutive days, once with compression pants, once without.
When your muscle vibrates, it induces a contraction that uses energy, so the theory was that less muscle vibration would translate to less fatigue, said Ajit Chaudhari, who led the study and is an associate professor of physical therapy, orthopedics, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.
“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.”
For many years athletes have believed the tights are the secret to long distance running, but this study throws that into question. Although Chaudhari does say the psychological benefit – merely thinking they may improve performance may make them worth the money.
“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.”
Nike funded the study which seems to have backfired – although Nike are a competitor to the compressionwear businesses 2XU and others, so we’re not totally in on this one.
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